Social media marketing involves the process of gaining attention for a company through social media. It’s considered successful when a company’s audience feels compelled to share the company’s content or products with their social networks bringing more visibility to the company, be it good or bad.
Why Do We Share?
It’s only natural to want to share with family and friends and let others know about a great product that you find life-changingly useful or that new restaurant serving up delicious authentic Jamaican food.
With the inherent desire to want to share the good news, why is social media marketing still so hard? Social sharing is a way of expressing one’s personality. And people generally tend to only share things to either let others know what’s going on in their lives, if something is newsworthy for a cause they care about, or because they find something highly entertaining or useful (quality content). We’ve all seen some of the Life Hacks by now and the “‘Thriller’ in Manila,” I’m sure.
In a study conducted by Jonah Berger, Assoc. Professor from The Wharton School at UPenn, he tried to explain why information gets transmitted socially concluding that a physiological response can plausibly be the explanation. This basically suggests, for instance, that a news story that causes someone to feel anxiety would be more likely to be shared and spread. Makes sense.
Difficulties of Social Media Marketing
According to a 2013 survey conducted by Ipsos, a marketing research firm, nearly 25% of social media users around the globe share “everything” or “most things” online. These individuals with #NoFilter are almost balanced out by the 19% of social media users who say they don’t share anything online.
Depending on the geographic area and specific market you are targeting, however, this general information can be a little misleading. According to the Washington Post and social@Ogilvy, the oversharers are located in many countries where Internet usage isn’t as ubiquitous as in mature markets such as the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The more mature markets tend to see only 5% to 15% of people sharing “everything” or “most things” online.
A Success Story
The #ShareaCoke campaign is one of the more brilliant social media marketing success stories in recent memory. It’s probably very unlikely that you haven’t seen a friend post a picture on Facebook or Instagram of themselves with a Coca-Cola can with their name on it. The idea of the campaign is to buy a personalized Coke can with your name on it, buy one with a friend’s name on it, and share it with them. Share it on social media too.
Who wouldn’t want to share a photo of the most iconic soda can in history with their name on it? In the age of social media and the selfie, people can’t seem to help but have a little bit of narcissism poke out.
In a study conducted by Rutgers University, 80% of Twitter users were referred to as “Meformers,” people whose overwhelming majority of posts were “me now” tweets, while only the remaining 20% were considered “Informers.” It’s pretty apparent that we like to talk about ourselves… a lot.
According to another study by the Harvard University Department of Psychology, talking about oneself “represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.” This further goes to show why the Coca-Cola campaign was successful.
So what does all of this mean for social media marketing in the U.S. if only a small percentage of social media users share everything? Generally, you should temper your expectations for success going viral. However, putting out quality content or focusing marketing campaigns around either a person’s individuality/vanity or evoking a physiological response -- be it entertaining, enlightening, or even depressing (remember Nationwide Insurance’s controversial Super Bowl XLIX ad?) -- are more likely to be shared.
You can go ahead and call me an “Informer” ‘cuz I want to share the news on the best document automation tool around: PandaDoc! What are you sharing?