Where Should Businesses Get Their Content Shared?
What purpose do social networks serve? Many people would say it’s a variety of tasks but the primary would be to propagate information. Information about people, happenings, events, businesses. When social networks started out, they were just places for people to hang out, interact with friends and people they knew, update their status and things they were doing. Basically, in its mature form, it was intended to be a social hangout place where one could learn what his or her friends are doing (disregarding the fact that networks like Facebook started as a dating site).
Networks like Facebook grew in size and got hundreds of thousands of people registering. Social networks were also in one form, the quintessential internet layer businesses where services are translated from the physical world to the Web allowing people to perform daily chores from the comfort of their homes. Socializing is a real world phenomenon but networks like Facebook successfully transported that function to the Web. Essentially social networks got a huge number of people online at the same time at the same place. When that happens, it is a huge breeding ground for advertising. Social networks not just turned socializing into an electronically performed real activity but brought many other functions along with it because of the people power. Like Digital Marketing and Advertising.
Evolution happens everyday and the protocol of doing a particular thing today may not be valid on the same day next year. Starting with simple conventional advertising online, digital marketing involved getting people to share things about a business organically to make it appear as if the person has shared it himself or herself without any advertising motive. That is one of the primary objectives of businesses: to propagate themselves as much as possible and organically. This leads to the discussion about social sharing because propagation depends on people socially sharing the content.
The motive is clear: Businesses have to get people to organically share the content they created. But on which network? And what are the dynamics of sharing? The questions have come a little indolently but the answers will be swift.
Which are the biggest social networks?
No points for guessing this one. Facebook has the largest active audience with 1.65 billion monthly active users as of March 2016 which beats all other social networks. Twitter has 310 million monthly active users which is about a fifth of what Facebook has. That itself should speak volumes about the reach that Facebook has and the kind of advertising and marketing business it can generate for itself. LinkedIn has 400 million users but only 25% of them are monthly active users. Google+ doesn’t reveal figures but it is expected that its numbers are not really something to boast of. This should actually also give a peek into what the sharing numbers would be because common logic suggests the heaviest advertising and marketing should happen at the networks with the biggest audience.
How is sharing exactly linked to advertising and marketing?
Like pointed out earlier, digital marketing is about propagating knowledge about a business organically so it doesn’t appear like marketing. It could be called disguised marketing. Word of mouth is one form such a marketing technique where information is spread about a business or a company by themselves. Of course it is mostly offline but the same technique can be translated to digital as well. But it’s not just that. Marketing through social sharing brings engagement and brand loyalty which is so very important in this age.
Where should you get your content shared by consumers?
Now, this is the question we are trying to answer in this post because it actually helps decide strategy for each of the social networks. Some may say the best answer is to get content shared across all the available social networks translated to the biggest audience as a result of the juxtaposition of audiences on all networks. But is that the right way? It’s an all guns blazing approach but that doesn’t really work in marketing. What businesses need is optimization and targeting. According to a report by Customer Identity Management platform LoginRadius titled Customer Identity Preference Trends, 52% of all social content was shared on Facebook. That’s a little more than half of all the social content which should tell you that Facebook is priority number one. But then again, that was a bit of a no brainer considering the audience that Facebook holds. Twitter doesn’t have a very large audience by Facebook’s standards considering that the micro-blogging site is just about a fifth of Facebook in terms of active population. But even then, Twitter hosts about 16% of all social content. That is roughly about a third of the hosting that Facebook does with just a fifth of the total active population leading to the inference that sharing per person is much higher on Twitter than Facebook.
What about Google+?
This is a regular question across any discussion on social networks. Is Google+ worthy of being called a social network? Should Google+ be a part of the social media marketing strategy? Well, the numbers aren’t clear. Gmail is big and about 2.5 billion accounts exist though only about a billion are used regularly. Because Google has turned Gmail accounts to Google accounts and expanded their use across all of its services including Google+, the latter has lots of pseudo registered users but hardly any active ones. It is estimated that only 4 to 6 million people post regularly on Google+ which is nothing at all. But these numbers are not concrete. Research by LoginRadius though suggests that Google+ hosts 9% of all social content which is a big quantum going by the suggested active users. But then it’s really a choice. Google is a force and Gmail accounts are extensively used for Social Login, also covered in the LoginRadius Customer Identity Preference Trends report, people do click the Google+ share button but whether it has any value is questionable.
Are there any dark horses in the social race?
Yes. We missed LinkedIn but it wouldn’t make a difference because the professional networking site hosts just 4% of all social content. And almost all of it is related to professional stuff which means whether you choose LinkedIn or not should depend on your business profile, if you are B2B company or if you content you want shared is professional. But the real dark horse is email. Yes, it’s not a social network but, according to the LoginRadius Customer Identity Preference Trends report, emails are used to share about 12% of all content, which is higher than Google+ and a bit short of Twitter, making it a choice that can’t be ignored. On social networks, you can be missed but email delivers you to inboxes and that’s a good advantage. But then again, email usage depends on what you want shared. The best strategy would be to intermix email with social networks.