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If You Are So Great, Then Why Hasn’t Anyone Heard Of You?


Are you sacrificing trust for a following?

I’ve noticed a shift in my perception of folks on Twitter, FaceBook and other SM sites.  I no longer consider follower count as a measure of credibility.   A couple years ago I did. 

It’s just too easy now to trick systems, especially on Twitter where several services exist simply to boost followers. 

I can’t really go by blogs, either.  Comments can be crafted and are filtered – much like LinkedIn recommendations, about which I wrote last week.  Therefore, I don’t put too much merit on blog comments, particularly if they are too flowery. 

Lately I’m left wondering if my new follower is simply “collecting” me to boost his/her numbers to build some sort of façade that will help him/her with the bottom line.  

Trust isn’t automatic

Let’s face it, we’re all cynics.  We don’t just automatically trust everything we see/read, even on a SM site.  In that case, why try to trick people by collecting huge followings as opposed to a smaller following  with which you have more credibility and an earned reputation?

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Social systems, seasoning and authenticity

Online, offline, “new” way or “old” way, it’s still about credibility, wouldn’t you agree?  So, the lack of a mention of you by someone I trust will outweigh any impressive statistic you offer every day of the week.  And, what was that mention?  Was it good, and in line with how you present yourself? 

Some of my favorites don’t boast followings in the hundreds of thousands.  In fact, most of them don’t.  But they do have my trust.  They earned it over time.  Like any good effort, it took seasoning.  So, not only have I heard of them, I’ve talked about them to others.


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Written By

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.



  1. Jeffrey Douglass

    January 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    “Truth isn’t automatic”

    Love it….

  2. Melissa Zavala

    January 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    You bring up some very interesting points. Lately I’ve been wondering about twitter. All I see are ads for this product or that one. Are there actual folks on twitter who are searching for products, or is it more like a the game alley at the fair where a bunch of carnival workers are yelling to you to drop three dollars at their booth?

  3. Jose R. Reyes

    January 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Well put…It’s esy to get caught up collecting friends. But true followers, not that the key.

  4. Patrick Braswell

    January 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Another great blog. Keep them coming. And, I hope that wasn’t to flowery for you.

  5. Susie Blackmon

    January 16, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Twitter is all about who you follow. It’s also a gold mine of information if you know how to use it. It is also very easy to block those who don’t understand that Twitter is not for selling. I’ve learned more on Twitter than I have anywhere in RE, and the learning continues on a daily basis. No matter what you do, it takes time to establish credibility. My RE business is not the ‘norm’ so I use Twitter for research regarding RE, horses, horse properties, etc., etc. My followers continue to grow, but it’s a natural growth, like the readers of my blog, etc. Social media means different things to different people. For me, the most important aspect of SM is the vast amount of information shared by extremely intelligent people.

    • Janie Coffey

      January 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Twitter is for me, by and far, the greatest mind expander I have ever run across. As an avid reader (print, web, rss) and grad student who reads ALOT of stuff, there is nothing that compares to the depth and breath of information you can find by using Twitter IF you follow the right people, like you said Susie. It is really a goldmine!

  6. MIssy Caulk

    January 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Oh I love those Twitter groups. I know I am not done, but it has been so helpful to stay in touch and check in with whichever group I am in the “mood” to communicate with.

    Actually I tweet with very few Realtors on Twitter, but I have a group of techy’s I follow so I don’t miss out.

    Nope not about quantity but quality.

  7. Bruce Dietz

    January 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    There is valuable information on most of the SM sites. However, one should be cautious when taking professional advice from someone on the site. Just because they are on a SM site, doesn’t make them an expert in the field.

  8. Andrea Geller

    January 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I agree with the comments about quality over quantity in terms of fans and followers. I as well find Twitter to be a great wealth of information inside and outside real estate. It is one of the best places to follow the news such as what is happening now and techie news. There are also some great conversations taking place.

  9. Ally Lennon

    January 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    As a web designer I’ve certainly noticed numerous clients asking for links to facebook, twitter et al placed on their sites as ‘thry feel they should’. The follower phenomenon will burn itself out I think.

  10. Mike Macey | Influencer

    February 23, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I have prospective clients ask how Oprah reached 3.5 million plus followers. My response is always the same . . . “who cares and most importantly why should you?” You are so right on Brandie Young! I explain to them I’d rather have 50-100 followers I’m engaged with. I believe Social media comes down to four important issues: 1) Like me, 2) Know me, and 3) Trust me. The entire process, including 4) Pay me, have always been practiced offline.

    When you meet one or several new people at a time, the little “you” on your shoulder whispers he/she/they are like us or maybe not. Whatever one may call it, our little “you” and our “gut” tells us whether we should consider doing business with our new introduction. When prospective customers engage us through Social Media, we have an obligation to learn more about them. Social Media provides a curtain we can peek through before we choose to return the engagement.

    Take a page from Old School . . . If your prospect likes you and you like them, both parties may develop trust. And when the stars align (sorry, I’m a 60’s child), you gain a client and they will pay you. If you don’t feel the same karma (sorry, and I hate body oils) you can ignore, delete, or flush. Trust goes both ways.

  11. John Cannon

    March 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Brandie, I think you have exposed a major flaw in the social media structure. I got a FB friend request from someone I’ve never met before. He’s a realtor in the area, has over 1,000 “friends,” and we have about seven friends in common. I don’t want to be this guy’s friend! To me, Facebook is a means to keep in touch with people I KNOW. That’s hard enough for me, without keeping in touch with people I DON’T KNOW.

    I don’t want to be LinkedIn with him, either. I want people to be able to look at my list of contacts on LI and know that they are people I know personally, and that I feel comfortable being associated with them. I disagree with your dismissal of recommendations, by the way. While they are going to all be very positive, of course, to have someone take the time to write something specific about you, even if it’s reciprocal, takes a level of comfort and trust that means something to me when I read it.

    So I am in agreement with you that networks need to grow in person, and the online stuff should grow from that. Otherwise, it becomes another example of system over substance, something we already have enough of, in my opinion.

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