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I recently read an article about growth tips for small businesses, and one of its pieces of advice was to focus on having a “community” rather than a “database”.

It was one of those lightbulb moments for me (as well as why-the-hell-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments, but let’s focus on the light bulb as it’s more positive).

At Scout, we always preach the importance of focusing on quality over quantity, and that’s why this idea of community over database just makes so much damn sense!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE data, but data is ALL about the numbers. A community is about the people.

A database has values; a community has VALUE!

You contribute to your community, and they, in turn, support you!

It’s far better to have a smaller, dedicated audience of people who care about what you are saying and doing, than a long list of faceless names or numbers that couldn’t care less.

It reminded me of a quote our Social Scout shared from the recent Social Media Tourism Symposium:

Again, it’s PEOPLE who have relationships. PEOPLE who like/comment/share/tweet/retweet/refer/recommend etc.

It also reminded me of the saying “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” (sidestepping again slightly, but work with me here).

We spend – or should spend – a lot of time listening to and talking with our community, so we should represent their average. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked the word “average”, so you want to make sure that your “average” is in fact awesome!

So don’t ignore the analytics, but remember that (in most cases, ignoring the spambots) there are real, living, breathing people at the other end of those accounts.

So across all aspects of your digital and social media marketing – be it website visitors, email subscribers, Facebook Page likers, Twitter followers etc – don’t focus on having the most; but on making your community the best!


Image by David Goehring via Flickr.


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