When Sarah Lacy interviewed Mark Zuckerberg on-stage at South by Southwest Interactive this past March, rumblings spread throughout the audience regarding Lacy’s interview style. A few in the audience extended the rumblings online via Twitter – and from there, Twitter’s network effect quickly spread the commentary across the globe. The power of Twitter (and related social networks) can be a real boon to B-to-B events, precisely because of the network effect:
So let’s imagine I’m logged in to a Live Virtual Tradeshow (VTS). I’m visiting exhibitor booths, viewing Live Webcasts and interacting with peers. All in all, I’m enjoying myself. I want to spread the word to friends and colleagues. One quick (and efficient) way to do that is to post a message to Twitter.
I can “tweet” about the Virtual Tradeshow and pass along a URL to my 141 followers. If any of those followers likes the recommendation, they can “retweet” my message to their followers. If 5 of my followers spread the word and they each have an average of 100 followers, then my message had a potential audience of 141 + (5 * 100) = 641. And that doesn’t even count any downstream distribution via my followers’ followers. If my tweet happens to be picked up by a Twitter power user, my message could be seen by her 10,000 followers!
You can see how quickly and efficiently information is published. And that’s the beauty of the network effect. As I amass more followers – and, as more users sign up with Twitter – the potential audience of my “tweets” grows exponentially. The result is a powerful tool for B-to-B marketers and publishers, if used right. Publishers need to grow their audience in order to grow their revenue – new audience results in more page views, more ad impressions delivered, more online sales leads. Where can you find that audience? On social networks like Twitter.
VTS platform providers may want to consider:
- A “post to Twitter” utility within the VTS – make it convenient for VTS attendees to post a message to Twitter, including an auto-shortened URL (so their followers can access the event)
- A “Twitter reflector” that takes selected chat messages from the VTS and posts them to Twitter. Imagine a user engaged in a “group chat” area who wants to share her insight simultaneously to the VTS attendees and her Twitter followers. Allow her an easy way to do that. Again, include a shortened URL that points back to the event
Of course, Twitter is not the only social network out there (I haven’t even mentioned Facebook and its 130MM users). So while I’ve outlined a few ideas that are specific to Twitter, the bigger picture concept is about integrating the VTS platform with an assortment of networks. The trick will be to pick the right ones.
You can follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/dshiao