We have seen how individuals and groups can leverage their extended networks to reach many people quickly. How does this happen?

If you have 50 people who follow your blog, a forum with 100 members and a Twitter following of 500, you have 650 people in your personal social media circle. On average, each of these people will have 100 people in their own network, and each of their connections will also have an average of 100, giving you the opportunity to connect with 6,500,000 people from the first two levels of your network!

There will be some crossover, but even if you only reach 2% of that potential market, that’s 130,000 people. If your message is compelling people will distribute it for you, with only the cost of the time it takes to send the message and nurture your network. So how do you reach them and get them to take action?

First, this is not simply a numbers game. There are lots of resources who promise to build your following automatically or on a paid basis. But having millions of people in the first level of your network it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t engage them and create a real relationship. You have to at least know who they are, and better yet, engage them. Building huge lead lists is an old way of doing business.

We are so inundated with direct advertising (commercials, direct mail, billboards) that we tune it out. But if somebody reaches out to us personally it’s HUGE. These days, if you tell your network about a poor product or service experience and mention the brand name, you may get a quick, helpful response from a company representative. Why? Because companies that get social media understand the power of a negative comment. They also know that if they give personal attention to your problem, you’re going to tell your network how responsive they are.

There are countless examples of this understanding on social media networks right now, with corporations as well as small businesses trying to figure out how to make this work. There are many, many success stories of companies reaching out to individuals instead of mass spamming them until they buy their product. Be one of those success stories.

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