In social media, is it quality or quantity that matters?
Here’s what I mean.
Quality and quantity, in the cases of many goals and objectives, are inextricably linked. They’re relative, and one can outweigh the other or the scale can be different. But it’s a rare case in business when it’s actually only one or the other.
Quality – of information, of leads, of interactions – helps us focus our efforts and energy in the right places. It makes relationship development a more scalable activity, because we can reach one-to-one or one-to-few more personally than we can one-to-many. It provides a richness and depth of experience, or the feeling of a worthwhile investment, and helps us conceivably derive a better value-to-effort ratio for the things in which we invest our money or brain power.
Quantity, on the other hand, provides us with the field of information, leads, or interactions to draw from. More isn’t always better; 10 outstanding blog posts is arguably better than 50 mediocre ones, and a representative sample is better than a whole pile of garbage data. But some is often better than none, and quantity (even a minimal one) gives us a starting ground for most things. That can be the potential reach of an audience, a field of data with which to at least begin some analysis, or simply a diversity of perspectives upon which to make an informed choice or decision.
The key is to find the point of diminishing returns: when the quality of outcomes is offset or even negatively impacted effort of collecting additional quantity .
That’s not going to be the same for my business as it is for yours. It’s not going to be the same in B2B as it is in B2C or for a nonprofit as it is a Fortune 100 consumer brand. Questions to ask yourself might include:
- What constitutes a valuable use of one hour of my time consuming content? Is it one big idea that I can implement in the next year? Three small actions I can take next week? Entertaining myself or taking a break from work to rest my mind?
- What’s the cost (time, technology, or a combination of the two) for me to collect 1,000 email addresses, or 100? How much money do I need to make back from those addresses to have made it worth my while, or is there another outcome or cost savings that I can count as a return?
- Can I further worthwhile discussions of my cause or point of view if I don’t have a platform upon which to spread them? How big does it need to be to gain traction? How small does it need to remain to feel focused?
- How much “engagement” can I generate via my social profiles before maintaining that level of interaction won’t scale and will frustrate my community? If they had to choose, would my community prioritize individual attention over speed of information?
- How many months of data do I need to track to know if my campaign is having the desired results? Am I tracking the data points that tell me something useful, or just tracking lots of them?
Quality and quantity don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Nor does your attention have to remain on either one for the duration. The smart money spent not on the energy of chasing one at the expense of the other, but in knowing what you’re after, and finding the balance point between the two for your own initiatives.
How do you define the intersection of quality and quantity for your work, whether in social media or otherwise?