I find it very interesting when people shout out “Facebook” or “LinkedIn” when they are presented phrases such as “online social network” and “online professional network.” The reason is actually quite obvious why these two websites/businesses come up first; it’s because they were first movers, pioneers and built out their user bases fast (Facebook with 100 million users and LinkedIn with 26 million). In the same respect, when people think of microblogging, Twitter is top-of-mind.
In the same regard, it might be hard to say marketing without mentioning Seth Godin or management without Tom Peters. What’s different is that you can talk about management and marketing without mentioning these guru’s, but it’s nearly impossible to talk about online social networking without mentioning Facebook and online professional networking without LinkedIn.
Why does this occur?
If you are reading this blog post, then you must realize that we are living in a technology bubble. Most of the world has no idea what social media is or social networking. If you’ve met any College students, then you would be surprised by their lack of knowledge in this area. It’s the High School students that follow the latest trends.
When we understand people or websites more than terms, then we are forced to draw an association that bridges them together. For instance, most people don’t know what social networking is until you say “Facebook” or “MySpace.” The second you shout those sites out loud, people get it.
58% of adults don’t know what social networking is!
Why do they win?
These sites, for example, win because of word-of-mouth. Every time a journalist, reporter, blogger, teacher or presenter talks about social networking, these two sites are top-of-mind. Once they say them, then people understand the association and talk about it to others. If you read any article on social networking, you will probably see these two cited. The benefits of being top-of-mind are clear: traffic, users, press, authority, credibility and prestige.
Results from being top-of-mind
- People will try and mimic your brand or website, which positions you as superior.
- People will want to go into business with you. They might even force you into business!
- People will want to partner with you and share the success.
- People will want to be your fan!
- People will have to talk about you.
- People will use your site for things you didn’t intend on (raising the importance of your site).
- People will use your brand name alongside even bigger brand names (increases perception).
How you can achieve success
I’ve noted many times that you need to own your own niche (be the gatekeeper of your brand). I’m very serious when I state this because, let’s face it, if you are the laggard, you aren’t going to be top-of-mind. The only exception to that rule is if your competitors aren’t innovative and you somehow are able to steal to spotlight (think about Friendster).
Once you select your niche, create A LOT of content. I’m talking about podcasts, blog posts and more. You want to drive the association between your name and your niche as much as you can. Yes, this means you have to work very hard and very fast.