How many Twitter followers have you got? Are you ashamed by the low number of contacts you have on LinkedIn? Do you wish you had more friends on Facebook? Have you ever wanted more visitors to your web site? Wherever you look online there is an apparent competition to reach the top in a vast array of league tables.
But it’s all nonsense; you are truly wasting your time if you worry about all of this, not to mention the stress and anxiety it is causing some people..! You can find blog posts about increasing your Twitter following and there are tools to let you know how much traffic your web site gets. There is simply tons of information online that will help you get to the top of those league tables.
Then you’ll be able to tell all your friends you are “Number One” on some service or another. Fantastic. Well done, slap yourself on the back. Your ego is intact. But what about your bank balance?
We have an in-built desire to be “top” of something that we find relevant to ourselves. Back at school, some of your friends wanted to be top of the class, but others merely wanted to be the top goal scorer in the football team. Meanwhile other children simply wanted to be known as the best at turning up – getting the prize at the end of term for having no days off…!
We all want to be “best” at something; it helps us confirm our value to the world, enabling our self-esteem to remain in place and thereby reassuring each of us that we are worthwhile. It is an important psychological process, which can lead to mental health issues when it doesn’t work.
In the online world the desire to be “best” at something translates into chasing the number one slot on Twitter, or getting the most friends in Facebook, or making the most money out of LinkedIn. It also means we concentrate on statistics and data to feed our need to get good rankings for our web sites or our blogs.
But whilst this may do your ego good, boost your self-esteem and save you from the psychiatrist’s chair, there is a real downside. It takes you away from the true purpose of your web site – which for businesses is to earn money. Look at it this way. Imagine you have a service which sells for £100,000 and you would be happy with just two customers a year. You don’t need millions of visitors to your web site, nor do you need gazillions of Twitter followers, Facebook friends or LinkedIn contacts. No, all you need is two people to visit your site who have the spare cash you want in return for your business.
Far too often we think that the online world is all about numbers, traffic and “being top”. It isn’t; it’s about focus, targets and being seen only by the right people. As an example, take a look at Morgan PR’s article about measuring social media success. In this article, PR man, Nigel Morgan shows that he is “Number One” on Twitter….but here’s the point…he is Number One in his target market of West Berkshire. That’s highly focused and is a great example of what we all need to do.
By focusing attention on a specific target group and being number one in that we achieve two things simultaneously. Firstly, we are reaching the very people we want to reach, instead of hoping they will be amongst the huge numbers we get when striving for the highest possible traffic. Secondly, it still helps our self-esteem and ego. Just like the child who didn’t want to be top of the class but was still happy with the number of goals scored in a season, it’s about focus.
So, are you striving for traffic at the expense of a targeted and focused system? Do you always look to see how far up the “league tables” you are? Do you wish you had more friends, contacts and followers? If so, you could well be chasing the wrong dream – and increasing your stress and anxiety as a result. Select your target, focus on them and don’t worry about your web site traffic. Not only will you find this much more beneficial, you’ll do wonders for your bank manager’s ego as well…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+