We all share whether it is a tip you pass to a friend via an email or while your out on a bike ride with a friend. This is sharing one to one and it lies at the heart of who and what we are as socialized humans.
Advertising agencies have understood the power of sharing and even invented acronyms to describe it such as WOM (Word of Mouth). The power of word of mouth has been embedded in the agencies lexicon for decades and it is a tactic that drives many mass media marketing campaigns.
The creation and evolution of the social web is a marketers dream because it is “sharing at scale”. If you are on Facebook and you share 500 friends may see it. If you share on Twitter to your 1,000 followers then it is a one to many that can scale. It doesn’t stop there because the possibility exists for them to share with their followers.
This is sharing at an “industrial scale”
What is Sharing About?
A study just released by ShareThis in collaboration with Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) looked at the sharing and clicking habits of more than 300 million people during the month of March who pass links with a ‘ShareThis‘ button on over 100 million websites.
The four highlights from the study were:
1. Sharing is Bigger than Fans, Friends and Followers
Sharing generates almost half of the traffic for websites and brands that is created by search. 10% of website visits comes from sharing. 31% of referral traffic is generated by sharing.
2. Sharing is about Scale not Virality
Shared links are, on average, across all sharing channels, clicked on 4.9 times each, so content shared by large groups of people reach a wider audience than content passed along from others.
3. Everyone who Shares is an Influencer
If the subject is important to him or her. Instead of one person being universally influential on a wide range of topics, the study found that many people are influential on only one or two topics.
4. Sharing is about Moments of of Opportunity and Relevance
The study proves that sharing is a viable marketing solution for reaching audiences when they are most receptive to a particular category of advertising.
Does Facebook or Twitter Win on Clicks?
If you just look at the number of clicks then Twitter is the the social media channel that produces the most clicks with an average of 4.8 clicks per link. Though the study does show that Facebook is gaining share.
But sharing isn’t as viral as most people might think. Links are much less likely to be clicked beyond the initial set of people they are shared with. In other words, if you share a link directly with me and I know you, I will probably click on it. But if I then pass that link along to people once or twice removed from you, the chances they will click on the link falls dramatically.
What I think this highlights is that the further removed it becomes from the initial source of sharing then the less relevant the information becomes to the reader.
When it comes to Sharing Facebook Rules
Facebook accounts for 38 percent of all sharing referral traffic. Email and Twitter tied for second with 17 percent each. Those are the percentages that actually clicked through. The raw sharing numbers are higher. Facebook makes up 56 percent of all shared content (up from 45 percent in August, 2010), followed by email at 15 percent (down from 34 percent) and Twitter at 8 percent (down from 12 percent). The difference between these two sets of numbers is that some content is shared that is never clicked on, thus the raw numbers are higher.
Do People Share a Wide Range of Categories?
This finding from the study surprised me with the revelation that 80% of people only share one type of category over a one month period whether that be business, politics or entertainment.
What this highlights is that developing a tightly targeted audience who are interested in your category is vital if you want your content to be shared.
Building up your Facebook Fans and Twitter followers that are closely aligned and interested in your core content will produce the greatest level of sharing.
What the study highlights for me is that Facebook is certainly the 800 pound social media gorilla for marketers that cannot be ignored but Twitter and Email should certainly be in your toolkit.
The other thing that I certainly notice is that there are still a lot of blogs and websites that do not have sharing buttons and as a minimum you should have a Facebook Share button and a Twitter retweet button otherwise you are missing out on a lot of ‘sharing love’.
So if you haven’t included Facebook or Twitter in your marketing yet you are missing out on a lot of sharing of your content and ideas.
Image by simiezzz