Exploring The Power Of Intelligent Networks
Networks are the backbone of interaction between humans. Professional networks exist at work, while social networks are built of friends and others that we feel a personal connection with. In the marketing world, creating and curating an intelligent network is one of the most important elements of successfully promoting your brand to prospective customers. To better understand how to establish and maintain a network that benefits your business, you need to first understand what this type of network consists of.
Intelligent Networks: Built From Mutual Need, For Mutual Benefit
Technology writer Gideon Rosenblatt uses the example of an ant colony finding food to explain how people build networks on social media web sites. When an ant finds food, it excretes a chemical pheromone trail that lets other ants in the colony know where the food is. Because the pheromone fades over time, the strongest trail will be the one that represents the shortest distance to the food. The thrust of Gideon’s article is that humans curate their networks in a similar way, except we use Facebook likes and Google pluses to establish networks of people that create or share content that we find valuable.
To further expand on Gideon’s point, we can analyze the specific relationships between people in a network through a marketing lens. A company or marketer might share information, tips, or news about their industry that helps their fans or followers. In turn, the fans or followers share this content with people in their network, which gives the commercial organization more exposure. Like ants searching for food that work together to bring it back to the colony, everyone in the network benefits.
Although we can come to the conclusion that intelligent networks consist of a group of individuals or organizations that provide a mutual benefit for each other, the question remains for marketers: how do we go about creating such a network to build our brand?
It Begins With Content
The difference between ants searching for food and businesses searching for customers is that businesses have much more control over the content they put out and how they target it to prospects. Companies can start out building their network by sharing content that is both engaging and motivating.
- Engaging content is what makes a person think about an idea or topic in a different way and ask questions about these same topics. Nearly half of all marketers say that producing engaging content is a challenge for their marketing strategy.
- Motivating content is what drives people in your network to take action. The best content makes people want to do something: tell a friend about what they read, share the story online, etc. The key question to consider is how you can create content that has a message urgent enough for people to want to communicate it with those in their own network
Even if you are already creating engaging content that starts a new conversation with your audience, this alone is not enough for a thriving network. After all, a true network has multi-directional communication, not just one party sending messages to everyone else. Offer feedback to fans and followers and comment on posts that they make related to your industry. Keep the conversation going, and like ants releasing new pheromone trails, the more you invest in your network with valuable content and feedback, the stronger it will become and more benefit it will provide for everyone in it.
In the age of digital marketing, networks have become more important than ever before. Through a combination of effective content and sufficient interaction with the most important parts of your network, you can use the concept of an intelligent network to enhance your marketing capabilities.
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