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Quantity vs Quality Which is Better in Social Media?

Quantity vs QualityI bet you have wondered at one point or another, what’s better – more fans/followers or more shares/RTs? There are many folks who argue quantity is better. Some argue quality is better. Some argue they are both important. I’m gonna argue that it depends on the social network you are on.

In terms of quantity I’ve noticed that people with thousands of Twitter followers, tend to be retweeted more than those who have under a thousand. Why? Because the number says that they have “credibility” whether they really do or not. In fact, yesterday I was showing a class how to find people of interest in their niche. We looked up some key words on Followerwonk, which allows you to search people’s bios for keywords. I found a guy who had just been on Twitter for less than 4 months, had 19,000+ followers, tweeted 682 times and tweeted the same thing over and over again. When I looked at his followers, many of them were people who tweeted less than 10 times or zero times and also had thousands of followers. To me, that means that he and his followers are using a system to auto generate tweets and find followers without doing a lot of relationship building or good content generation. Yet, he touts himself as a social media expert. Go figure.

Now for Facebook, quantity plays a lesser role. You can have fewer fans and have just as many or more shares/likes than a fan page with twice the number of fans you have. Why? Because Facebook fans tend to not go back and hang out on the page and interact with it if the content is not engaging. In fact, 90% never revisit a fan page after they like it, according to Facebook guru Mari Smith. So in order for people to engage with your content on Facebook, you need to appear in their news feed. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you have engaging content where people comment and like your content. In fact, comments are four more times effective than likes when it comes to landing in someone’s news feed; and you only get comments when you are interesting and engaging.

When we talk about quality, we’re talking about people who will generate revenue for you in some way or amplify your message to help it go viral. On Twitter this is less likely to happen because tweets stay relevant for about two minutes and they get lost in the feed. However, having a handful of quality Twitter followers can help amplify your message but chances are they don’t have tens of thousands of quality followers who will then retweet your content even further – and that’s the ultimate goal.

Whereas on Facebook, the quality of the fan is extremely important because a fan can share one thing all day and if it’s your content they are sharing then it stays on their wall all day. Also, if you are a B2C company, the quality of the fan is exactly what you are looking for because those prospects can convert to real customers over night. Further, they’ll tell their friends either on Facebook or in person.

So when it comes to Twitter, I think quantity sets a false guise that a person has more credibility than say they really do (not in all cases, but in many) and quality, although important, the fact that the tweet stays relevant for less than 2 minutes means you need a lot of quality followers. And Facebook, I think that quantity is less relevant and that quality of the fan is more important. Obviously, the ideal situation is to have a nice mix of high number of fans/followers with a 50% being quality fans/followers, but that’s hard to come by.

What do you think about the whole quantity vs quality in social media? Please leave a comment below.

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.

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