In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, Paul Revere is the ultimate connector, a man with the requisite respect, intelligence and social network to efficiently spread ideas about the oncoming British. The historical legend says he rode quickly but more importantly, he talked to other connectors who considered him a credible source of information. Since then, small business owners have studied Paul Revere in an effort to replicate his success as a connector and influencer.
Not everyone realizes it, but it’s much easier to spread messages now. When someone clicks a sharing button - a “like”, “retweet”, “+”, “share” or “repin” - they endorse and broadcast the message to their followers, friends, connections and other constituents. When the information continues to get shared repeatedly, the message spreads throughout social networks in a self-replicating process that mimics a virus.
Effectively spreading ideas among prospects and customers is so much easier now than it was in 1775 because of communication technology and word-of-mouth marketing.
Wikipedia says “word-of-mouth is one of the most credible forms of advertising because people who don’t stand to gain personally by promoting something put their reputations on the line every time they make a recommendation”. And the Wikipedia rabble has a point. Technology makes it easy to distribute information, and social media turns information distribution into a social interaction.
So, what should you do immediately to start amplifying and accelerating positive word-of-mouth?
1. Blog Weekly:
- Blogging is a great way to provide useful, interesting information to your target audience.
- Your blog posts help your search engine rankings and deliver more web traffic and leads.
- Give people an easy way to subscribe to your blog via RSS or email.
- Add social sharing buttons to each of your blog posts so people can easily share each post.
- Always distribute your blog posts to your social networks.
- Consistency is important because your readers need something to come back to
2. Listen & Participate on Social Networks:
- Share messages more often.
- Engage with your followers by replying to them.
- Spread other people’s relevant content, ask questions and converse.
- Find ways to keep conversations going.
- Build a larger, more relevant following.
3. Position Yourself as an Expert:
- Study your target market.
- Build your reach and influence.
- Use your blog as a platform to share important ideas and concepts.
- Encourage people to visit your blog and other social media pages.
Participating in social media takes time and consistency to engage an ideal audience. However, the interaction and dialogue will foster a more collaborative relationship with prospects and customers. If you listen and understand your target market, you’ll see that blogs and many of the larger social networks offer ways to reach your target market efficiently. Don’t forget to recognize and thank every customer who follows and interacts with you because a small handful of die-hard fans can make all the difference.
Before Paul Revere took his “Midnight Ride”, he was already well connected within Boston society. He undertook numerous rides to report on political unrest in Boston and he participated in secret meetings to coordinate and disseminate intelligence about the British. To have meaningful influence in social media, blog weekly, listen and participate, and position yourself as an expert. When you have relevant content to share, and the right connections to help you disseminate your message, they’ll listen carefully and take action. People will care once you have already established yourself as an important member of the community. To be a successful connector within social media, leverage online word-of-mouth as if you were Paul Revere.
David Chevalier is Co-Founder of SalesBlend, an internet marketing firm. He works with small businesses in Greater Boston to maximize sales performance through an integrated marketing approach.
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