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If it’s not Google, Twitter, or Facebook, no one cares

In case you didn’t know it already, I am the managing editor for the Marketing Pilgrim Internet Marketing blog. Every day part of my job is to find stories that would be of interest to Internet marketers of a variety of levels of experience. Most of our readers, however, are quite seasoned in the industry. That’s why what I have noticed lately is so very interesting. Based on the level of tweets and re-tweets, which serve as one gauge of reader interest, there is a very important pattern emerging. That pattern is that real reader interest to push information around the Internet only happens if stories are about the big three: Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

google facebook twitter

Image by smemon87 via Flickr

There is usually a lot happening in many areas of Internet marketing and if you were to listen to people talk about the industry you would think that there are endless high-flying and extremely important players beside the big three. Here is a list of names that should be familiar to most:

  • LinkedIn
  • Foursquare
  • Groupon
  • Living Social
  • Citysearch

You get the point. The list goes on. Drop the names of these companies in the industry and you get by in a face-to-face situation. There is the “Oh sure, location based services and deal sites are the hottest things on the planet! We’re all in, baby!”

Write about developments for these companies, though, and these industry know-it-alls go on radio silence with regard to passing the knowledge around. Post about Google, Twitter, or Facebook, however, and everyone wants to show off their “expertise” to their friends and followers. Why is that so?

I have a theory. It’s because there is so much to know in the Internet space. This fact is accompanied by a silly presupposition that everyone knows everything about everything. In reality, people really only concentrate on knowing the big three because that is enough in 99% of the cases in the marketplace.

I realize this is a bit of a cynical view of experts, gurus, ninjas and the like but guess what: the truth is the truth. I readily admit that I do not know everything about everything in the Internet space. Heck, the big three still baffle me in certain instances. If it were that easy, should it take 40 minutes of a Twitter representative’s time to explain something as aptly named as a “promoted tweet”?

Why do we feel this compulsion to act as if we are on top of everything that happens in an industry that changes daily? An even better question is why are we so anxious to move on to the next shiny object when we don’t even understand the basics very well.

Which brings me back to my original point. I think the reason that people are so ready to pass information around about Google, Facebook, and Twitter is because, deep down inside, they realize that just knowing these three things well enough to apply them properly is more than most people can manage. In addition, for most businesses it is enough for success in the Internet marketing game.

So what about the rest of those nifty cool services that are getting sky-high valuations? Take a look at this chart from a MerchantCircle survey and see what small businesses are saying about what they use and what they intend to use. This even makes the Twitter argument as one of the big three a bit tainted—Facebook and Google are way ahead, with even LinkedIn and others lapping Twitter, at least for small businesses.

SMBs and Internet Marketing Options.jpg

SMBs are representative of what the masses know and deal with. Look at where the cool kids are on the chart below? They are non-issues to most businesses. Will that change? Most definitely but it won’t be as quickly as everyone wants it to be.

Why is that? Because human beings have limits, and today we can reach those limits more quickly than at any time in human history. If there was ever a time to learn to crawl before you walk and then walk before you run, this is it. If you try to run before you really know how, you the results will be less than satisfying. Then, while you are on the sidelines nursing your wounds from going to fast too early, your competition (who is just doing the basics) will stroll right by you and clean your business clock.

So my recommendation? Stop acting like you know everything and learn the basics. It applies in every other aspect of life so why should the Internet space be any different?

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