I’ve been reading a lot over the past few weeks on the explosion of social networks. It’s hard to read marketing blogs and not read about Twitter or Facebook, and how they relate to Pownce and LinkedIn and all the other options. Oddly, I don’t find myself at all confused. I’m on LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter and Pownce (and more). There’s crossover among the people, but from my perspective I know intuitively what (and who) goes on Facebook and what (and who) goes on LinkedIn.
Why? I have circles – more than one. People who find me to be a worthwhile business contact gather around me in that context and form my community of business associates. People who find me interesting as a friend gather around me and form my social community (as is social life). Some people are in both. There are more circles than that, some very closely related, some not, some entirely within others (my friends from school is a subset of all my friends). If I tried to draw it, it might look something like an unbalanced spirograph.
Marketing perspective 1: Your market looks just like this. Your customers, your prospective customers, people who might one day be customers all create the community which gathers around you (because they find what you are saying and the experience you offer interesting – but that’s a whole conversation in itself – look for more posts soon). But they have different reasons. Some like the lifestyle implications of being your customer, some like the way you care for them (I hope), and there are so many more. Knowing what these are, and what they can become means you can understand the kinds of experiences you must offer to engage the various communities.
Marketing perspective 2: In each of these circles – the communities in which you survive as a producer of experiences (note: not “business,” not “goods and services”) some of the community members are very close to you (maybe your most loyal customers) and some are on the edge, maybe moving in and out of your community as it suits them. Knowing who is where and why is critical to knowing your market, and being able to engage them in conversation and deliver a relevant engaging experience.
Reading the unbalanced spirograph that is your community, knowing its shape, knowing its distribution means being able to serve it well.
Knowing how it might change means being able to change with it.
Being able to create new circles (where neither you nor your competitors are delivering relevant experiences today) means being able to create disruption.
What does your spirograph look like?