The One Thing Social Media Superstars Have In Common…

May 17, 2016 Social Media Strategy

I just found this post because someone shared it on Twitter a few months ago.

The post is on how quantity should be the focus on things we want to do well at in life, in work or whatever.

Thats’ a little different than what most people will tell you. If you listen to what most people say they’ll talk about how the goal is always quality over quantity.

Obviously we all want to get to quality, but the paradox in life is that we need to go through quantity to learn how to create quality.

There’s an example in that post above about a class of art students and how their pottery teacher did a little experiment. The teacher gave one half of the glass the rule that they could create one pot for the entire period and they would be graded on the quality. So those students focused entirely on quality.

The other half said they would be graded on the quantity of pots they created. So those students just set out to make as many pots as possible.

And the funny thing was that by the end of the class the students in the quantity group were creating the best-looking pots. The quality group ended up making pretty good pots, but they weren’t as good as those that iterated over and over.

The Case For Quality

Why does quantity lead to quality?

Well it’s common sense for most of us.

When we’re kids our parents or those close to us tell us that if we want to get better at something we have to practice. I remember the summer when I was 14 years old that our basketball coach gave us the challenge of making 15,000 shots over the summer. By the time basketball season came around we had all pretty much improved our shooting. The coach didn’t put any rules on us. He let us determine if the shots were layups, 3-pointers, free throws or whatever.

Every kid that did the challenge kind of set their own rules, but by the end of the summer those that made 15,000 shots had improved their overall shot.

I kind of did the same thing the next summer, but with golf. Every day during the summer when I was 15 I would practice chipping in my parent’s yard. By the following summer I had gotten pretty good at chipping and it helped me make the golf team the next spring at school.

Music Examples

The post gives another example from Kanye West.

In recent times, Kanye would talk about how he only writes quality songs for the most part these days. But the author did a little digging and found that earlier in his career Kanye would talk about the quantity of songs he would write. It was that quantity throughout his early years in life that allowed him to learn what makes for a quality song and now he has the skills where he doesn’t have to write as often.

I read something similar recently from the country music world. Budding artist Craig Campbell used to tour in the band with Luke Bryan. Craig asked Luke what the key was to getting a big break to becoming an artist and Luke told him that he should write as often as possible and as many songs as possible. The reason was that Luke found his own success when a popular artist recorded one of his songs. And it took writing hundreds or even thousands of songs to get that one hit.

Coolio has said the same thing. He’s said that he’s written thousands of songs and still does and it’s allowed him to have a handful of hits with a couple that keep providing income for him today.

Country artist John Rich, about ten or so years ago, mentioned to a country music writer that he had written about 750 songs in a few years between his time with Lonestar up to the time that Big & Rich broke through. The writer joked that he knew Rich had written that many songs because it seemed like all of them were on the radio at the time.

Quantity In Social Media

Alright, let’s brings this back to social media and your business.

When it comes to finding success with any social media channel – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogging, whatever – it’s going to take quantity to get the engagement and return that you’re looking for.

I think it was Rand Fishkin, the marketing expert, that shared that Medium post on quantity when I saw it. And I’ve heard Rand talk on podcasts and things like that about what it was like to start the blog for his company, Moz. He talked about how he would write a post every day and he would do that for years and years until the blog reached a kind of tipping point.

He doesn’t write as many posts today, but the posts he does write are often very high quality. He’s built up his skill through quantity to get to a point of skill.

I remember that Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) was one of the first celebrities to get attention for using Twitter. He obviously had fame before Twitter so that helped, but today he has over 17 million followers on Twitter. You can see that he joined in the late 2009 when Twitter was kind of taking off. Since that time he’s published over 9,000 tweets. If my math is right that’s like 3-4 posts per day during that time. He doesn’t keep up that pace as much today, but his posts usually get lots of attention. He’s learned what works.

Another social media celebrity that I’ve noticed because it’s in the golf world is Paige Spiranac. She’s built a following on her Instagram account. She’s been a successful college golfer and has been working to build her pro career. She started an Instagram account and has used the exposure to help her fund her pro efforts. She has endorsements and works with Golf Digest now on a series of videos and articles. I think it’s only been just over a year or something like that since she’s had the account, but she’s built it up to over 600,000 followers. It says she has about 131 posts. So that’s just a couple a week, but it’s still a good number of shares and over time I’m sure she’s learned the type of post that does well.

One more – I just listened to an interview that AJ Hawk did with Vine celebrity Logan Paul. In that interview Logan said, I hope I’m remember correctly, that he would do about 5-10 Vine videos each day. He wouldn’t publish them all always, but he would make them and often publish most of them. Over time he could cut back on the quantity, but he did that many to learn what would work with Vine users.

Conclusion

The main takeaway here is that if you want to have success with social media for your business it will take quantity. You can’t sit around thinking about the perfect type of post to share. You learn that by publishing different posts, experimenting and finding out what people will respond to. Then over time you can ease back into quality, but those that succeed with social media get there through quantity.