After all those years of being in the social web and working with many others on a quest to find the key success factors that are universally applicable and most importantly measurable we ended up focusing on three factors or drivers for the digital world: Network, Contribution, Participation.
*Network* - leading to Influence
Almost equal to the physical world is the network and its size a key driver for influence. If you have a large reciprocal network you can ask other people to help you and they most likely will. If I ask people to help me, I may find 1,000 helper of my 1st and second degree network of roughly a million people. Somebody else my only get a few hundred or less. I’m part of Barack Obama’s team and when he asked us to help he got actually millions of active supporter – even though he doesn’t know me at all. Network is a key driver for success. The bigger your network, the higher the reach and the more influence you have to get things done. Obviously the raw reach (just number of followers doesn’t do *anything* for you.
The key parameter in measuring the network or influence is reach
The larger your network the higher the reach and the higher maybe your influence. I say maybe because there are two more very important factors. If you can reach a large group of people and be rather influential you can get things done – personally or business wise. And if we are talking sales or marketing then we are literally “right on the money”. The network size is the base for your asset development.
*Contribution* - leading to Authority
Now – if you don’t contribute to your network your network doesn’t do anything for you. It is like keeping your apples in the tree after they are ripe – they fall down and rotten. Contributing to your network is a key. That maybe by posting interesting ideas, funny stories, whatever maybe of value to your network. This maybe sharing content from others, uploading or re-sharing videos, pictures, music – whatever. Contribution maybe as easy as finding interesting things and sharing them or authority building by posting valuable content that others find important and can even contribute, discuss, augment and so forth. In any case also contribution as such is no guarantee for success. There are people contributing thousands of spam posts per day, nobody is reading – that kind of contribution is of no value and does not get you anywhere. But quality is in the eye of the beholder so quality can’t be the measure for contribution.
The key parameter in measuring contribution is simply volume (wait before you argue;)
The higher the volume into a network that is the larger the better the more authority you can develop. If you share lots of highly valuable content into a huge network, you rise in influence and authority and you will surely be able to do a lot in the social web. Not only on the sales and marketing side but also in support, product management and many other areas. And also here is an interesting connection between contribution and capabilities.
*Participation* - leading to Reputation
Of course, the sheer network size and unqualified content contribution won’t get you very successful. And since we are all different – people and brands – we have the hardest time to determine what is really quality to us and our ecosystem and what is a good and manageable network size. Theoretically we hit a wall – if we wouldn’t exist in this new and wonderful living organism of symbiosis and feedback. If people participate in what we are doing we are simply on the right track. And if those people happen to be the friends we want or our target audience – we are in a perfect situation. We continue to increase the volume of contribution if we can and we continue to grow our network. If the network declines we immediately know that the quality of the contribution is no good or the frequency of interaction is so low that people drop us – brand or individual.
The key parameter in measuring participation is simply volume of views, likes, comments, re-tweets…
The more people like our stuff the better it is. And now the important plausibility test:
If my network is small and my contribution is even perfect – the participation volume is still small. In other words I can create the smartest thing on the planet, if nobody knows about it it has no real value to our society.
If I have 250,000 follower on twitter and no re-tweets and no mentions, my network is of no value at all. Even worst – if I now start to create valuable content, my network most likely muted me and I can do whatever I want – it remains to be useless.
Only if I have a large network and quality contribution relative to my network I can call it success because the participation in my activities would be high – no matter what the quality of that participation is.
Your own social presence strategy
You can use the NCP Model for your own social presence strategy.
- Look at your network and ensure it is growing with relevant people. Some may not necessarily be immediate relevant connections but have important connections so that their networks maybe important to you.
- Contribute daily. This maybe by sharing interesting content such as blog posts, images, videos etc. It maybe re-sharing interesting content from others. Or it maybe by commenting and engaging on content from your network.
- Watch the participation in your activities. Make sure your content is interesting enough to get re-tweets, shares, likes, comments as an indicator for the value you contribute.
Following these three rather simple steps you will realize it does not matter if this is your personal network or a business network, it does not matter if it is highly sophisticated content or very trivial chats. The only thing that matters is that it is in synch with your purpose and its objectives.