Sharing. Sharing is the number one most important aspect of social media. Why? Sharing supercedes ad budgets, algorithms, and anything the average social media manager is complaining about.

Sharing is the reason that Apple doesn’t need a social media ninja-rockstar-pirate. Social media is a utility that connects the web. Great content that is sharable will be shared.

Hypothetical

Let’s pretend that Apple scores a perfect 100 out of 100 on our Share-Scale. For every point a brand is short of 100, they have to pay a unit of ad spend. Your company is 90 out of 100 on our Share-Scale? You’re going to need to fork out 10 units of ad spend to match Apple. Your company struggles incredibly and only scores a 5 out of 100? You’re going to need drop 95 units of ad spend.

This is our paradigm. The reality is that the success of so many brands on social is now forcing this to become an ever increasingly reality for all brands — big or small.

Let’s get back to the concept of Sharing. Many social media managers will debate on what metrics to measure. The always correct answer is “something that aligns with your business goals”. However, social media people tend to shift away from this thinking fairly quickly. They fall into the trap of looking at Engagement, Reach, or even worse, Fans. Engagement, and Reach – Fans will fluctuate over time, especially against different social networks. Generating Shares builds a long-term community that allows for a strong foundation.

Human Behavior

Humans will Share content and messages in ways that they feel will encourage their intended audience to read them. Humans show little loyalty to this messaging process; the decision appears to be rooted in “what works best, right now”. The concept of Sharing (in re: to social media) is for one human to pass along a particular message to other human(s). The social network or even communication platform is simply a utility to the human.

When analyzing teens, you’ll find that they’ll even sacrifice inherent use to hack out a solution. For example, many teens “text” via SnapChat by taking a blank or quick photo with their message in the caption area for the photo. This workaround was clearly not designed by SnapChat to be used in this way, but the users see SnapChat as a utility that provides them with a quick and temporary form of messaging their friends, who they know are checking SnapChat.

What does this mean?

Humans will use whatever tool gets the job done. When they are approached with a object that they desire to Share, they will use whatever platform suits them best. They might even use SnapChat to discuss your brand, which is a type of Sharing. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a direct metric to measure back to this interaction, but there is clearly value in this interaction. Creating moments in time that humans desire to Share, will always “win” on social. This is ultimately a bottom-up approach that enables brands to stay on top of the ebb and flow of social media.

Thinking about Sharing begins to transcend the nuances of social networks, as brands begin to analyze and understand the essence of engagement.

How does this help my brand?

The key is to understand what types of content accomplish different types of goals. Some content may drive Engagement, which Facebook may reward with additional Reach. Other pieces of content may drive direct business goals. Some content is simply more Shareable than others. It’s imperative to understand which types of content drive our business goals and which also drive our Shareability. By focusing in on Shareability, we can invest in social over the long haul — independent of significant change on the platform.

Ask yourself: what gets my audience Sharing what my brand is up to?

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Chad Wittman
- Chad Wittman is the Founder of EdgeRank Checker. His insights and research have been mentioned by TechCrunch, Mashable, Inc, Entrepreneur, and many more. Chad has been on panels with the most innovative companies in social, such as Buddy Media and Wildfire.