Some people approach social media as a way to to get as many messages out about themselves, their business, or projects as possible.  They figure the price of joining most social networks is free, so it becomes an open river into which to dump their messages, regardless of who they reach or the impact they have on anybody downstream.  It’s all about loading up the pipes at the top, with little concern about where the pipes empty out on the other end.  This is clearly a quantity-based approach.

Google Adwords often work on a quantity based approach.  Google will serve up your ad in a slightly targeted way, but the return on serve v. actual click through or conversion is incredibly small in the vast majority of cases.  It is a great way to generate traffic for special events, promotions and the like, but very few of those folks seem to stick around long term as clients or audience.

A quality approach requires more effort.  It means talking when you have something to say.  It means thinking of when and where you place messages, and who you are trying to reach.  It means narrowing the scope of your messages and audience.  It requires more time and thought, but the quality of your interactions, conversations and conversions will likely improve.

While quantity gives you an initial buzz and a feeling you are doing “something”, the quality and staying power is smaller than the more thoughtful, quality approach.  Online, we’re deluged with information, but it’s much more difficult to get knowledge.  Information needs to be processed and needs to be relevant to the audience to make an impact, which is the whole reason anyone picks up a book or newspaper- we don’t need more unprocessed information- we need knowledge, and hopefully, wisdom.

You’re always going to get much farther with any message you want other people to receive- a marketing message, teaching a child to tie their shoes or motivate them to clean their room, learn about american history, convince someone to do business with you, talking to your spouse, tweeting or putting an update on facebook- it doesn’t matter where, what or when- if you keep your audience in mind and focus on quality over quantity.

That’s the way to build relationships and a receptive audience for the long term- give people what they want, when they want it.  You’re not always going to hit it perfectly, but if you focus on quality over quantity, the return in the end will be higher.  I promise.