An Online Marketing Argument for Non-Believers

I am writing today to those of you who don’t think your business would benefit, or those who are not taking part in your companies inevitable involvement in online marketing. So if this is you, take a few moments and read on.

Online Marketing Relies on the Interconnections between People Online

The following explanation has its roots in the study of Stanley Milgram, who was an American social psychologist who was fascinated by all aspects of social order. For more details on his studies you can see this recent article on PSYBLOG.

I intend to focus on his studies of the interconnectedness of human societies.

In 1969 he conducted an experiment which sent letters to random people in Nebraska or Boston and asking them to forward it to someone who might be more likely to know the target person, who lived in Massachusetts (Travers & Milgram, 1969).

He found that on average it would take 5.2 intermediaries for his letter to go from the first person to its destination, via each person’s social network.

This was 1969 and the experiment required the subjects to overcome the relatively high obstacle of physically mailing something, and to rely on their social network which (without the online networking tools of today) was significantly smaller, yet it still only took 5.2 intermediaries to find its mark.

This Number is Surely Lower Today

With the average number of online connections reaching the thousands the ability to sort and direct information today is much higher than when this study was conducted.

Here is a Facebook insight Statistic from a recently launched real estate company Facebook Page:

Notice two stunning statistics here: 87 people have liked the page, and if they all shared the page’s next post, it would reach 24,885 people. Amazing isn’t it? That is 286 friends per person who liked the page, and what this does not tell us is how many connections those friends of fans would bring to the table.

The second statistic is that a 2.35% rise in the number of fans, led to a 13.95% rise in the number of friends of fans that the page could reach. As you can see the rise of connectedness is stunning.

Think of the effect that a local real estate company could have on its marketing if all of its 20 realtors signed on fully and shared the online marketing of the company on their personal networks.

  • A Dramatic rise in the reach of the online marketing.
  • The public’s perception of the company would be one of leadership, excellence, and modern marketing.
  • The individuals would be looked at as leaders in Real Estate Marketing, and prime candidates for listings.

Why Online Marketing is Important For Local Businesses

In the above example we are focused on a real estate company, and one of the primary characteristics of a Real Estate company is that a definite local market exists, and for that reason there is little to no need for marketing outside of the reach of their listings.

This emphasizes the importance of the employee involvement… follow me here. The Employees who work at the company live locally, therefore the majority of their connections are likely to be local to the business. You can imagine the type of saturation a local company could have if there were twenty employees taking part in the marketing efforts by sharing with their social networks online.

If the degree of separation from person to person has declined slightly (I argue more than slightly) since 1969, then in a local market, with 20 people sharing the messages, videos, listings, and reasons why their company is the best, virtually every member of the community would be exposed to the real estate company name, and it would remain front of mind until the services it offered were in need. That is the goal.

Another Post on Employee Participation In Social Media

What do you think? Do you have an argument with these ideas? If so let me know in the comments below, and if you are interested in a thoughtful online marketing campaign for your company or practice, it is free to hear my ideas.