I also commented along the same lines in response to James Chefkoff’s posting on ‘Why 500 is So Significant’ on his Modern Marketing blog. James’ quite valid point is that as you look to scale-up a social network, the first 500 active members are critical to building interest in the network sufficient to make it ‘tip’ and become successful.
My equally valid counterpoint was that there is more to successful network building than just concentrating on the early adopters; that the network itself needs to be constructued in such a way that it is worth participating in itself, with or without early adopters doing lots of the initial heavy influencing.
Reality of course is that although social networks are everywhere, these are relatively early days for the study of social networks. We are only just starting to understand the dynamics of social networks and what that means for social marketing. Early adopters and influencers (they are not the same thing) are clearly important. But so are the messages that spread across the networks. And so are the susceptibility of the networks to those messages. And so are lots of other things. Influencers are central to social networks, but there is much more to social networks than just influencers.
What do you think? Are social networks critical to your company’s marketing efforts? Or are they just an interesting curiosity?
Post a comment and get the conversation going.