The Most Important Social Network of All

Pull up any marketing article these days and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn get more accolades than you can shake a stick at.  And understandably so.  After all, the growth of these social networks in terms of users, revenue and valuation has been astronomical.  The numbers are staggering.

But a renowned business expert that I follow made me look at this growth a bit differently.  That expert, Chris Brogan, has a vast international audience in areas of marketing, business growth, and entrepreneurship.  He’s in high demand for both speaking and consulting and his bio is more than impressive.  He publishes an online magazine called Owner: The Business Curriculum of Your Future.  So when he speaks, I believe it’s worth a listen.

When he recently sent an edition of his e-mail newsletter describing a marketing scenario of interest, I immediately looked for where he had posted it online.  I wanted to share it on Twitter and just needed the link.  I looked and looked but came up empty-handed.

I then e-mailed him to ask where I could share it.  Surely he had published this newsletter online somewhere.  Shortly thereafter, he sent me a response which, surprisingly, explained to me that he deliberately kept the content off of his website and limited its distribution to e-mail only.  Huh?

He went on to explain that what he was really after was me to forward it to others via e-mail–not via Twitter.  After all, he explained, he wanted me to forward it to handful of people “who mattered” to me.  And he was betting that the people who matter most in our networks are those that we e-mail with frequently.  He went on to say that the “inbox is the most important social network of all.”

Chris Brogan Quote

After thinking more about this, I think he’s absolutely right.  And it’s all the more reason you should be thinking about how E-mail marketing plays into your overall marketing strategy.  I thought this quote was so profound that I decided to include it in Found:  Connecting with Customers in the Digital Age ($16.00/Findsome & Winmore Press).  The quote also gives me pause when all of the media hype about Facebook, Twitter and others creeps into a strategic discussion.

But what is equally important to notice is that content–not an offer or advertisement–is what motivated me to want to share something with others.  Chris wasn’t selling me a product or trying to talk me into doing something for his benefit.  He was providing truly helpful content for my benefit.

So when you are contemplating the next moves in your digital marketing strategy, remember to remember the most important social network of all:  your customer’s inbox.