Kevin Bacon & Social Exponential Reach


I know what you’re thinking; “What does Kevin Bacon have to do with anything marketing related”? Just stay with me. It all comes together. As I’m sure 7,000 other blogs have told you, social media is an important piece of your marketing mix. At this point you’ve probably seen all kind of stats that all have the same bottom line; start using social media! But what do those numbers mean? What is the true reason that these sites are valuable? The answer is exponential reach.

Let’s say you have a Facebook friends list of 200 people. You share an update with those 200 people in your immediate network. Simple enough right? 200 people have now seen that update. It doesn’t stop there though. Now let’s say that 5% of that immediate network decides this update is worth sharing with their friends. That means that 10 people share your post. While that doesn’t sound like anything amazing, keep in mind that they each have a network of 200 friends who now have the ability to see your update. Again, staying conservative, say only 5% of each of their networks actually see that same post. That’s an additional 100 people reading your post. So where you would have originally only reached your initial 200 contacts, you have now reached 300.

This is exactly what exponential reach is. It’s the ability and opportunity to reach an audience that would otherwise be untouchable. It isn’t only about who you know, but who that person knows and so on. It helps to think of it in the same terms as “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon”. Because of the movies that Bacon has been in he has made connections with a huge array of stars. So many that the game challenges you to find the link between Bacon and any random actor/actress you can think of. This will, according to the game, likely happen in less than 6 degrees of separation. Exponential reach is eerily similar.

Your network can grow so rapidly all through connections on social media. If Facebook and sites of the like didn’t exist you would be limited to the number of hands you had to physically shake. Online it’s as simple as clicking the “like” and “share” button. While an additional 100 viewers might not seems worth your time remember that as a business you are working with a much larger pool of people and their network will likely be larger. Through your connections you can open the door to a much larger network of potential customers.



Photo Credit: Matt LeClair

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