What is the true value of your social network?

I have heard some pretty overwhelming stats the last few days both on the web and in meetings. Consider:

  • Having 30,000 followers on Twitter
  • Having 100,000 people reading your blog
  • Reaching “500+” status on your LinkedIn network
  • Having over 1000 friends on Facebook

If the above example were just one person, using a simple multiplier and discounting for overlap, the total reach of your personal network is well north of 100,000 people.  This is a marketers dream, particularly in the B2B market where reach, particularly to decision makers, is critical to the success of any marketing initiative.

But where is the break point at which total volume begins to detract from the value of your network? And does that matter in the end?

Let’s use my cousin who just graduated from college as an example. He has 880 friends on Facebook.  Clearly he isn’t great friends with ALL of us. So if he were to recommend something on his FB feed, perhaps only 100 or 150 would pay attention since the rest are just as casually related to him.  Of those close contacts, probably only 30-40 are participants in his daily life/schedule and value the relationship to the point where they would take the tip and act on it, just because he gave it to them. (See Malcolm Gladwell’s work on “Connectors” in The Tipping Point for more on this concept)

So is his real reach 880, or 150, or 30-40? And does his ability to influence go down because most of us know that we are on the margin of his network? Or are we OK with just being a casual participant in his network and are willing to give his recommendations a shot? Or in the end does it again come back to demographics? If it’s relevant to me I listen no matter where I am on his network continuum?

We are currently ramping up an initiative focused on Ness’ Business Intelligence technology services. Part of this will be a social media playbook for our sales team to use as a guide to expand the message to their network.  My gut says the time tested metrics of reach and engagement from market days gone by will continue to hold.  If the topic is relevant to you, you will respond, if not, you won’t.

The profound difference today however stems from the fact that we can reach those 800 FB friends, or 500+ LinkedIn connections, or 100,000 Twitter followers more directly than ever before.

It will be interesting to see if it matters.

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One Response

  1. […] But on the B2B side the value prop is a bit less clear still. I wrote about this issue a bit on my blog. I was one of the early B2B brands advertising on LinkedIn when they launched their advertising […]

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