It’s All About Your Network – Part 1: Size

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It’s not just the size of your network, it’s how you use it. For example, here are some pros and cons for different type of network sizes.

Large Networks:

Think of MySpace accounts with hundreds or thousands of friends. This is true for Facebook, Twitter and most of the other social networks. Some people think that it’s good to have the biggest number of friends, but there are cons as well as pros to this approach:

Pros: You can reach a LARGE amount of people quickly and easily. If you have a generic message or site you want to get out in front of the people, having a large MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter following can make it easy to get your information in front of a lot of eyeballs.
Cons: While you can reach a lot of people, they’re usually not very targeted. So, while you send out thousands or tens of thousands (or more) messages or bulletins, you might not get the types of return you think you might get.

Medium Networks:

This is a smaller network of people, with 500 to 1000 friends or followers. This isn’t really considered a big network, but it isn’t small either. There are a few benefits to this size of network, but there are cons as well.

Pros: With a medium sized network, you’re still talking about a good number of people. This may be the “best of both worlds” solution somewhere in between a large and small network online.
Cons: While this size of network might be more targeted, chances are there are still some ‘dead weight’ accounts or accounts that don’t fit a target profile in the mix. This can mean less of a conversion for offers or links you throw out to the group.

Small Networks:

These may be small – as few as a dozen people – but it’s highly targeted. As such, you may get one guaranteed on target sale for each newsletter or message you send out. As you may have guessed, there are pros and cons to this size of social network as well.

Pros: By being laser focused for a particular niche or group of people, there is usually a high conversion rate for communications sent out to this type of network.
Cons: Obviously, the size of this network is small, which means it hasn’t scaled well. This doesn’t mean it can’t scale well, but if you throw effort at it and it doesn’t grow, you might be happy with the higher conversion on smaller numbers. There may be only so many people interested in 1954-1959 Ford Trucks, but they’re likely to be really interested in related material if you can gather them together in a social network.

As you can see, building up networks of all sizes can be useful for marketing on the Internet. Since all have pros and cons, it’s best to use all different types for various uses that utilize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. These seems like common sense, but too many times people assume that bigger is always better – and that’s just not the case.

Stay tuned for Part II – Types of Social Networks

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