The Anti-Facebook

There is a conversation from the movie Stepbrothers I would like to share with you.

If you have not seen the movie, it is a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Jon C. Reilly. The movie tells the story of two sons, both from single parent homes.  When their parents marry each other, they are forced to create a new family together and right away both stepbrothers decide to hate each other. The story of these two middle-aged slackers who can’t hold down jobs and still live at home is hilarious.

Below is an excerpt from the movie:

Mom (to Dad): Why is it that your son never left (home)?

: Well, Dale has always coasted off my accomplishments. I mean, he left college his junior year…

…because he said he wanted to join the family business.

Mom: But you’re a medical doctor.

Dad: Believe me, I’ve told him that. But he just always says, “It’s all about who you know.”

Not only is that exchange hilarious, but it really speaks to how we feel about job hunting and networking.  It’s all about whom and how many people we know.

We judge the success of networking events by the amount of business cards we hand out. Twitter users with thousands of followers are seen as impressive.  On Facebook users with hundreds or thousands of friends are looked upon with high regard. As if more friends equals being a better person.

When it comes to social media it seems we prefer quantity over quality.

While that may be how we use social media in our personal lives, it should not be how we use social media for business.  The popularity of using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in business is growing rapidly. It seems everyone from plumbers to the President is creating an online profile for their business.

As a result there is a lot of effort put into growing followers and friend lists.

While I will not argue against the fact that having a large number of followers is impressive, having thousands of followers not in your target market is about as useful as having no followers.

You may have 3,000 followers but none of them are necessarily interested in purchasing your products.

For example I like products from a high end men’s grooming store called The Art of Shaving. Several years ago I was given a gift set from their store as a birthday present. I loved the razor and shaving gel from the set and ever since I have been a fan of their products. I went so far as to “Like” them on Facebook.

Alas I have never bought a product from them. As I said before they are a high-end store. High-end products come with high-end prices. Instead I buy much more affordable grooming products from more conveniently located stores. Just because someone likes your Facebook page or follows you on Twitter does not necessarily mean they are your target market or will buy your products.

Having large quantities of friends, connections and followers does not necessarily translate to higher sales. Marketers and business owners get even more frustrated when they hear statistics that suggest users are more likely to buy from a company they are a fan or follower of.  What they are missing however is the key ingredient…quality.

It’s a matter of quantity versus quality. In business would you rather have a thousand hits and zero sales or one hundred hits and seven sales? Would you rather have five hundred Facebook friends or five real friends who can physically meet you for happy hour after a bad day?

Personally I would rather have 30 real connections than 3,000 friends. Always choose quality over quantity, especially when it pertains to your business.

Several years ago I attended a conference. Hundreds of others did too. I mingled, chatted and handed out business cards to a lot of people that weekend. I couldn’t tell you half of the names of the people I met, except for one. I met one person that weekend that changed my business. I met a programmer that weekend that I collaborated with on a number of different projects that ultimately helped me create more products and put more cash into my pocket.

I find that most businesses have only a handful of connections like this that really matter to their business. It’s all about finding those quality connections that will in the long run help you grow your business and increase your profits.

[Ed. Note: Scott Martineau recently stumbled upon a company whose shares that same philosophy. created a one click network that matches you with other entrepreneurs based on your profile. They don’t just match you up with thousands of business contacts from every part of the world. They match you up with people who can help grow your business or even help you start your own. Efactor knows the power of quality versus quantity. They are the antithesis of sites like Facebook and Twitter that encourage large numbers of connections.  To read more about Efactor or to join click here.]