2 – Community Relationships by Design

Principle 2 - Relationship by Design

SocialCone15 Principle 2 – Construct Community Relationships by Design

Keep On Purpose

Having a clearly defined program based on Principle 1 – Have a Sound Purpose and Plan on a Platform of Opinion Leadership, efforts around building and capitalizing on a Social Media Marketing program become quite clear. The social community will be directly related to the company or organizations core business, subject matter or special interest. The social connections made will, in one way or another, have a meaningful purpose in contributing to the companies social capital.

Caution – Are We Too Casual

Though casual connections between family members and personal friends are important, whether they these personal or oft described “social” connections become part of our business community depends on whether these connections add value to our social proposition. Keeping in mind the end result of our social activities must be to produce customer conversions – revenue. This is converted in Principle 7 – Use a Customer Relationship Conversion (CRC) System.

Be careful what you post on the network-of-network, FREE public communities like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Though we want to present ourselves as a real person, the danger is when we post something we later regret. Or unless we want to do so, statements we make may polarize people away from us. Something online line, that can indelibly be written, could damage our professional image and jeopardizes our business process.

The “Social Cone”™ Concept

As we analyze social relationships, categorize and group them by strength of our relationship with them, whether face-to-face or in online networks, and graphically depict these relationships, we see a tendency to follow the shape of a cone. This Social Cone ™ is a good way to assess where we stand with our social marketing efforts and how we can determine maximizing our relationships with them. The Social Cone concept along with research studies by both Robin Dunbar and Mark Granovetter can help us understand how to answer the above list of questions.

Social Communities and Influence Map

Influencers MapAnother diagram that can aid us in understanding how strong, wide and deep our social network is, is to analyze them against the Social Communities Influencer Map. In social marketing, though we can engage our relationships on a one-to-one basis at Level 1, the objective of our connections is to extend the relationships effective key people of Influence who will take our marketing message into other communities for us.  The best Only by developing the relationship through the LKT (Liking, Knowing, Trusting) process can we build on our opportunities with our relationships. That is, for our connection to spread our marketing message into their own private community.

These communities are separated by “Degrees of Separation”. An immediate connection we have is “1 Degree”. Our 1st degree connections reach into the community of our connection to a 2nd degree, their connection then extends further into the 3rd degree and beyond where the  “Strength of Weak Ties” effect can operate.

In each community, there are individuals who exhibit personalities described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point”. The key to our social marketing program is to connect with people who are mavens, salespeople and connectors. Seth Godin, author and marketer extraordinaire in his book “Purple Cow”, identifies these individuals as “Sneezers“, people who spread idea viruses. Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles calls them “Raving Fans”. The Referral Institute trains professional to become Networker Hubs. We “Build Our Network by Design” when we understand these relationship concepts and effectively implement our other Foundation Principles.

Friends, Associates, Acquaintances and Strangers (family / enemies)

The research of Mark Granovetter establishes the value on Friends, Acquaintances and Strangers describe in “The Strength of Weak Ties”

A “Business Friend” is someone who will act in our behalf whether we ask them to help or not. Because of the strong relationship, if they are able, they are willing and wanting to help us where and when they can. Friends have a strong measure of emotional attachment and a desire to want to help. If we apply the research of Dr. Robin Dunbar and his “150 Dunbar Number“, this suggests we can only manage somewhere around 150 close friend relationships. A Wall Street Journal article discusses this.

A “Business Acquaintance” does not have the same emotional attachment as a Friend. They may or may not help you depending on a number of factors. Nurture the relationships by applying Principle 5. Guide them through the Six Stage Engagement strategy of Principle 6.

The “Business Stranger” has no emotional attachment to the business relationship. Unless there is something in it for them. To be effective connecting to Strangers, there needs to be a big WII-FM Factor in them. (see next item)

How Viral Marketing Works

The ability for your opinion leadership or product marketing marketing message to spread fast and wide into and across communities of people is a challenge. The term to describe this rapid message broadcasting from one person to another has been called “viral” marketing. The term “viral” to describe this type of spread is akin to a human virus.

According to a white paper by Zmags – “The Social Media Dilemma – How to Create Viral Content“, there are six key idiosyncrasies that are consistent with and tend to result in more effective viral campaigns. Originality is listed first. This is why becoming a strong Opinion Leader is so important. According to Seth Godin, one needs to be special, unique, different and to be able to stand out from the oh-so-cluttered crowd. However, the other five viral components are also important to consider 1) Easy to Share 2) Using Lists 3) Quizzes, Give-Aways and Freebies 4) The Effective Use of Images 5) Humor.

Follow Up Social Marketing Research Articles and Blogs to Come

Making Connections

  • Who should I connect to?
  • How can I be sure that I am reaching the right people?
  • How many total connections should I have?
  • How many different communities should I join?
  • How many separate social medial marketing communities can I realistically participate in?
  • What is the difference between an Open Networker and an Organic Networker and what are the benefits of each?
  • The similarities between Link Building to our website and Link Building to People.

 Building Your Community – Accessing Others

  • What is a community
  • How do people in a community act?
  • Thinking like the community.
  • How to inspire people in your community to act.
  • How to build an active community of participants.

 The Dr. Robin Dunbar Number

  • What is so special about Dunbar’s theoretical 150 number?
  • Why this is a powerful basis for learning the difference between various relationships – Friends, Acquaintances and Strangers?
  • How social media channels relate to the Social Cone Concept
  • How Internet technology can help us effectively manange more relationships than what the Dunbar Number suggests.

 The Dr. Mark Granovetter “Strength of Weak Ties”

  •    What is it?
  •    What is its value?
  •    How must it work in order for our message to “go viral”.

 Viral Marketing

  • Great examples and why they work?
  • How do we keep our focus and create a viral message?
  • How do we use technology enhance our viral message?

 Friends, Associates, Acquaintances and Strangers

  • What are the differences?
  • How do we leverage these important connections?
  • Which Social Media platforms are best for each?

 Salesmen, Connectors, Mavens, Networkers, Raving Fans and Sneezers

  • Who are they?
  • What are their personality motivations?
  • Why we need them in our close community?
  • How to inspire them to act in our behalf.

 Expanding Your Network

  • Should we connect to every one we can or grow an “organic social network”?
  • How does building our network relate to Principle 1 – Have a Sound Purpose and Plan on a Platform of Opinion Leadership”?
  • How to grow your Private Social Community.

6-Degrees of Separation

  • How does this concept work?
  • Is it really 6 degrees or a 29% Solution?
  • How can I create a marketing message that will broadcast across the various degrees and where the “Strength of Weak Ties” comes into the fore?

 Other Topics Discussed

  • How can a person or business drive sales without every having to meet people? In other words, if word-of-mouth is so important, why can people succeed with social / internet marketing without ever having to get in front of others?

Contact Ed Woods for further information on this topic.

Links to the Seven Principles of Social Marketing  1234567