Often it can feel as though SEO and social media marketing is just a numbers game, accumulating followers, climbing the rankings, chalking up the hits and raking in the conversions. But of course SEO is not just about numbers, it’s about reaching out to your target audience and engaging with them in a way that encourages them to pay you a visit, and perhaps part with the most interesting number of all – the ones with a pound sign before them! SEO and social networking is about real people though, not just bots, spiders and rankings. Yet it’s often those real people who generate some pretty astonishing statistics, which reveal a fair bit about what’s working, and what isn’t.

seo is a numbers gameFor example, in 2011 the number of tweets published every single day rose by a massive 250%. Yes, some of those will be automated tweets generated by bots, but actually this doesn’t tend to be a particularly high proportion, and is definitely not the reason for the growth. Twitter is much more about real people making real connections, although getting it right isn’t easy. With over 175 million registered Twitter accounts there are plenty of people out there ready to listen. How many of them are listening to you depends greatly on just what you’re saying of course. Few real people will voluntarily tune in to a series of adverts. That’s a fact lost on some online marketing people who assume that plugging marketing messages at regular intervals is all that’s needed to make a difference. Yes, social networking offers some staggering numbers to play with, but ultimately it’s still about reaching out to those real people, which means offering something of real value.

LinkedIn is another networking platform that’s seem tremendous growth over the past year. Since 2010 LinkedIn has grown a full 100%, with over 100 million users now connected, sharing business contacts and offering recommendations and testimonials. Interestingly more than half of those registered on LinkedIn come from outside the US, which makes it a truly global network.

I could throw out many more numbers and statistics, such as Facebook now having more than 640 million users, Flickr growing by over 25% in the last six months, and so on. But don’t make the mistake of seeing only the numbers. See the people behind the numbers, because after all, that’s where your real target lies, doesn’t it?

What’s your preferred social networking site? Let us know by leaving a commment below.