Beauty & Brains in Branding & Web

Do You Know Me? The Key to Success with Social Media

In discussing factors that contribute to a person’s success, I used to hear a lot of people say, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” For a long time, that was pretty much true. If you knew people in high places, it was more likely that you would succeed. And until recently, it was hard to get to know those high-flyers.

But today, things have changed. Social media puts the power of personal and company promotion in anyone’s hands (or keyboards!). And the costs are reasonable. Nothing close to the traditional advertising costs of years gone by, when building a brand required vast amounts of cash.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are essentially free to use, and they can distribute your information at mach speeds. Of course, you need to manage the content that you post, and you may require professionals to help you do that, but the digital vehicles to distribute that content are virtually free, with no real need to use expensive magazines, newspapers and other traditional medias to build your brand.

So I propose an update to the old expression. I will no longer use, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” The new expression for success in the Internet-age is, “It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you!” And never has it been easier and more cost-effective for people to get to know you!

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About Tom

Tom has over 30 years of experience in branding and Web, and has successfully managed the design and development of projects for Abbott Laboratories, Avon Canada, CTV, IATA, Reader's Digest and Veritiv Canada. After receiving a B.Comm from McGill University, he started his career in the brand management system of a major Canadian consumer packaged goods food company before founding HTC in 1982. He can be reached at tom[at]


  1. Seems like there is a huge war going on for visibility. Which companies have the most likes on Facebook. How many connections people have on LinkedIn. These numbers don’t mean much. You can pay to get likes on Facebook, and just spamming with connection requests might get you a few accepted by people who, like you, want the highest number.

    I completely agree, it does not matter how many people you know, if they don’t know who you are in return, it does not improve your chances of them returning your call when you need a favor.

    • Thanks for your comment LP! The new popularity paradigm is actually no different than in the past. Just new channels. Historically, if you wanted to spread the word about your brand, you bought ads in newspapers, magazines, TV, etc. Today, you distribute your message via the free Internet channels. The big difference is in the quality of the message. When you spend millions to advertise, you make sure your ad is great in many ways. Today, the free distribution channels encourage anyone and everyone to be a promoter, and it’s evident in the quality. So once again, the cream shall rise to the top. It takes great messages to get noticed.

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