The Twitter Obsession for Startups

Social media seems to be taking over the online space. Today, one hears everyone from chief marketing officers of established corporations to entrepreneurs talking about either the number of twitter followers or the number of fans they have on Facebook. Many RFPs put out by these companies focus only around 1 primary metric I.e. – the number of fans that can be garnered in a month.

While social media is getting more important as an influencing factor in each individual’s life and a person’s online social network is now playing an extremely instrumental part in his or her purchase decision, what’s funny is that social networks have become an obsession among every executive or business owner. Let me explain this with a real life experience – I got a call from someone who was about to start a specialty food truck business, an idea that, on hearing with my entrepreneur hat on, seemed workable. Now after about 10 minutes of explaining, he goes – how can I get a few thousand twitter followers? And in my head I’m like, “ouch, where did that come from?”  Well apparently his question arose from the fact that some events would only let his food trucks in if he had a certain number of twitter followers… Wow!

Anyway, all I could tell him was to build his business and use Twitter and Facebook as a way to reach out and keep in touch with customers who have sampled his food once and would like to track the trucks whereabouts and know about new stuff and offers he has going on. Asked him to use social media to inform customers where his truck is going to be the next day, get feedback from people who have experienced his service and use these mediums to gain testimonials and then use these followers to help spread the word through their network.

Bottom-line – my advice to every entrepreneur would be – “build a genuine following over time and watch them help you grow your business because they liked the experience you could provide, instead of obsessing over building 10000 followers even before you launch your business”.

The real power of Social Media is in its efficacy at enabling you to connect with your precise target audience. Use Social intelligently, or don’t use it at all. The orgasmic pleasure of a high number of fans/followers is short-lived and unworthy unless it earns the merit of relevance.

Use social media as a tool to augment your business, don’t become a tool of this online social world!

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