Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin can transform your business model

When developing a business model, we often overlook implementing marketing tools to spread our concepts virally. Unleashing the Ideavirus, a book that I think requires a sequel, transformed the view I have of my current business model.

While there many concepts covered in the book, for the purpose of this post, only 3 significant highlights will suffice.

Loosely referencing The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell on how some ideas turn into social epidemics and others don’t. Seth takes us through the process of how companies such as Hotmail and Vindigo spread as viruses and the Toyota Prius, while an award winning vehicle, didn’t.

The second mind altering concept, though disputing all known marketing ethic, is focusing on a smaller target audience (called ‘a hive’) instead of setting out for large numbers. This makes sense if you view your client base as a community that can reach friends and recommend your product or service better than adverts and large marketing budgets ever can.

The steps below, a very short summary, are how you develop an Ideavirus.

Step By Step, Ideavirus tactics (summarized from the book)

  • Make it virusworthy – If it’s not worth talking about, no one will talk it.
  • Identify the hive.

You won’t get the full benefit of the ideavirus until you dominate your hive.

  • Expose your idea

Expose it to the right people, get them into the experience as quickly as possible and pay them if necessary. But never charge if possible.

  • Once attention has been volunteered request permission.
  • Amaze your audience.
  • Some viruses don’t forever, embrace the lifecycle of yours.

Any business model that has a viral marketing method built into it has a better chance at longevity, besides why not make it easy for your clients and customers to spread the idea? If there’s one thing I would recommend, it would be read it with an open mind and download the ebook or get the shiny collector’s version here.

10 Reasons 'NOT' to use Social Media

“Social Media is the answer” has become a regular phrase. The popular perception lately is that you should be using Social Media. While I’m all for you exposing yourself using this medium, it doesn’t replace everything else.

Here are my 10 reasons why you should NOT use Social Media

1. Having a large following turns into business leads.

The rise of Social Media disproved a lot of the known laws of traditional marketing and advertising. The concept that you are likely to build a paying customer base if a lot of people are talking about you is not true. However, being part of the conversation works. If you think you will bombard the web with irrelevant and unwanted messaging, this won’t change a thing for you.

2. You will follow a lot of people on Twitter and hope a lot of them are listening.

The web and spammers have taught us that noise does not amount to good content.

3. You want to make small talk in a public domain.

Nothing is more annoying than 2 people using a platform to exchange information that no one else is remotely interested in, this is sufficient grounds to have your bandwidth terminated. Some popular names have started using Social Media sites and talk about parties or who they saw, which has no relevance to the people using the same platform.

4. You take ownership of the site.

The other day, while talking to a friend of mine, I found myself saying certain people should be taught the usage of Social Media. Right then, it became evident that I shouldn’t be the content they send me. We use media for different reasons and if they don’t send or write what’s relevant for me I should reject it.

5. Because of the Digital v/s Print Media debate you think Digital Media has taken over.

Print media might have lost its traction, but the majority of South Africans still read print and it is arguable that the rest of the world has more access to the internet than print. As much as we may think traditional media has lost its significance most people believe and reference newspapers than social media sites. If you think it replaces traditional media, it hasn’t yet.

6. You think it’s easy to convince the CEO of a corporate company that your Facebook group will give them the needed exposure.

Senior managers and CEOs of large conglomerates still believe in traditional business ethic with its known laws and restrictions. Very little can be proven about the people who follow you on Facebook and more so with the tech-savvy individuals. The more technologically inclined know firsthand why you cannot build a campaign using the net exlcusively.

7. You think it replaces having a thoroughly thought out marketing plan.

8. Everyone is using it, where else are people lately?

How about out there doing their own things? An estimated 7 out 10 South Africans (based on whom I’ve spoken to) don’t have a clue what Web 2.0 is.

9. You think everyone is using it, if not you strongly suggest they do.

Not everyone ‘has’ to use social media, especially if the reason is for them to find you.

10. You think it makes you an authority.

If you think because you have a blog, website, Twitter account, 1000 friends on Facebook and a website you are suddenly more interesting and are a reliable source. You are not.

Understanding that social media and the web in general act as a support system to other things you are doing to give value, it does not eliminate connecting with clients and making contact outside this space.

Mongezi Mtati is the founder of an entrepreneurial event, a vodcaster and questions everything. Follow me on Twitter.

How do you manage perceptions?

How often do you consider what perception your client has of you?

When pitching for a new contract, selling ideas to large companies or even applying for work at a company. We tend to overlook what they already think.

In episode 4 of NetwebTV, Richard Mulholland said; “Play by their perception”. If your client thinks you are small and nimble that is what your pitch has to revolve around. Size seems to discourage many entrepreneurs when as a result of it, you should justify why you are quicker or more meticulous than a larger company.

It was not  until recently that I discovered there are perception management companies that specialise in enabling you get yourself out there as best you can. How does the outsider view you?

Not tech savvy . . .

So why don’t you attend the BarCamp in Johannesburg tomorrow? The BarCamp is an unconference  where anyone can raise a relevant topic that you think is worth sharing at the session. Besides, geek has been the new cool for a long time long time now.

Some active  and influential online professionals will be attending, sponsoring and presenting over the 2 days of this prestigious gathering. If you want to find out how the movers of social media locally are doing it, this is one of the places to be.

Some of the proposed sessions that will be covered:

  • Add your session here, it can be as short as 5 minutes
  • Build a quick Twitter mashup using Django & Jquery in 30 mins
  • Guitar Hero multi-playa – just to unwind
  • OSSA – FLOSS Lobby Group
  • JavaFX

Go to the page and proposed your own session, if you have anything to offer. They also welcome sponsorships and other contributions.

Signup here to attend and you’ll be boat-loads more tech-savvy by Monday.

Netweb Event this past Wednesday

The Netweb Event in Johannesburg this past Wednesday was very informative and got us talking till long after we had to leave. I’d like to thank everyone who made it exciting and worth the long chat we had afterward.

I would like to especially thank:

  1. Noto Modungwa of NM Consulting – for delivering a current and relevant talk on knowledge management and how small business can improve the circulation of intellectual property in their companies.
  2. Afromedia who sponsored the website we gave away.
  3. The great guys at Cappello in Ghandi Square.

To all the remarkable people who attended and made it one of our most remarkable Netweb Events yet, you are all rockstars.

Congratulations to Infinity Learning who won our website give away, as one of 4 finalists.

NetwebTV [episode #8] Mentorship for business growth

While technical skill is important to develop a business, it is not the most significant element for survial. In this episode with Dumisani Nkala we uncovered things entrepreneurs are not told. Dumisani is the M.D of Zinandi Telecommunications a company that was bootstrapped from the ground.

She shares her insights with us in this video.

We also have audio version below, feel free to share.

Fast is not quick

When you call a metered taxi to fetch you from a talk, the last thing you expect is to learn a lesson from the driver. The company gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse and a commitment not to pay them if their price went above the quote.

Fast is not quick, quick is not fast

When we drove out of the hotel the driver chose to go through town instead of taking the highway. Thinking this would take longer I asked why he didn’t take the highway, below was his answer:

Fast is not quick and quick is not fast – The closest route between points is a straight a line and that often means going through the stop lights.

When building our marketing and the hype behind our products, we tend to think that the fastest way to get there is getting many people to talk about us. What I have learnt is that recovering quickly from your hurdles grows your community more than having large budget would.

Listen more

He asked me about my visit to the hotel, to which I said I was hosting a business event. Immediately afterward he then asked me what I think of the “Spider Web Doctrine” which made sense as being from Capitalist Nigger.

  1. Get your community talking – We tend to talk more at our possible clients  instead of getting them to engage in conversation about our products and services.
  2. Listen to what they have to say – Once people speak and voice their opinion on something they feel strongly about it lets you know how to intergrate it into product offering.

Respect me

When I got into the car and apologised for keeping him waiting, calmly he said: “No problem”. At first it was normal but after the third time, I looked in his direction and told him to “call me by name instead”.

The community you are building are a group of smart people and if you respect them they’ll spread the spread the word about you.

We tend to focus on numbers instead of the value we give the people in our current community and end up losing them while chasing after the masses. The final price went above the one quoted earlier, which I happily paid. With a tip.

How do you spread your word-of-mouth?