The value in being top of mind

October 20, 2011

Public relations, Social media


Is one of your clients' goals to be top of mind? If not, they're missing the boat. (Image credit:


Pop quiz! Don’t worry, you won’t be graded. A friend just moved to town and asks you to recommend a dentist for his family. Or an industry peer tells you her company is hiring and wants to know if you have anyone in mind who would be a good fit.

You, of course, want to help. Now, walk me through how you respond to both of these questions. What steps do you take in each of the scenarios? Let’s play them both out.

Dentist recommendation

The most likely scenario here is that your family already goes to a dentist that you really like, right? If so, that’s an easy recommendation. But what if you don’t see a dentist regularly? My apologies to your teeth and gums. Or you are in between dentists? Walk me through how you go about making a recommendation in that case.

In my experience, this is when you start doing what I call “searching.” No one immediately comes to mind, but you really want to help your friend out. And you feel like you should be able to. You live in this city.  Most people have a dentist they prefer. You should too. So you search for a recommendation you feel good about making, even if it’s someone with whom you don’t have significant personal experience.

How does this play out? Well, the way our minds work, you’re likely to remember something you saw recently or someone you met recently first. And you’re likely to trust a recommendation someone else gave you, even if it was implicit. So you probably end up pointing your friend in one of these directions:

  • The spouse of a friend
  • Someone you recently met who works in the field
  • An ad endorsed by someone you trust (e.g. a Facebook ad featuring brand your friend likes or a radio ad featuring a brand endorsed by the host you’ve listened to for years)

Who should I hire?

This scenario won’t play out a whole lot different than the first one. If you’re looking for a job or just talked to a friend in the industry who is, you will likely refer that person first. But if you and your friends aren’t currently looking, it’s back to “searching” mode.

You want to help and make a good recommendation. Your peer asked you because she expected you would know the best candidates. Disappointing her isn’t an option. So you likely point her in one of these directions:

  • A friend you met at industry events who you respect, even if you don’t know whether or not that person is actually looking for a new opportunity
  • A peer you’ve heard good things about from other friends
  • Someone you see is active in sharing thought leadership content about the industry online and offline

So what’s the moral of this story besides the fact that I’m going to come to all of you for dentist and hiring recommendations? Well, how about that you and your company need to be taking advantage of this “searching” idea to make sure you’re top of mind with people when others come to them for a recommendation. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Attend industry events…even if you don’t have time. You want to know why the same people get recommended so often in different industries? Because they spend more time networking than other people do.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and reading blogs. Not 30 minutes on each, although it wouldn’t hurt. But 30 minutes total at least. Talking to people about your work or your favorite TV show on Facebook and Twitter is not a waste of time. I am SO SICK of hearing that. It’s a way to stay top of mind.
  • Seek out opportunities to show what you know. Don’t be overtly self promoting and annoying. But do feel free to show how smart you are and what you know in certain subject matter areas.

How else do you try and stay top of mind? Have you ever found yourself “searching?” What was the end result?

Related posts:

, , , , ,
Post comment as twitter logo facebook logo
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Larissa 27 pts

JGoldsborough , great post! You know something, I think that's the basis of social media. Information is no longer being searched but rather introduced to us in many types of recommendations!

My latest conversation: 7 Tips on How to Bikini Wax at Home

JGoldsborough 232 pts moderator

Larissa And we have the opportunity to influence those recommendations. Agree.

My latest conversation: Technology has made us lazy: Debunking 5 social media myths

Conversation from Twitter


jgoldsborough The latter. I don't have time to waste anyway!


SJOgborn Right. I am always surprised when I still hear people call it "wasting time on FB." Hmm, I thought that was called networking.


jgoldsborough Twitter and FB are great news/ticker sources w/ pertinent info. Especially during biz hours #pr20chat