Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Twitter, Facebook, web traffic and rhinos!

Today, I want to talk to you about what I call rhinos.  These are special rhinos, the type that can ruin your online marketing results and cause you to make serious errors.

RHINO = Really Here In Number Only

So, what is a rhino?

  • Rhinos are the automated followers you have on Twitter, who follow you only because you follow them and have no interest in you or what you have to say.
  • They are the commenters on your blog, who leave comments just to get links.
  • They are the numbers you see in your analytics, from people who landed on your site in error, because one of their buddies auto-tweets everything you post.
  • They are the people who always open emails before deleting them, thus making your read rate look a lot higher than it is.
  • Most importantly, rhinos cause the untargeted numbers that make it unnecessarily difficult to refine and improve your online marketing.  They are all about empty volume, rather than meaningful value.

People will often engage in zero value activities, because it generates a visible increase in website traffic or social network numbers from rhinos.  They then get so addicted to these numbers that the thought of decoupling from all the bullshit that attracts rhinos, is scary.  It would mean confronting the reality of the numbers behind their online marketing.

Whilst that would help explain why they get so few inquiries from their thousands of followers / fans and website traffic, it would mean acknowledging the limitations of their true reach.

The bottom line: If you are interested in generating bankable results, you need to learn how to focus on building the numbers that matter.  No, this is not easy.  But it is required.

Photo: Mr Moss

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  1. Hi Jim,

    I was discussing exactly this subject with a friend & colleague no more than three hours ago.

    I like your acroynm, it works well.

    This article resonates my sentiment that when it comes to a following in social media it’s not just about the numbers. What really matters is the quality of that following.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. I think any network is formed of 95% rhinos, as you mention and 5% who are genuinely interested in the products. Unless you are a NYT or Time.

    As long as we provide useful content, we do not have to worry much about rhinos. Because even they benefit from it, and might become our future customers!

    • Hi Raj. Regarding your 2 points:

      I disagree that everyone has 95% of rhinos in their network.

      For example, 2 of my followers have around 200,000 followers on Twitter. When one of them retweets a post of mine, almost nothing happens. His network is large but has no influence and is almost exclusively made of rhinos.

      The other guy (Chris Brogan) always generates an enormous impact when he retweets my stuff. His network is VERY engaged, with a far smaller % of rhinos.

      Regarding rhinos becoming clients, in most cases, they will never even SEE your work. These are the exact opposite of prospective clients, as they are unengaged and untargeted.

      Hope that makes sense.

      • I do agree to your second point on the non-feasibility of rhinos becoming clients… But on the first point, perhaps his 5% is so huge and influential themselves?

  3. Like the acronym!
    On your response to Raj about Rhino saturation, how effective do you find services like Klout and PeerIndex in terms of providing an indication to the amount of or lack of Rhino’s in your network?
    Or are there other metrics you use to measure and validate network clarity?

    • Hi Chris. Thanks for such a good question.

      I agree with Chris Brogan, that Klout is of little real value. In the example I gave to Raj, the guy with 200,000 disengaged followers has a huge Klout score. However, he has little influence. Anyone can trick klout too, it’s very flawed. My friends unemployed son has a higher klout score, than Bill Gates.

      I connect with people and make my own mind up. Relying on software is “judge” human worth/value is (in my personal and professional opinion) 100% wrong.

    • Klout is so easy to game that its a joke.

      Only noobs and the eternally baffled give klout scores any clout.

      • Clear opinion on Klout then! Particularly like the unemployed son having more influence then Bill Gates, classic.
        I think what they are aiming at is the right direction, as I imagine the Rhino situation will only get worse and the accuracy of the algorithms more effective, but agree it will be a while before its a reputable standard.

  4. Love that term: RHINOS.

    I never thought about in these terms but, I have been proud to grow my numbers organically and slowly.


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