The following is a slightly altered excerpt from my brand new book Viralnomics: How to Get People to Want to Talk About You available in paperback, kindle, and audio around the world. Get the best book on social media on Amazon today.
IIN THE EARLY 1900’s there was an efficiency expert that excitedly walked into his boss’ office exclaiming that he had made a discovery.
He spoke of an employee down the hall who was sitting with his feet on the desk and had been this way for some time. The expert advised his boss to fire the employee.
Henry Ford calmly responded to the efficiency expert by saying,
“that man once had an idea that saved me a million dollars. When he got it, his feet were right where they are now.”
The need to always appear “busy” is an issue that plagues society. Wasting time is frowned upon, rightfully so, but are we really wasting time on Facebook when we think we are? I, for one, don’t think so.
In 1973 the American Journal of Sociology published a paper called The Strength of Weak Ties. It argued that success is more dependent on one’s peripheral contacts and vague acquaintances than on one’s closest friends. The paper went on to say that one’s close friends had almost nothing to do with one’s success.
Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, The Tipping Point, is based off of the study, and it is the reason why the girl that you met once at a party five years back that you haven’t spoken to since but is a friend on Facebook is immensely valuable to you.
Vice President of Ogilvy UK Rory Sutherland says,
“Facebook is about nothing if it is not about serendipity, coincidence, the happy accident, the shared admission— quite simply it’s all about increasing one’s chances of becoming the lucky victim of a happy accident.”
Your chances of success start and finish with how lucky you get. Do everything that you can to increase your chances.
Many social media experts seem to be obsessed with the buttons:
- A/B testing Facebook ads,
- the “best” way to design a page,
- the best apps and so on.
The importance of the buttons pales in comparison to the ability to get your users to want to push them, and want to talk about you.
Metcalfe’s Law (established in 1993) states that the power of a network is directly correlated to the square of the number of nodes on that network. Marketing, any kind of marketing, is about staying at the top of someone’s mind for long enough so that when they decide to buy, you’re the first person they think of.
But mindless scrolling doesn’t cut it. Two things to do:
1. Actively promote someone else every day. It doesn’t matter if they are in your industry or not. Have a friend in a band? Promote her show. Noticed that somebody you went to grade school with just wrote a blog post? Share word of it.
2. Be consistent and always be helpful. Post one tip or piece of advice relating to your area of expertise every day. The goal is simple … every single person in your extended network needs to know what you do. Your success depends on whether or not you can stay at the top of the mind long enough so that when they, or somebody that they know, needs your service, product, or whatsinit, you’re the one who gets the call.
This Happens When You’ve Become “the Guy”
One day I was procrastinating getting to work on this book and a Facebook notification popped up. Somebody tagged me in a fitness video that I hadn’t heard anything from in years.
We went on one date in high school. I was probably 15.
For some reason I became Facebook friends with her some time in University. We never spoke.
I have no mutual friends with her anymore. Other than Facebook, there’s no reason why she would ever know that I have anything to do with fitness. She has never commented, liked, or interacted with me on Facebook in any way. Nor have I interacted with her.
But I was the only person she tagged in a video she deemed funny about exercise. She thought of me when watching this video.
Unbeknownst to me she refers to me as “the fitness guy” for no reason other than I’ve posted about fitness stuff on Facebook.
What does this mean? Maybe nothing.
Or maybe, just maybe, she might, at some point, know somebody who knows somebody who went to dinner with somebody who wants to become a personal trainer and now will get told about my site, books, and courses.
This is the power of social networks. You can’t measure this. This is scalable. This is an example of what will happen when you put yourself in the best possible position to catch a lucky break.