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Let’s Connect! Creating a Social Epidemic

November 24, 2010

By day I am a vice president at a bank with four staff members, by night I am an author and speaker working on my own. It can be tough being a solopreneur!

One of the thing I’ve learned is that associating with the right people is a key to success. Let’s face it, we as individuals only know so many people and only have so many talents. If we associate ourselves with the right “whos,” we can achieve much more than we ever could trying to take on everything ourselves.

The book The Tipping Pointby Malcolm Gladwell talks about how social epedemics are created. Here’s one thing I know as someone who has been in marketing for 25 years, the old ways of marketing don’t work like they used to. In the good old days, mass market advertising was king and TV reigned over all other forms of media advertising. Today, this approach is less effective because there are so many media choices and so many ways people are bombarded with messages. As a result, people have tuned out.

If you want to create a social epidemic today, you must master word-of-mouth–or friends telling friends about you. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have become the new influencers.

The chapter in The Tipping Point that I found most interesting discussed how three specific types of people can instigate a social epidemic: connectors, mavens and salesmen. Today, I’ll focus on connectors.

Connectors are the type of people who know everyone. These are people who are adept at making friends and acquaintances and have them everywhere. They know people in so many walks of life that when they have a message to share, it can go far and wide. They have the connections to start social epidemics. Think of them as social glue.

So how can connectors help you? I’ll give you an example from my own personal experience. My book Cycling, Wine, and Men: A Midlife Tour de France will be released in February 2011. But in October, I received advance copies of my book. My publisher said I could sell them at a book preview event if I wanted. My goals were to have good attendance at the event without spending much money. It was my great fortune that I encountered a connector, Kim, to help me achieve these goals. 

Kim works at a local museum and we agreed to do the event on Oct. 1 for a nominal fee. I didn’t realize that in addition to a venue, I had found my one-stop publicity machine. Kim knew every media person in town and easily got my event promoted on radio stations, television stations and in the newspaper. It would have taken me days or weeks to make these kinds of connections; she booked interviews easily by picking up the phone. The result: I had great media exposure, a winery gave out free samples, and more than 150 people attend my book preview–all thanks to Kim, a connector extraordinaire.

Another woman I know, Robin, has a Facebook fan page with more than 10,000 followers (Awesome Women Hub) and another with nearly 5000 followers (Robin Rice’s Be Who You Are). Her followers are female which is my target audience. I wanted to learn from her how she’s developed these connections and so I signed up for some training from her. Last week she mentioned me on one of her Be Who You Are fan page, and I was blown away that from that mention. I had more than a dozen people want to friend me on Facebook. Kim and Robin are definitely connectors.

If you are trying to jump start your book–or your business–you must find some connectors who can help you! Think of the people you know. Who can assist you in getting the word out? What about people you don’t know? Who are the ones who seem to know everyone and people love to follow? These connectors can help you meet people effortlessly and help light the fires for a social epidemic.

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