Why Social Media Is Like A Gun Range

Have you noticed the trend of people talking about their social media following like they are on a firing range?  The talk seems to be all about whose weapon [follower list] is bigger.  Well, excuse me, but **ahem** “bigger” is not always “better”.

Allow Me To Explain

I’m not much of a hunter, but I do understand the difference between a shotgun and a rifle.  [Gun enthusiasts note: I just said I wasn’t a munitions expert, so please forgive the following explanation if it fails to meet your qualifications….this is a metaphor, not a weapons drill –please don’t shoot me!]  In short, when fired, a shotgun unleashes a torrent of pellets all hurled simultaneously (and quite explosively) in the general direction of a specified target.  Since there are multiple projectiles, the “pattern” covers more ground, thus increasing the odds an intended target (such as a bird) would be hit/killed by said pellets.  A rifle, on the other hand, fires a single projectile, with more precision, and significantly concentrated stopping power, often more appropriate for a deer, bear, or other large animal.  The point being:  As a general rule, I would not recommend taking a shotgun on an elephant hunt, nor using a rifle to dove hunt.  Neither would likely produce the intended result. [Note: I’m not that fond of people who hunt elephants, but do find dove to be quite tasty on the grill.]

rifle target shot

Rifle – One shot, one bullet.

Shotgun - One shot, many pellets

Shotgun – One shot, many pellets

The Point

Having more pellets firing out of the barrel of your gun at once (shotgun) may not yield the intended result a single bullet is capable of producing from a rifle.  To phrase it another way, a more finely tuned, focused, specific marketing effort will generally yield a larger, more intentional result (Read: Land a bigger client that precisely needs exactly what you sell, the way you deliver it to solve a specific problem or pain said client would prefer to eliminate) than a broad, wide-sweeping “let’s see what we get” approach is likely to produce.

There are a lot of strategies to just “build up your number of social media followers”. I argue, though, that a targeted, specific and much smaller following also can have tremendous value, especially if that following more closely meets the type of value your practice, services, or products seek to provide.

Of course,  if you could build a tremendously large number of rabid fans, most of which are absolutely relevant to your area of expertise….now THAT could be even more powerful! For THAT, you must focus not only on the hunt, but building a CONNECTion, once you draw in your prey…

Below, tell us more about YOUR online connections.  Do you allow ANYONE to become your “friend” or “connection”?  Are you more deliberate?  Do you have a policy?  How does that differ between different social media platforms?

Cover Shot for CONNECT! BookScott Cooksey is the author of CONNECT! 77 Idea Chargers to Generate High Voltage Results, Today!   Learn more and order copies for your teams and networking colleagues HERE.


  1. Casey Stowe on May 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

    You are right “on target” with this one. A thoughtful, directed approach almost always produces better results. But sometimes you need a shotgun!

  2. Coty on June 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I like the analogy of spraying vs. being specific. Your loyal fans are going to follow you because you cater to their needs, not the needs of the masses. So finding that specificity will help them to stay loyal to you. You serve them and they will serve you.
    Good message Scott!

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