You may be familiar with the name Robert Metcalfe. He was a pioneer in creating computer networking technology. He developed a theory regarding the usefulness of networks that became both popular and controversial during the 1990’s and is still debated today.

Metcalfe’s Law claims the potential value of a communications network increases exponentially with its size.

Specifically, it proposes that for a network with ‘n’ endpoints (think of these as devices, or people), the inherent usefulness of this network is on the order of ‘n’ times ‘n’ or n2.

Metcalfe’s Law was intended to be an approximation and a relative measure of value for comparing two networks or the growth of one. For example, under this Law a network with 10 endpoints (value = 10×10=100) is approximately 4 times more useful than a network half the size (5 endpoints with value 5×5=25).

For our purposes, let’s apply Metcalfe’s Law to marketing. If you have only two marketing methods, let’s say it’s email marketing and direct mail; then you have the power of 2X2=4 effectiveness.

But let’s suppose you use two more methods; your website and LinkedIn. Now you have four methods, and according to Metcalfe’s Law, you now have r 4X4=16 effectiveness. This means that you don’t have double the effect, but four times the effect.

If you added four other methods, instead of two, say your website, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, then you would now have six methods, and 6X6=36. Now you would have nine times your original effectiveness not just four times.

Does Metcalfe’s Law really apply to marketing? Probably not as directly as it does to networking. However, there is some correlation to marketing, and especially Social Media marketing.

With Social Media marketing, you can spread your word from platform to platform, with just the click of your mouse. So, this helps you spread your message exponentially, as opposed to linearly. And it once it is set up, much of it becomes automatic.

How many marketing methods are you using to spread the word about your company? And of course with Social Media, you just don’t reach the exact people you message, you have the potential to reach all of the people in their networks also.

As an example I am currently connected to over 9,700 people on LinkedIn. But my network extends to over 19 million people. This is done through the three levels each of these people is connected to.

Does that mean that every time I send a message, all 19 million people see it? Of course not, but it does have the potential for that. Just this week, one connection sent out one of my messages to his connections, and another few thousand more people got to see my message. This happens constantly in Social Media, if you have something worthwhile to say.

If you aren’t using Social Media to its utmost, and posting messages at least once a week, you’re missing out on thousands of potential clients. And the more messages you post, the more your network, and their network, gets to know you and believe you and trust you, because they see you know what you are talking about.

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