This blog post summarises some of the views of Paul Adams in his 2011 book ëGrouped; How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social webí a book I highly recommend to everyone involved in marketing, sales or business in general.
This post contains my own views on the subject matter too.
The Web is changing
As you well know, the internet is always evolving. And at less than 25 years old I expect the way it works and the way we interact with it will change dramatically in the next few years. Adams explains that the internet is now being rebuilt around people rather than documents and pages. The reason behind this is simple; humans are social animals. We have been social animals for hundreds of thousands of years; the internet is simply catching up.
People using the web are now using it differently. A lot less time is spent interacting with content and a larger percentage of time is spent interacting with people.
Interruption marketing is dead
Recent trends have shown that traditional methods of marketing (cold calling, TV, print) are slowly dying. Permission marketing, also known as Inbound Marketing, is gradually taking its place. Search engine marketing, e-newsletters, social media and blogging are forms of inbound marketing and are the cornerstone to creating influence on the web.
A tremendous advantage digital marketing has over traditional methods is its ability to test and measure every interaction a person has. And now with social media channels like Facebook, Klout and Google+ we are able to measure social interaction and influence.
The ability to do so allows marketers to accurately follow the spread of a marketing message through the social web.
Influencing the right people
Adams explains that in order for a business to successfully launch a product or service it should look to structure its marketing message in a way that will easily influence people and encourage them to share it with their closest friends via word of mouth. In contrast to Malcolm Gladwellís famous ëLaw of the Fewí theory Adams explains that instead of a business trying to ëseedí its message with a small number of highly influential people a business should look to plant its message in easily influenced, interconnected groups of friends with little influence on a specific subject matter (the majority of the population). Successfully doing so will see a message reach a number of people through people they trust. Receiving a message via a friend rather than a stranger on the end of a cold call is far more convincing. Adams makes this point clear throughout his study.
How to go about influencing on the social web
There are a number of strategies to influence individuals and groups of friends through social media. Studies by comScore and Wildfire have proven that creating a Facebook application that shows off an interesting aspect of an individualís personality is the most likely type of post to be shared on an individualís wall. This could be done through an exciting personality test or a specialist trivia quiz. Competitions and sweepstakes have been proven to create huge amounts of participation, but lack in their ability for generating reach as individuals do not share their entry with friends.
The web has changed. It is now built around people and the interactions between them. Make sure you are looking at new methods of marketing such as SEO and Social Media and look to influence groups of friends. Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing so make sure your marketing messages encourage individuals to share and talk about it. Making your business remarkable is the best way of doing this.
Here is a link to Paul Adam’s book Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends are the Key to Influence on the Social Web (Voices That Matter) if you are interested in reading it.