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How Being Too Popular Online Can Hurt Your Business?

online popularityA lot of businesses are trying frantically to increase the number of fans they have on their Facebook Fan Pages, and the number of followers they have on Twitter.  This popularity level is of course directly associated with “leveraged marketing”.  The logic goes like this – the “popular” I am online, the more marketing power I have to a highly targeted audience.

But please allow me to shed some light (truth, reality) on this subject.  Being popular has a downside that you may not have yet considered.

Let’s say you are trying to leverage the web to promote your business, product, and service.  Of course you’ve heard that you need a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account, and you’ve probably been told that you need to get as many followers (Facebook) and fans (Twitter) as possible.

However, the reality is that your audience grows slowly.  And you find yourself working hard with this smaller audience of followers to answer questions, interact in conversation, and otherwise work to build a strong reputation for yourself (your business) by being proactive in social media.

Fast forward 8 months….

Your Twitter followers are now up to 4,000 and your Facebook fans have grown to well over 500.  You find yourself simply unable to answer all the questions, feedback, comments, and even complaints that are streaming to you from Twitter and Facebook.

What happens in this scenario is that the people who are attempting to communicate with you are now being discouraged because they feel like they are ignored – that you (your business) no longer has the time to interact with them – they are now nothing more than a number in the masses!

You could hire someone to sit and interact with your growing social media audience all day long, but your business can’t afford to bring on an additional employee at the moment.

So what do you do?

This scenario is becoming a reality for small businesses that built their reputation on the close interaction they provided on the web.  But as their online audience grew, and because they still had a business to run, their time on Facebook and Twitter just couldn’t be maintained – and now a lot of people are being ignored.

With this being a new phenomena for business owners and brands alike, I don’t know as if there is a real simple answer.  Certainly there isn’t any technology available that can automate personal interaction with customers.  The solution has to come from you and your business.

The bottom line is that people who were once used to getting responses from you (your business) are now being left out, left behind, and otherwise ignored.

One Possible Solution To This Problem

I’ve been thinking about this problem of being “too popular” online because of the experience I’m having here at Social Media SEO.  I find that as this blog continues to grow, so do the comments to the articles.

And of course when I first started about 5 months, just having one comment was about the most exciting thing that could happen to me so I poured myself into the comment response.  But then I started to get a few more comment each day, and I noticed my responses were becoming more abbreviated.  And I’m not quite there yet, but depending on the articles, comments can come streaming in so fast that I’m simply unable to keep up and address them all.

However, I’m noticing a second phenomena with this growth, and it might just be the best solution to the problems I’ve described above with becoming too popular to interact with your growing audience.  And that phenomena is that a lot of times, the readers / audience begins to help one another on their issues.  I’m starting to see, with a growing audience, that the comment sections of my articles can turn into an open source platform where a community of people are helping each other, answering questions, and otherwise interacting – and this is happening all from within the original article, right here on my blog.

This is what I call “crowd sourcing”, and it’s a way to help guard against the “becoming too popular” syndrome.  By getting your readers on your blog, followers on Twitter, and fans on Facebook involved with your content, then in essence your audience is helping you by stepping up and answering other people’s questions, and responding to other people’s needs.

Crowd Sourcing For Your Business

So what am I saying here?

The message I’m trying to get out here is that as a business, brand, product, or service that is leveraging social media and the Internet, should start to think of ways to get your audience involved with your site more often.  Encourage discussions from your readers and followers.  Send out questions to your Twitter followers, and refer people to others within your online audience.

This all comes together to encourage the power of crowd sourcing – where your audience of followers are helping each other out within your online communities – which ultimately preserves, and even can help grow, your online reputation while simultaneously allowing you to manage your time effectively without losing a targeted audience.

All of the social networking platforms are prime environments for crowd sourcing – blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.  And for the business who leverages crowd sourcing the most will be able to grow their online audience without ever leaving a single follower behind.

Welcome to the new age of social media for business!

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