The Numbers Game

Facebook, Twitter, BranchOut, LinkedIn, Google+, and tons of other sites encourage you to build up your numbers, followers, friends, whatever, and when you do, you supposedly obtain more visibility. But cranking up those numbers is where my dilemma lies.

They don’t mean anything.

Just this weekend, I got two invitations on my wall to “like” someone’s Facebook page immediately after accepting the two people as “friends.” Having a large number of “friends” is nice–it’s that many more people you can connect with. But liking their pages seems more like endorsing their work. It’s safe to say I won’t be reading all their books, attending all their conferences, buying their speeches on CD, so having my name on their page doesn’t mean anything except that I’m another name on their page.

I’ve  noticed it’s a big trend on FB now–going to strangers’ walls with a link and a line to “please like my page!” It’s done so frequently that the numbers have no meaning. Not everyone who “liked” my Give the Lady a Ride  has actually read it or are they likely to. I did solicit a “like” from one person who solicited one from me, and I’ve debated doing that more often, because, after all, I can use the numbers, too. But what do they mean?

Recently I discovered that my automated Twitter service–the one I’d completely forgotten about–has accepted a host of followers I wouldn’t have accepted. Now I know how all those embarrassing tweets are winding up in my feed. I have a meager 700+ followers on Twitter, and know probably around a hundred of them. Many of them have thanked me for returning their follow by sending me their must-read blog address, or telling me about their books or how they can change my life because they’re such great coaches. All this prompts a quid pro quo from me, “I know you’re not likely to read a Christian contemporary western romance, but hey–you sent me a link, so here’s mine.”

I haven’t seen any indication in my site stats that they look me up.

I’ve been up since around 1:00 with an upset stomach, so maybe I’m just cranky, but today’s Facebook invitation to “like” the page of someone I don’t know, extended by someone else I don’t know–not even the page owner!–rubbed me the wrong way. I deleted it from my wall. Maybe later today I’ll be more in the mood for the quid pro quo game where their empty “like” on my page will be returned with my empty “like” on theirs.

Or, maybe I’m in the minority–maybe I’m being naive. Is this the way to promote my book? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Is it all part of marketing?

I can’t help but to feel there are others who feel the same way, though. If it irritates me, I’m sure it irritates others. If it really is part of marketing and promotion, maybe I need to rethink my career choice.


About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Promotion/Publicity/Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Numbers Game

  1. Have you read Kristen Lamb’s blog–specifically this post: ? I think she nailed it!

    Hope you feel better soon!


  2. Lynn Mosher says:

    Oh, I totally agree…but then again, I have a tummy ache as well! LOL We *have* to gather up numbers but much of it ends up being meaningless. I think it’s just one of those disagreeable things that are part of the process of marketing and promotion. I rarely ask for a *like* from one asking me.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      I actually held a campaign on FB for folks to “like” my page. I bought an ad to show up on the sidebar for a week or so. My numbers went up, but the sales figures on Amazon didn’t change. I just don’t know that having a heap o’ “likes” actually boosts sales.


  3. Lynette says:

    I go both ways on this. I’m at the point now where most new friend requests I get on Facebook are other writers looking to network. I’m not against networking, but I’m at the point now where I’m talking much, much more about writing on my author page than I am my personal page. I use my author page as more of the writing biz and “me” as a writer. I don’t think if someone “likes” my page that they’re endorsing me, but they’re interested in keeping up with what I’m doing. And vice versa.

    Also, I figure maybe my writing isn’t their cup of tea, perhaps. But maybe they know someone who will like my book, a friend of a friend sort of thing. I’m also interested in getting to know more book club and library people, too. So yes, I don’t think numbers mean a whole lot, but on the other hand, there may be a few out there who are interested in what I do…it’s just finding those people. 🙂


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Sounds like you’re using your author page the way I use my wall–just to chat and keep up with folks. DiAnn Mills recommended doing just that at a conference I recently attended. She said these pages allow for more followers than the wall pages do.

      I don’t have a problem with making “friends” and networking. I guess I just don’t like folks posting their requests to “like” their pages on my wall. In a way, it’s rude. These folks are interested only in generating numbers. Once I “like” their page, I’ll never hear from them again. On the other hand, I have “friends” who comment on my status or drop a line of greeting, and when they want me to like their page, I’m only too glad to do it.

      But don’t be surprised if I start playing the “quid pro quo” game. It’ll all depend on what kind of mood I’m in.


      • Lynette says:

        Yes, I know what you mean. I will “invite” people to like my page, but send that as an invitation if I know them pretty well. I will occasionally post an invite as my status, like I did this morning when talking about my weekly newspaper column, and that I was posting it a day early on my author page. I try not to do overkill with the “like my page” posts. I know after a while I get tired of seeing the same, like me, like me, status updates on my news feed. 🙂


  4. Chuckling…only last week I decided to finally get around to pursuing Facebook. After a couple of years I have maybe 20 friends, after visiting Facebook about once every 6 months. So I’m on the other end of your dilemma–wanting to connect but still fearful of being seen as using Facebook shamelessly.

    Alas. Here’s a cyber Tums for you, girlfriend!


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook. It is one of the primary ways I keep up with family and friends who don’t live nearby, or cyberpals I may never have the honor of meeting in person. It’s a great way to connect and meet new friends.

      It’s the abuse of the wall posts that bugs me. And, since all I can do is rant about it, I’ll take that Tums you offered. Thank you!


  5. Sorry you’re not feeling well! I sometimes debate about those arbitrary “like me and I’ll like you” invites. But I never feel honest liking something I’m not familiar with and/or don’t honestly *like.* Of course, I love watching the numbers rise on my own page, but I’d much rather have a bunch of honest likes on my page than a bunch of empty numbers. And that’s how I treat others’ fan pages.

    P.S. You’ll note I honestly *liked* yours. 😉


  6. Lisa Grace says:

    I’ve asked exactly two people to like my page, but they read my books and gave them 5 star reviews.
    I don’t tweet, I don’t ask people to “like” me, but my books right now are #2 in teen horror (bumped out of the #1 position by Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter) latest book to movie “The Woman in Black”, and my books are #1 & #2 in the last ninety day releases (out of 56,000 books). My rankings have stayed in the 5k to 12k range since Book 1 came out as an eBook on May 23rd.

    What this tells me is– marketing to your target market is what sells books. Not having other authors or friends “like” your book.
    Maybe “like” meant something a year or two ago, but I can’t see any correlation now to sales in the fast changing wild west of the internet.
    I’m switching to Google+ because having to do most marketing myself, I have a way of keeping track of people and a way to contact them directly when a new book releases. I’ll be adding it to my Author central page, and have already added the 1+ button.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      I didn’t think “like” related to sales. Congrats on the success of your marketing efforts! I wish I could claim equal results. Ride went up over 100K in the ranks last week, moving me from the dungeon to the basement. It’s back down again. 😦


  7. Annie says:

    I was a Facebook auditor till my sister went viral on it!!! I only have it now to stay in touch with friends, family and my nieces and nephews whose lives are controlled by technology!!! Matter of fact, tonight I ‘chatted’ with my best friend from 8th grade. It was great!!! My blog does get posted there as well but I am using it more to connect not get numbers.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      You were an auditor? How did you become an auditor of FB? And your sister went viral??? How did she do that? Going viral with my book wouldn’t be a bad thing.

      I enjoy keeping up with the family through FB. I try not to bother them too much, but it’s fun when we do get to chat.

      Thanks for writing, Annie! It’s been awhile!


  8. Interesting subject. I was getting caught up in the technology race and I don’t even have a book to market. I’ve backed off, only friending the people I truly want to follow and keep in touch with (such as all of you ladies). I like following your writing careers, as well as the personal touches, because I’ve come to know as more than just names on a page. I care how your day goes and how well your books are doing. As to the social networks, they can easily become the monsters under the bed who devour all of your time. There needs to be a balance, and when any of you figure it out, please let me know. Blessings to all of you, may your books soar off the charts.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      You’re so right–they can easily become monsters. I’ve had to seriously cut the amount of time I spend on social sites. Too many hours socializing means no hours working.


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