Size Matters: How a Large Online Network Can Transform You, Your Marketing, and Your Business
Due to the great response to this article in Social Media Marketing Magazine, I wanted to share it with everyone here on the SocialGrow blog. -Ken

Investment portfolios.

Airline seats.

Chocolate fudge cakes.

What do these three things have in common with the size of your online network? Big is good, bigger is better, and biggest is where you want to be.

As marketers, we have stuff to do, and failing to reach our objectives is not an option. Our brands and businesses require us to make things happen. Customers, sales, revenues… it’s up to us. Having large online social networks gives us the juice we need to make things happen.

Over the past few months, I have seen a surprising number of articles attempting to convince me that whether I’m a B2B or a B2C marketer, the focus for my portfolio of friend, follower, and connection-based online networks should be “engagement.” Hogwash.

Size matters. Size gives you power. Size gives you control. Size gives you leverage.

Everyone is an expert in something, but no one is an expert in everything. One of the reasons to be active on social media is to learn how to use cutting-edge and proven marketing strategies and tactics. If you follow one marketing professor on Twitter, you learn his/her approaches. How much better if you follow all of the top marketing professors on Twitter in the areas of B2B marketing, B2C marketing, public relations, corporate branding, and marketing research? The larger your network, the smarter you can be.

In the concept of six degrees of separation, all of us are, at most, six steps away from any other person. This is the heart of LinkedIn’s business model. If I have one connection on LinkedIn, I’m two degrees away from everyone my connection knows. Whether I need to buy or sell, I have a personal introduction to everyone in my connection’s network. As a marketer whose livelihood depends on your ability to get things done, would you rather have one connection on LinkedIn or 1,000?

What if you had a large mailing list of people who want to receive your communications because they’re interested in what you have to say? Each of your messages can reach more target customers. The larger your online network, the more people you can sell, real-time, 24×7x365.

As marketers, part of our value is to persuade our target audience to take action. If you’re Ashton Kutcher and develop the largest online network, you’re not just in the media, you are the media. You can directly broadcast to your five million-plus member audience anytime. That’s marketing. You want each and every one of your communications to command a level of credibility so high that other media outlets are forced to report on them.

As my boss likes to say, “Your message can only go as far as the size of your network.” Besides, as any five year old will loudly and unashamedly tell you when you’re standing in line with him at the bakery, “Who wouldn’t want the biggest chocolate fudge cake?”

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Additional Reading

“It all starts with having the largest possible audience.”
-Dan Zarrella, Hierarchy of Contagiousness

“Marketers must connect on social networks with people they don’t know, namely their customers.”
-Charlene Li, Groundswell

"I have always admired the way successful entrepreneurs put themselves in a position to 'get luck' by developing relationships with relevant people and taking advantage of promising opportunities."
-Jeff Bussgang, Mastering the VC Game

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