“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
—Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 5
”Seek first to share, then to be shared.
Seek first to like, then to be liked.”
—SML Network Theory
I know a lot of people (artists in particular) who are completely dumbfounded by social media. Following the advice of their friends, they signed up on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on Flickr, on LinkedIn, because their friends told them that if they sign onto one of these networks they will gain exposure.
Yes, you will. But you need to participate. Simply creating a Facebook account and a page and not participate in anything is much like appearing on an island in the middle of nowhere and expect travel tours to flight over as a travel destination.
If you talk about other people and be interested in other people’s work, people will be curious about your work in return. The same philosophy opined by Covey is the same in social media.
But be sincere about it — often I see companies / brands / people liking all kinds of random things in hopes of gaining followers. You won’t go far. You might be able to fool the dumb search bots in hopes of gaining linkbacks via SEO but ultimately humans are the ones who care about your content. If you want people to care, then care about others. Never follow accounts in hopes of being followed back.
That tactic is seen all over Twitter. I see it all the time—they follow you, as soon as you follow, they send you a direct message as spam and then unfollow immediately—it was so annoying that I have stopped seeing who is following me anymore. I blame that unhealthy number-game on Twitter to the promptly displayed stats. And is the number 1 reason why I suggest companies to not actively display stats visibly on people’s profile as it creates an unhealthy ecology.
In the hayday of social media analytics, the follower/following ratio is often used to calculate one’s influence and thus popularity. If being well-read is a sign of intellectual maturity, then one must question how logical that influence analytics data really is. Thus you will see that better analytics engines such as Klout calculates influence based on engagement, and I think that kind of calculation is much more accurate.