It’s hard for me to say this, but you’ve been lied to about social media.You have had the wool pulled over your eyes since the emergence of every major social media platform. Luckily, I am here to deliver the truth: Followers, likes & retweets are worthless When you wake up and check your stats and get that warm feeling inside because you gained 17 followers overnight, it’s worthless. When you get excited because Facebook gives you the “Charlie liked your page” notification, it is worthless. When you log into Instagram and your screen is flooded with orange icons, it is worthless. You see, like a $1 bill, followers, likes & retweets are just symbols of the real thing. They are symbols that show you have provided value to the community. Instead of chasing these worthless symbols, why not go straight to the source? Instead of chasing the $1 bill or that extra follower, why not chase the thing it represents? Value: the importance, worth or usefulness of something So how to do you go right to the source and start providing value on social media? 1. Solve people’s problems Twitter is great for finding people that have problems. All you need to search in relevant hashtags, join a conversation and provide information that could help answer their questions. However, it’s important to remember that the focus should be on solving the person’s problem and not on promoting your own content or business. 2. Show that you care People yearn for recognition. If you are present and show that you have consumed the content of an audience member, you are adding value. Scrolling through your targeted hashtags on Instagram and leaving genuine comments on pictures and videos that you care about is adding value. 3. Make people laugh Another form of value on social media is laughter. If you know your customer on a deep level, then you should understand their sense of humor. Identify content on the Internet that will speak to this part of your audience member and then post regularly. 4. Embrace every opportunity When spending time on social media you must be alert. You have to be able to spot a person with a question as soon as they ask it and have the relevant resources ready. You also can be proactive about solving problems by posting content you know that could potentially help your customers. When you stop focusing on the symbol of the thing (followers), and start focusing on the thing itself (value), the symbols will come faster than ever. This is a key way to build an audience of genuine people that enjoy and appreciate your presence and will help spread your message to more people. How many human connections do you make each day? I try to make 10 real connections with people on social media each day. How many have you made today? And, more importantly, how many will you make tomorrow? Bio: Tom Hunt is the founder of SaaS Marketer and bCast (B2B podcast hosting for high growth businesses).