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Do You Focus on the Most Popular and Ignore the Rest in Social Media?

Engage in the thousands and even the millions, if possible, and allow your quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary markets define themselves.
Do You Focus on the Most Popular and Ignore the Rest in Social Media?

The Long Tail of Social Media

Too many colleagues, organizations, and companies are keeping their circles of influencers small, believing it is better to invest limited time and resources on the most influential, the most popular, and the most celebrated. Happens in D.C. all the time. I'm rocking the latest dinner party, parlaying attendees with my wit and banter, when someone snazzier and trendier enters. Immediately I've lost my audience's attention. The idea easily transfers to Twitter.

Other users focus exclusively on networking within their own space, effectively limiting scope and reach by preaching to the choir. If you've invested in running with the A-list, fine; however, that's an old model reminiscent of old PR, of the golf club, the lodge, and the private club.

The Internet created something that not enough social media consultants and coaches support and advise: the ability to expand circles of influencers, to engage with anyone and everyone. Only recently has the Internet become ubiquitous and global in a real way. Previously, the digital divide was a barrier to not just many Americans but quite a few developing nations becoming part of the global conversation.

The value of the Internet is proportional to the number of connected users. It's also living proof of Rule 34. No matter how obscure, vertical, or arcane your material may be, there's an audience for it. Someone will show it love and attention. Online social networks have made all of this even easier to the point where it is becoming less of a potential and more of a promise, an eventuality. In short, there is real value associated with connecting to as many followers and collecting as many "Likes" as is humanly possible. For real effect.

There's also a psychological benefit of large numbers. I have won contracts and business on the power of five-digit followers on Twitter, which is modest compared to most of my peers. However, for someone who only has a couple-hundred followers, 38,000 is a lot and suggests mastery. To be honest, I wonder how long it will take these "less is more" social media consultants to realize that it's not good business to dismiss what the client wants out of hand.

Go beyond the top 100 A-listers

A wider and more open-minded audience has more positive effects than we can realize. Quantity and quality can exist together in this town, but if you're just going to pick one, go with quantity. For some reason, many of my social media and digital PR folks disagree. Abraham Harrison is almost five years old, just a few months younger than Twitter itself, and my experience is that it's not as simple as all that. While it is possibly essential to have the attention of the top-100 A-list influencers in your space, it is also essential to attract everyone else as well -- and I'll do my best to tell you why.

The network effect is a lot like chaos theory, but instead of butterfly wings, they're Twitterbird wings. Every cannon-bomb splash that a Twitter account makes in a tweet in a small network might as well not exist. If a tweet falls in the forest and there's no one around, does a it make a ripple?

Well, when you reach the whales of Twitter, the celebrities and politicians who have followers in the millions, every single decibel is amplified, considered, scrutinized. It's the playground from which TMZ and even the nightly news chooses its evening victims. These large networks attract both eyeballs and robots. The spiders from Klout and from Google and Bing as well as from the Twitter top lists are constantly spending their limited resources paying attention, retweeting, auto-tweeting, and indexing the biggest prey on the prairie. And the only people and brands who can do this effortlessly are the folks and companies who already bring worldwide fame and fortune to the party.

In a perfect world, you'd target these folks by the millions, increasing your amplitude and maintaining your authenticity because of your popular connections. Because the world is far from perfect, be open-minded about any and all Twitter connections. It's impossible to gauge all that they bring to the table at face level. But it's possible to assume that they came to you because they share a scope of interest. It's possible to assume that their followers share that scope of interest.

In social media on social networks, you cannot choose your fan

When you initiate a theory of anyone and everyone, you really must embrace the chaos. In social media on social networks, you cannot choose your fan -- at least you shouldn't. I am sure the makers of My Little Pony never thought that they would garner a galloping herd of adult men, Bronies, who are superfans of the child's show. Who could have guessed.

You might engage in a strict narrow cast of your net, pre-filtering your target demographic; however, you really need to let go and let God. Your product, service, book, tool, experience, and catalog may find deep appeal among an entirely new fan base that you never considered or imagine before. How deep are you willing to go?

You very well may have a primary, secondary, and tertiary target market -- well done. However, this is the Internet, this is the long-tail! Don't forget Rule 34. Engage in the thousands and even the millions, if possible, and allow your quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary markets define themselves.

It works, it really does. Give it a go, give it a test, and let me know.


  1. Social Media: Platforms that enable users to create, share content, and participate in social networking.

  2. Digital PR (Public Relations): The practice of managing and influencing perceptions of a brand or individual online through digital communication channels.

  3. Gerris Corp: A digital PR agency mentioned in the text, known for its expertise in social media.

  4. Influencers: Individuals who have the ability to affect the opinions, behaviors, or purchasing decisions of others, typically through their presence on social media platforms.

  5. Circles of Influencers: Groups of people who have influence within a specific community, industry, or area of interest, particularly in the context of social media.

  6. A-Listers: High-profile and highly influential individuals, especially in the context of social media, entertainment, or public life.

  7. Digital Divide: The gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communication technology, and those that don't.

  8. Rule 34: An internet adage which suggests that for every conceivable topic, there is content on the internet related to it.

  9. Twitter: A social networking platform where users post and interact with messages known as "tweets."

  10. Followers: Individuals who subscribe to another user's content on social media platforms.

  11. Likes: A feature on social media platforms that allows users to show appreciation for content.

  12. Network Effect: The phenomenon where a product or service gains additional value as more people use it.

  13. Chaos Theory: A principle in mathematics and science stating that small changes can have large effects, referenced metaphorically in the text.

  14. TMZ: A popular media and entertainment website known for celebrity news.

  15. Klout: A website and mobile app that used social media analytics to rate users' online social influence.

  16. Authenticity in Social Media: The quality of being genuine and true in one's social media presence.

  17. Bronies: Adult fans of the children's show "My Little Pony."

  18. Target Market: A specific group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed.

  19. Long Tail in Marketing: A business strategy focusing on selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities.

  20. Quaternary Market: A market or audience that is not primary but still significant, often specialized or niche.

  21. Quinary Market: Similar to quaternary, this refers to the fifth level or segment of a market, often more specialized.

  22. Senary Market: The sixth level of a market, indicating an even more segmented or niche audience.

  23. Septenary Market: The seventh market level, often representing a highly specific and targeted audience segment.

  24. Octonary Market: The eighth level in market segmentation, indicating an increasingly niche audience.

  25. Nonary Market: The ninth level of market segmentation, typically representing a very specialized and narrow audience.

  26. Denary Market: The tenth level of market segmentation, often referring to the smallest, most specific audience segment.

  27. Chris Abraham: The author of the text, a contributor and expert in social media and digital PR.

  28. Social Networking: The use of internet-based social media platforms to stay connected with friends, family, or peers.

  29. Digital Content: Any content that exists in the form of digital data, often found on the internet or social media.

  30. Engagement in Social Media: The interaction between users and the content created on social media platforms, including likes, comments, and shares.

Originally Posted on HuffPo