Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Davidoff’

The Power of the Red Dot

Recently, I was talking with Jeff Davidoff – the CMO of – about social marketing.  Jeff is a marketing guru of mine and has created some of the best social marketing programs ever invented [check out Agit8 to see his work].  Jeff is a frequent guest of my graduate social marketing classes at Northwestern and I talk with him to keep current on the newest trends in social marketing. 

In a recent conversation, he asked me, “What is it that has made LinkedIn such a powerhouse social networking site?”  Jeff had just talked to Reid Hoffman – the founder of LinkedIn – who told him much of LinkedIn’s success is the Power of the Red Dot.  His story is something every CEO, CMO and marketing manager needs to consider in developing your social strategy.

If you are a member of LinkedIn, you are on the best social networking site.  However, on most days, you are probably not actively on it.  In fact, it is easy to forget you are a LinkedIn member.  So, how does LinkedIn keep you active?  The Power of the Red Dot.  Nearly every day, LinkedIn sends you notifications.  It notifies you if some wants you to join their network.  It notifies you if someone has given you expert recommendations.  It notifies you if a group is posting new topics.  It keeps you in the loop about new things happening on your site.

Red Dot 3


 So what happens when there is a notification?  It generates red dots on your mobile phone and tablets.  The red dots tell you that you have emails and messages which you need to address.  In other words, the red dot PULLS you into the actions LinkedIn needs to keep you active.  Then, when you log into your LinkedIn account, wht happens?  For most, it tells you to update your profile.  Why?  Because LinkedIn gets you to perform the key behaviors – clicking, reviewing, recommending, participating – that it needs for the success of its system.  The Red Dot moves you to actions which are beneficial to you AND to LinkedIn.  Red Dots mean action.  Red Dots tell you there is something you need to see and do.

What does this mean for your company?

While LinkedIn has taken “red dots” to a high level of engagement, the same thing happens when you post something on your social networking site like Facebook.  Your new post generates a “red dot” for each one of the individuals who are following your site.  When they see it on their Facebook icon, they often click on it and, if it is relevant, timely content for them, they appreciate it.  If it is really great, they will tell others and it will go viral.

The key is to understand that social is really a 2-way conversation.  Even though you don’t know your social visitors by name and it is an anonymous relationship, your activities do generate red dots and activity.  The key is to make that content really relevant to your followers.  Not to do so will make them resistant to your “future dots”.

When you consider your social marketing programs, here are three action items to consider:

  1. Social is really a 2-way conversation – Your social program should be considered as a two-way conversation.  When you add content, it prompts your followers [and their friends] to re-engage with your social site through the red dot.  The more relevant content you develop, the better.
  2. Keep active once you start – Your social followers want to engage with you.  Give them new articles, videos, insights, and information they can really use.  Remember, each time you post it, your new content will create new red dots to re-engage them with your organization.  Success is for those who maintain the relationship with new, timely & relevant content!
  3. Keep it Timely and Relevant –Develop a content strategy which really communicates with the people you want to develop in the future!  They are actively looking for experts so give them the insights and information which will improve their professional lives.  Do that and your “Dots” will be relevant to your high value followers.

What Jeff Davidoff and Reid Hoffman taught me is to think of social interaction as a two-way dialog between your company and your prospects.  After these interactions, it is easy for the prospect to quickly forget about you.  It is vital for you to PUSH content to them by either publishing on your social sites or sending them an email.  It produces a Red Dot which moves them to action.  Remember the Power of the Red Dot and use it to the benefit of your organization and your social visitors.  A win-win situation!


Randy HlavacRandy Hlavac is a Professor of Integrated Marketing at Northwestern’s Medill IMC program.  His course on Social and Mobile Marketing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and has produced strong social marketers who now work for business and Not-for-Profit companies throughout the world.  In addition to his teaching at Northwestern, Randy is also the founder of Marketing Synergy Inc – an integrated and social marketing consulting company located in Naperville IL.  Randy works with B2B and B2C companies to help them justify, design, develop and deploy their social & mobile programs linked to the company’s bottom-line.  Randy is also finalizing his new book “Social IMC – Social Marketing with Bottom-line ROI” which will be released early in 2014.  Dialog with Randy on Twitter @randyhlavac or discuss social issues with this hash tag #NUSocialIMC.  Randy can also be reached through Marketing Synergy website.