Is bigger really better? Social media marketing is a low barrier-to-entry business and every small to medium business that hires that 20-something for social media, “because they must understand this stuff,” suffers. They rarely know how to generate scalable numbers. Said different, they typically do not know how to generate more leads for your business that wind up positively effecting the bottom line.

Yes, business is and has always been about the numbers, and bigger is always better. Many of my retail friends are running their businesses by the numbers and are all focused on turning more inventory faster. Are they also good at relationships? Of course. You don’t stay in business long if you aren’t. The social media pundits did not invent customer relations. Even though some businesses have forgotten the importance, profitable ones certainly have not. But the most successful businesses — not just social media businesses — relentlessly focus on growing the numbers.

Listening First is a Flawed Approach

Social media consultants have somewhat tripped business owners up by getting them tangled in the “listen first” saga. And while we aren’t suggesting that businesses ignore this process, it shouldn’t always be a top priority. Unless you are a big brand, there really aren’t all that many people talking about you. In fact, for the majority of small businesses, no one is.

Jay Ehret penned a post this week titled Why Listening is Too Little

There is nothing wrong with listening to your customers and understanding what they want. It’s just that there’s very little of this conversation going on. Take a look at your personal Facebook news feed right now. What are people talking about? You? Other businesses? Rarely. Except for your marketing geek and business owner friends, you will find very little brand related conversation. There will be a lot of  “LOL” pictures, famous quotes, and harmless status updates like “Coffee in hand, ready to fight the day!” The point is that most people don’t join social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to talk about your business.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

A lot has been written surrounding the plethora of Facebook changes. But few are talking about the impact that brands and businesses will experience from the new metric around the “Talking About This” feature. Facebook administrators are now more naked than ever as to the effectiveness of their Facebook marketing … or lack thereof. Just posting “interesting links” will no longer cut the mustard. Brands and businesses must start to show up in ways we haven’t seen.

At my company, we have said for some time now that the numbers always matter. By numbers, we are referring to Fans, Followers and Likes. Folks like to push the whole “Engagement” argument, touting that it isn’t about the size of the Fan Base, it is about the conversations created. But your Facebook page is similar to your bank account. A larger one is typically better than a smaller one, and one with pennies as opposed to dollars may not be worth keeping.

Our submission to you is that if your Facebook Fan Page isn’t generating a lot of “Talking About This” you may want to evaluate your direction because if it isn’t, not one there is listening.

Your thoughts? The comments are yours.

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About Eric Brown

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Shane

    What would you consider to be a reasonable number of people talking about you? Let’s say you have 1000 likes on a page. Clearly, they are not ALL talking about you. What would you say is a good percentage as a rule of thumb? Something I’ve been thinking over. Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      What Should the % of People Talking About You Be to Total FaceBook Fans?
      Shane, Good Morning, Thanks for stopping by. You have raised the right question, and I have no idea why more folks aren’t talking about this and sharing where they are, how they got there and how to increase the numbers.
      The Facebook Page that we manage for a local retail furniture

  • Shane

    What would you consider to be a reasonable number of people talking about you? Let’s say you have 1000 likes on a page. Clearly, they are not ALL talking about you. What would you say is a good percentage as a rule of thumb? Something I’ve been thinking over. Thanks. 

    • Anonymous

      What Should the % of People Talking About You Be to Total FaceBook Fans?
      Shane, Good Morning, Thanks for stopping by. You have raised the right question, and I have no idea why more folks aren’t talking about this and sharing where they are, how they got there and how to increase the numbers.
      The Facebook Page that we manage for a local retail furniture chain with (8) stores, has a little over (6,000) fans and a little under (1,000) People Talking. The Facebook Page we manage for our apartment business, “Living the Urbane Life has (5,300) Fans and People Talking ranges from (175) to (200) 

  • http://www.soundwebsolutions.com/blog clavoie

    I would agree that for most businesses, very few people are actually talking about them.

  • http://www.soundwebsolutions.com/blog clavoie

    I would agree that for most businesses, very few people are actually talking about them.  However, I would argue that listening is still a good first step, because you can pick up what people are talking about in your industry (I refer more to Twitter than Facebook, as I find most Facebook conversations to be personal).  Knowing what the popular topics are on Twitter in your own industry is a great way to step into the conversation in an interesting and compelling way.

  • Steve

    I agree with a lot of what you have said Eric, Facebook is a hard nut to crack with engagement. In my view the businesses who are selling directly on Facebook pages are usually selling something that can be downloaded and paid for online, and usually something that “will help their business on Facebook, Twitter on the other hand is a stream of marketers desperately asking people to like them on FB? I come across a lot of “social media experts who go on about the “quality rather than quantity” of fans. I understand its better to have 10 people highly engaged than 1000 who don’t engage, but its better to have a busy restaurant then a quite one to entice people in. In my book the more the merrier.

    • Anonymous

      Facebook Fan Pages Are About the Numbers
      Hi Steve, Yes indeed, and anyone who argues differently likely was not the person writing the checks.

      • http://twitter.com/JLear_99 Jonathan

        Hi UrbaneWay while it seems as if the engagement is higher for one person compared to another’s identical post that can and of course does have varying causes.

  • Steve

    I agree with a lot of what you have said Eric, Facebook is a hard nut to crack with engagement. In my view the businesses who are selling directly on Facebook pages are usually selling something that can be downloaded and paid for online, and usually something that “will help their business on Facebook, Twitter on the other hand is a stream of marketers desperately asking people to like them on FB? I come across a lot of “social media experts who go on about the “quality rather than quantity” of fans. I understand its better to have 10 people highly engaged than 1000 who don’t engage, but its better to have a busy restaurant then a quite one to entice people in. In my book the more the merrier.

    • Anonymous

      Facebook Fan Pages Are About the Numbers
      Hi Steve, Yes indeed, and anyone who argues differently likely was not the person writing the checks. 

      All of that a side, it is interesting to watch different folks in our office that seem to post generally the same remark, but certain people get a much higher engagement return, so there is something to how we say things for an enhanced result

      • http://twitter.com/JLear_99 Jonathan

        Hi UrbaneWay while it seems as if the engagement is higher for one person compared to another’s identical post that can and of course does have varying causes.  That is why “social media experts”(just a fancy job title to entice people) believe quality is better.  Now in real world market having no customers flat out sucks but in the social media realm it’s just like playing poker on Full Tilt with pretend money. 

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    Lots of truth here, as usual. I may only disagree on the importance of listening slightly, but the metrics of engagement via

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    Lots of truth here, as usual. I may only disagree on the importance of listening slightly, but the metrics of engagement via “Talking About This” and their relationship to actual sales cannot be denied. 

  • Scott Crider

    I agree and our company builds apps that focus on exactly this. We build the Like base, provide a valuable offer, incent sharing, and generate track-able ROI. We’ve seen campaigns generate over 1000% ROI.

    • Anonymous

      Campaigns generate over 1000% ROI

      Scott, Good Morning, What does generate 1000% ROI mean, Did Sales Increase?

  • Scott Crider

    I agree and our company builds apps that focus on exactly this. We build the Like base, provide a valuable offer, incent sharing, and generate track-able ROI. We’ve seen campaigns generate over 1000% ROI.

    • Anonymous

      Campaigns generate over 1000% ROIScott, Good Morning, What does generate 1000% ROI mean, Did Sales Increase? 

  • http://www.meltingposts.com Aliosha Kasin

    I agree, businesses need to invest into learning how social media can help them. I think it starts with actually listening to what your customers are saying on social network sites and the picking up on those points.

  • http://www.meltingposts.com Aliosha Kasin

    I agree, businesses need to invest into learning how social media can help them. I think it starts with actually listening to what your customers are saying on social network sites and the picking up on those points.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    Social media power
    has been recognized as influential force for effective promotion of a
    business. A business can become part of other a community that is built
    around some particular business type. Social media strategy either builds a
    brand image or destroys the identity if not utilized properly.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    Social media power
    has been recognized as influential force for effective promotion of a
    business. A business can become part of other a community that is built
    around some particular business type. Social media strategy either builds a
    brand image or destroys the identity if not utilized properly.

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  • http://www.marketinginthemurk.wordpress.com Marky

    I think that the key here is getting people to first listen, and but in an engaging way that then encourages them to share with their friends. For example, lots of bands offer free downloads if you share a link with your friends- this word of mouth marketing is a vital tool that a lot of businesses on Facebook aren’t taking advantage of by just posting links, as you mentioned.

  • http://www.marketinginthemurk.wordpress.com Marky

    I think that the key here is getting people to first listen, and but in an engaging way that then encourages them to share with their friends. For example, lots of bands offer free downloads if you share a link with your friends- this word of mouth marketing is a vital tool that a lot of businesses on Facebook aren’t taking advantage of by just posting links, as you mentioned. 

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  • http://www.seo-in-leeds.com SEO Consultant

    Good points raised here – Social Media is all about building relationships first and the business comes in on the back end

  • http://www.seo-in-leeds.com SEO Consultant

    Good points raised here – Social Media is all about building relationships first and the business comes in on the back end

  • http://www.seo-in-leeds.com SEO Consultant

    Good points raised here – Social Media is all about building relationships first and the business comes in on the back end

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    Yes. As SEO Consultant mentioned here, Now-a-days social media plays very important role in getting good improvement in the business by building relationships between different people.

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    Yes. As SEO Consultant mentioned here, Now-a-days social media plays very important role in getting good improvement in the business by building relationships between different people.

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