Why Social Sharing Is Essential
Social sharing – the viral spread of content via social networks – is not optional if you are seriously trying to share your content. It is imperative.
For your content to effectively extend beyond your personal network, you need endorsements from others. Those endorsements are the essence of social sharing.
The Enhanced Ability to Share:
The simplicity of sharing is one of the greatest advantages of recent technological advances like the Internet. We find appealing content and share it via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and the list continues. The Internet not only makes information more accessible when we search for it, but it also provides the opportunity for content to be delivered to us by others, often unsolicited.
The Filter Effect of the Informational Overload:
We have adapted to the overwhelming amount of content that is presented to us by evolving an informational filter. We cannot possibly listen to everyone, so we use our filter to determine what is worthy of our attention.
What gets through and what gets thrown out depends on our individual values, but we all have a filter.
An example of this filter: I use Google to conduct searches every day. Both paid and organic search results pop up for every search. They appear on the same page, but what do I actually see? Subconsciously I filter out everything except for the organic search results – I pay no attention to the paid search results. I perceive paid search results to be the result of someone trying too hard to sell me something.
This is simply the way I’ve become accustomed to seeing things, and this filter usage is repeated thousands of times per day as I effortlessly ignore advertisements and anything that bears the scent of an organization throwing itself at me.
The Reason for Content:
People buy because of perceived pain; if you offer a cure for their pain, you can make money. For you to make money, people need to know about your solution. So despite the filter, everyone still wants to get their content out there – hence the immense quantity and variety of content. Budweiser still wants you to watch their commercials, Amazon.com still wants to get you browsing their site, and I want you to read my blog posts. Your attention is in high demand!
The Importance of Social Sharing:
With all these sources vying for your attention, how will you choose to allocate your limited time and attention?
If you are like me, you will listen to those sources that you trust.
I tend to trust people and organizations based on an established relationship. On the Internet, when I receive a link to a YouTube video from a trusted friend via Facebook, or a recommended article via Twitter, I tend to give much more of my attention to that content than I would if it were not endorsed by a trustworthy friend. This phenomena highlights the value associated with social sharing.
Essentially the battle for attention becomes a competition for trust and relationship.
What This Means to You:
As a consumer, you will be inundated with content offers. Businesses, organizations, and individuals will woo you in pursuit of your attention and affection. Because of the sheer quantity, you will be forced to make an infinite number of decisions to either accept or reject content. More often than not, you will choose to accept or reject content based on your relationship with the recommending source.
As a content producer, you will be another voice vying for attention. It all comes back to relationship. When you truly understand your target audience (which is the result of established relationships), you can craft content which is both pertinent and appealing. If your message resonates strongly with your target market, they will share your content. So the relational sharing occurs subsequent to producing excellent content.
One point to keep in mind, however, is that successful relationships are built on trust. If you or your organization act as a chameleon, changing your identity, mission, and content simply to become more relevant or appealing, you will not be able to maintain successful relationships.
A Quick Recap:
Social sharing – I sometimes refer to it as “relational sharing” – is the key to fully leveraging the available technology. If you are a trustworthy content producer, consistently creating value by offering excellent content, and can leverage relationships to share your content, you will succeed.
Simple enough, but there isn’t a lot of it going on…and that is your opportunity!