Target the Influentials or Many Small Groups?

When we do viral marketing, who should we target? A few celebrities, or many small seeds?

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Let’s take a look at both of them.

When we target the influentials, it is based on the assumption that many people will listen to them, as they have massive amounts of audiences already. Hence our products’ awareness and publicity could be enhanced by big chances. But this approach will be expensive, without any doubt. And will it be definitely effective? Uncertain.

When we target many small seeds in different groups, we could potentially expand products’ popularity to groups of people, as we are usually influenced by people up to three degrees away, although this might create repetitive circles of individuals that we know. Besides, the impact of homophily might help us under this circumstance. Homophily is the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with others that have similarities. Small seeds work this way as not all of us want to share similar lifestyles with certain celebrities; what we are doing instead is that we want to be with our friends, and sometimes be like them. This kind of connections is the strong tie, under which we are more likely to be influenced.

So which one is better? It’s too soon to tell, especially when this is just a small part of the features that product designers have to consider, as the receivers’ characteristics also play significant roles.

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For example, research shows that there might be a relation between an individual’s susceptibility to influence and his/her relationship status. It seems that when people could not decide their relationship status, they are more inclined to be influenced, probably because they have not settled down, and are more open to various options. But again, this is just one possible result.

It really takes different perspectives to create a good product that could possibly go viral. And who knows, sometimes even luck matters.

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One Response to Target the Influentials or Many Small Groups?

  1. sydhavely says:

    Very, very insightful post. Thanks, Angela.

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