Social Media Darwinism

The world is irretrievably social. If you combine Eli Pariser’s “Filter Bubbles” with how much marketing we are exposed to daily it isn’t hard to realize an important marketing truth — attempts to reach your NEW customers directly are futile.

Here is Pariser on filter bubbles.

Extend that logic and think about your life. How do you learn about new things? Our online purchases are influenced by friends and friends of friends. Here is Nicholas A. Christakis one of the authors of Connected: How Your Friends Friends Friends Impact Everything You Do discussing the hidden power of social networks:

Marketing By Proxy

Those TED talks identify a truth we all know — we are becoming increasingly impossible to reach. Reach has special meaning in marketing. Reach means you touched customer hearts and minds. A tribe of customers stands ready to sacrifice for you. They will join your movement.

In Proxy Marketing we began an important discussion — how do you empower customers to carry the ball for your website, brand and company.

If our previous Proxy Marketing post was philosophy let’s be specific about ways to market by proxy:

  • Ask for help in formal and informal ways.
  • Create an Ambassador program replete with social rewards.
  • Move your creation down to 10% or less.
  • Increase your curation of User Generated Content to 90% or more.
  • Create contests and games to identify your 1% contributors.
  • Once identified engage your 1%eers daily, weekly, monthly.
  • Create a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly “great contributor” feature.
  • Ask trusted sources to contribute DIRECTLY into your content stream (without moderation from you).
  • Ask trusted members to determine who should be let into the club (they make recommendations).
  • Look to hand over MORE AND MORE of your content creation to your 1%ers.

1:9:90 Rule 1% of a website’s visitors will contribute content. 9% will share a site’s content especially if from the 1%ers. 90% of visitors READ and are important to traffic analytics but hard to engage. See the trend? Great websites are becoming places to have great conversations. The owner of the site is the curator and hall monitor (at least until both of those jobs can be given away too). Your content creation is so more powerful when using the trampoline provided by your customers.

Art of the Ask

In one of our most popular posts, Fear, Shame and Asking for Help, Phil Buckley discusses how difficult asking for help is for American men. I was forced to get over my bred in the bone reluctance after hearing “cancer” and my name in the same sentence.

Hopefully you and your marketing team won’t need anything nearly as dramatic to shake you into the realization that the most important people on your website every darn day are your customers. The more your marketing is about them the better off you are.

Asking for help is an art. Ask for help before you’ve done your due diligence looks like your are asking someone to do your work for you. That is why you need PUBLISHED and DEFINED programs that encourage, reward and value feedback BEFORE you get feedback.

“We put up a review button and didn’t get any reviews,” a friend told us recently. Duh, how often do you go into a room by yourself and stay there? Let’s make the analogy better. How often, in a place where there are throngs of people having fun, do you go into a room by yourself and stay there?

Never is the answer for most. We want to be where the action is. We want to be part of the tribe, one of the popular kids. We want to hang with the jocks and sit at the right table. In many ways high school never ends.

The expression of “high school” online is social media marketing and community versus being in a room alone. Our friend who put up the review button should have “seeded” the reviews with a few from their Ambassadors. Get the ball rolling and you will be amazed at how far it rolls.

Your social following can be anything, but it needs to increase a little each day. We pay attention to things we measure, so measure your social following. Know how many Twitter followers you have today, tomorrow and next week.

FOLLOW BACK those who follow you. If you asked us the most important rule in GAINING new followers it is how you treat existing followers. When we see a low follow back number we won’t follow the account UNLESS the account is attached to a trusted source (a guru we feel following provides more than not).

The number of “guru” follows is TINY (less than 100), so follow back your audience if for no other reason than it shows you understand social media marketing’s understood but unpublished coda — if you aren’t a “guru” like Seth Godin you FOLLOW BACK in order to increase your tribe and to pay homage to Social Media Darwinism.

We outlined even more “ditch digging” steps in our Social Media: It’s the Conversation Stupid Haiku Deck:

Social Media: It’s The conversation, stupid — Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Appendix: Social Tools

Social tools can be used any way you want, but here is a good summary of tool strengths and weaknesses.

Twitter The “radio of the web” Twitter is best to use for things happening NOW. When you publish a blog post Tweet it. When a customer RTs your stuff thank them, follow them and Retweet them.

Facebook Best for pictures, videos and questions., one of our customers, got a great discussion going by asking a controversial question about Fostex headphones vs. Sennheiser. Each side has a tribe of believers so asking questions that engage and cause debate are things their audiophile audience love to discuss.

Remember to drive links OUT of Facebook to your owned properties (site & blog), but don’t abuse that idea since to do so will incur the wrath of the Facebook Gods.

GooglePlus Best place to have conversations. There is a lot of moaning and complaining about how G+ didn’t scale. GooglePlus’ future is somewhat uncertain. Google is discussing taking photos and HangOuts and putting them on their own platforms. Not sure what that does to the timeline, but don’t be fooled by skeptics. We have just over 5,000 followers and our G+ posts have generated over 2M views. It’s GOOGLE and they can play that content anyway they want SO CREATE SOME. You need a safe content testing ecosystem. We use our account for testing content. Content that goes crazy we incorporate into our blogs. Content that doesn’t get any pick up we leave alone. is a great place to build community too.

Pinterest We use our King & Queen of Pinterest community boards as a place community builds itself with little hard push needed from us. We’ve built more community faster on Pinterest than on any other social net. Once we understood how much pinners lover Pinterest our Pinterest curation became so much easier (we re-pin mostly now) and our community boards ABOUT PINTEREST are the most popular thing we’ve ever not done (because 99% of the “work” is done by members of those boards including recruiting new members and pinning).

Instagram Instagram is the visual marketing tool of choice. Instagram,like Facebook, tends to be personal, intimate and flooded with pictures of pets, grandchildren and personal experiences. So when creating inside of Instagram do so with care and ask for help (is our best advice right now). Instagram for business could be a challenge, but every businesses, brand and company has a visual component. If you can find a way to make your visual component relevant and intimate such as headphones for Dad (on Fathe’s Day) or Dresses for Mom (on Mother’s Day) you can hit a homer in Instagram.

YouTube YouTube is HARD to grow a consistent subscription base, but video content is the future of online marketing. Get in there and start testing and you will find the video formula that works for you and your customers. We use the Curagami YouTube channel for video training. We know online education is sticky though we’ve yet to find the formula that will work for Curagami.

What social net do you love that we forgot? email martin(at) and we will include your notes in this post with thanks.


Originally published at on June 8, 2015.

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