How Many Facebook Friends are Enough?

A couple of days ago, I crossed the 4,000 “friend” watermark on my Facebook profile. I casually mentioned this in a recent update to my Social Media Marketing Network Fan Page members. This sparked a question from my Social Networking friend, Warren Whitlock regarding large social networks vs. smaller ones.

Below is the conversation we started with each other, which we later decided we should take it public and let others chime in. So, here’s the conversation:

————— Conversation begins ———————

Hi Jim

Congratulations on reaching that milestone.

Have you found that having more friends that you don’t know has helped in your promotions?

Are you able to reach out to them as a group? Individually?

I’m looking for best practices to teach busy professionals, and services and training to recommend. Seems a lot of the training is focused on a race to big numbers, not profits.

Your thoughts?

Warren

***************

Hi Warren,

A lot of your approach to community/network building depends upon your game plan. For example, McDonalds is a mass marketer. They’d like for every pair of lips on earth to engulf a Big Mac everyday.

Some of your more niche restaurants may not have that goal. Maybe they’re looking for people who want to dine for the prestige of having dined at their restaurant and are willing to pay 300 bucks for dinner for 2 people.

Getting back to online marketing – it just makes sense to me that you’d want to service as many folks as possible because the tools are there to do it. So you pull the more interested ones together in a FB group or Fan page and you message them with quality content at a reasonable frequency… all along you’re establishing your brand. And when the folks in the group need help they come to you or you can service them proactively by producing info products for them to buy.

I’ll be blogging more on these different marketing approaches real soon.

Cheers!
~jim

***************

Hi Jim,

Here’s 2 cents more…

Group of fans are NOT FB friends.

McDonalds wants to reach billions, but they don’t phone each one.

I think there are a lot of people building friends list just for the sake of increasing their counts. A zillion on a fan page or group is just fine, but do they all have to be friends?

I see the same thing on LinkedIN. Every new employee at Pierpoint Recruiting is told to go get a buck of “connected people” and so I get invites.

I’m an open networker, I don’t mind from that perspective.. but I have to ask.. is it really possible that a JR recruiter will develop a real relationship with me? Even if I meet them and like them (maybe we went to the same school), there is no chance that I will employee people, tell others to take a job.. in fact, I bash employment every chance I get.

My point is.. it’s okay to get 1,000,000 friends if you can handle it, but I question whether these people have any intention of doing anything other than “getting the count”

Warren

—— end ———-

Now it’s your turn… what are your thoughts… large vs. small friend network… why and why not. Please comment below.

Thanks in advance.

Jim Turner

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5 Responses to How Many Facebook Friends are Enough?

  1. CCGAL says:

    If Facebook had tiers of connection (think SixDegrees in the 90’s) I would use it more. As it stands, I have no way other than grouping “friends” in categories of seeing who I really know, who I know from on-line conversations, and who just wanted to be my friend to bump up their numbers.

    I prefer to keep my “friends” (people I know and like and know that they like me back) and my “list” or my “networking associates” separate. There is ample evidence to suggest that the human mind can only handle a finite number of intimate associations, and I’m not going to waste those precious connections on people who don’t exhibit a genuine concern for my well-being. No matter HOW compelling the copy, the truth is that the marketer trying to sell something to me is not being altruistic. I’m all for the exchange of energy in the form of products being traded for money, but I detest marketers who pretend to be my friend in order to persuade me to part with what’s in my pockets.

    That said, I love Twitter because it’s fast to use where Facebook takes forever to load and to use, and it’s easy to follow and unfollow people as often as I desire. How do you tell a Facebook friend, “You ARE my weakest Link, GOODBYE!” ?

    Janelle “the Crescent City Gal”

  2. Jim Turner says:

    Hi CCGAL,

    Thanks for your comment. You are a ‘traditional’ user of social networking, i.e., using it the way it was initially designed to be used. But over the last few months, FB has become quite the business building tool. FB came to realize that it really can’t survive off people being social only. At some point, there has to be transaction take place to pay for the service being rendered.

    I believe that both groups can coexist on FB. Once in a while social media networkers and social media marketers cross paths… and it’s generally not a good meeting. When I come across people on FB that I determine to be on purely for social networking I unfriend them or don’t connect with them from the beginning.

    Reason being, they’re not going to be interested in most of what I do and I’m not going to be very interested in their endeavors either. It’s just best that both parties go their own way.

    I too, like Twitter. Again, it’s another social media tool that can be used purely for networking or for helping you achieve business objectives.

    Regards,
    Jim Turner

  3. Mark says:

    I believe it is in regards to what your purpose is. If you are using facebook to connect to friends then the number should be small. If you are looking to network for business purposes then it is okay to have a large number. Numbers help in business.

  4. I tend to try to keep my connections on LinkedIn and Facebook to people I actually at least conversed with, if not know. To just increase numbers seems to dilute the network to me.

    I actually shy away from LION on LinkedIn as I tend to receive the generic invites a lot, but have never participated even in a LinkedIn Answers section with them. I am comfortable with my 100+ connections and feel that I can actually contact them and they will know who I am, rather than just # 2368 in their list.

    Anthony Russo
    Conferencing Consultant
    Great America Networks Conferencing
    arusso@ganconference.com
    http://www.ganconference.com
    http://blog.ganconference.com/
    Phone: 312-432-5377
    Skype: anth.russo
    Twitter: @AnthonyRusso

  5. Nicky says:

    I know I’m rather late to the conversation here. Jim, however wanted to add a comment.

    I use FB as a way to connect with people personally and network. Most of my friends are real friends, either past or new ones, or at least people I have either met, conversed with or interacted with in some way or some point. I have about 116 friends at last count. I’m quite active on FB but I never wanted 1,000’s of friends. I also tend to use FB as my personal networking site, while Linked in is my business networking site.

    Like Anthony, OnLinked in I have just over 100 connections, but they tend mostly to be business or work oriented. The way I use LI is that I could ask any one of my connections for a reference and they’d be able to give me one (and not say “who on earth is this??) And I can recommend people in my network for jobs, or connect them to others in my network, as well as re-connect them with others and make new connections.

    Some of my connections are also friends of FB, but certainly not all… it depends on how we met. I also tend to keep my business and personal stuff separate. I

    I’ve just started using Twitter, and my plan there is to use it more for business making new connections,learning, exposure and contributing. I like it so far and I have a little personal element in it, but that’s it. I don’t think my clients and business colleagues are that interested in the minutiae of my personal life 🙂

    On using FB for marketing – I personally don’t like receiving tons of product oriented email and ads… and I know many other FB users complain about it as well. Send too many emails and it’s tagged as spamming…Internet marketers are already getting rapped for “spamming” on FB and, for that matter Stumble Upon.

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