If you can’t afford the luxury of paid promotions to advertise to your audience, you’ll need people willing to share your content. Research shows most social media posts are rarely shared. Is your business in trouble if your content is never shared? What happens when no one cares about social sharing? Let’s take a look at the most serious consequences of a failing social sharing strategy.
Before we dive into these problems, let’s take a look at the study that proved that sharing is more of an exception than a rule.
Social sharing is rare
Two years ago, Buzzsumo analysed more than 1 million social media posts. They came to the stinging conclusion that half of the million posts had 8 shares or less. 3/4ths of these posts received fewer than 39 shares. These results were consistent with a similar analysis which found that 42% of professionally marketed blog posts generate less than 10 interactions per post.
Frankly speaking, these are quite lousy figures, and these numbers were tracked in the USA alone. It’s unlikely that Americans are less inclined to share content than other countries, and the volume of shared professional content has only increased in the past two years since Buzzsumo’s study.
Therefore, we can assume that our content is poorly shared on average. Should we deal with the consequences, or can we continue carelessly posting new content to nobody in particular? In this article, I’ve listed the 10 most serious consequences of poorly shared content:
Missing your target audience
People don’t think you’re worth the effort
Missing the impact of word-of-mouth
Misusing the favor of your ambassadors
Denying your ambassadors the opportunity to make themselves more popular
It costs you money
It spoils your mood
It puts your job on the line
The 10 most serious consequences of a failing social sharing strategy
#1 Missing your target audience
Shares these days are seen as something extra, almost a bonus, because poorly shared content is the new norm. Is it really normal? Imagine you have 200 colleagues, each with that 500 social media connections, and you manage to persuade 100 people to share your content through LinkedIn. You’d have a potential reach of 100,000 individuals. That kind of exposure is very cheap!
#2 People don’t think you’re worth the effort
# of shares is the same as views or likes on a post; it’s a measure of how valuable your audience thinks your content is. If a post is shared often, it’s worth learning what made your post popular. When posts get few shares they can often be ignored even by the author, although the content may still be valuable.
#3 Lacking credibility
Credibility and reliability are measured the same here. The quality of the content produced is held to the same standard as the publisher. You and your content’s credibility is important, if you wish to become a thought leader in your field of expertise.
#4 Missing the impact of word-of-mouth
“Word of Mouth is best medium of all”. Advertising legend William Bernbach (known for the famous Volkswagen advertisements) declared in the seventies. In this era of social media, word-of-mouth is powerful than ever. Consider a few important facts about word-of-mouth advertising from GetAmbassador:
84% of consumers indicates that they partly or fully trust recommendations of family, friends and colleagues regarding specific products and services (source: Nielsen).
According to 74% of consumers, word-of-mouth is most influential to their buying decisions (source: Ogilvy/Google/TNS).
91% of B2B procurement agents is influenced by word-of-mouth (source: USM).
Word-of-mouth has proven that the effectivity of marketing efforts can be improved up to 54% (source: MarketShare).
Still not convinced? Check out the other 36 facts in the article. It should be clear, those who spend no effort in sharing content are leaving the best and most advantageous medium for advertising unused.
#5 Losing momentum
Getting large groups of followers to share your content together is much better for visibility than progressively expanding reach. Depending on how popular and widely shared your content gets, it may even go viral. Demanding attention during a specific time period may be crucial to a marketing strategy or news event.
#6 Misusing the favor of your ambassadors
If you’ve been running your business well, there usually are a lot of people who want to help you and/or your organization and don’t mind sharing your content now and then. Think of supporters, fans, members, franchisees, sponsors, suppliers, partners and don’t forget your own colleagues, friends and family. In fact, you have a whole army of ambassadors within your grasp that are willing to lend you a favor. Why wouldn’t you seize that opportunity?
#7 Denying your ambassadors the opportunity to make themselves more popular
Of course, your ambassadors have their own interest in sharing professional content. They can profile themselves with good content aligning with their interests, and extend their relations. Those that frequently share valuable content will automatically gain more followers and authority. From experience, I can say that sharing content is conducive for your Social Selling Index (SSI) on LinkedIn. In short: by allowing people to share your content, you give them the opportunity of making themselves more attractive as a professional in their field. Why would you deny them that chance?
#8 It costs you money
Not sharing your content may cost you (tons of) money. Obviously, you’ll need to pay to get your content promoted, unless you already run a very popular blog. I may be wrong, but I cannot get rid of the impression that the costs for paid promotion on social media have been increasing for quite some time. Each buck you save can be invested into better content, in building your own audience, in optimizing conversion, turnover, profit, even your career.
#9 It spoils your mood
Creating beautiful content, publishing it and then getting no shares and yielding no value… It’s lost effort and incredibly frustrating. You’ve wasted money you’ve put in the creation and production of it. It’s hard to stay motivated and write good content under those conditions.
#10 It puts your job on the line
Your job on the line? That might be an exaggeration. But is it really? Continue posting content that is hardly shared and expect to answers some difficult questions in the future: “What are we spending on promotion?”, “Why is it costing so much money?”, “Why is it advantageous for us?”. You’ll soon find out that you won’t be able to answer them. You’ll need to defend your work while internal support for your plans melts like snow under the sun. You are a football coach who’s 0-15, with no light at the end of the tunnel. People start meddling with your affairs. The mood is getting worse and worse by the day and tension on the work floor is rising. The call for another approach and every substitute becomes increasingly louder. The situation itself becomes untenable, and one day, you are put on the spot and asked to take your things and leave.
From sharing is caring to caring to share
Losing your reach, authority, impact and control…perhaps even a dismissal? The consequences aren’t really something to laugh about (As I mentioned before, it can spoil your mood!)
Apparently, it’s not enough these days to add social sharing buttons to your content, and beg everyone you come across to share your blogs while repeating “Sharing is caring”. Strangely enough, that’s what most marketers still do. While we look for a solution, we first have to define the causes. Why is content shared so little?
Is the content so bad that nobody wants to share it?
Does the sharer not want to be associated with the publisher?
Doesn’t he know what has to be shared?
Are you asking too much effort, even if it’s just one single click on the button?
Is he simply forgetting to share your content?
Doesn’t he care about it?
… is it more important to him that sharing your content is fulfilling a favor, something that you depend on, that you can’t control? If we look at it from that perspective, shouldn’t the amount of shares be the result of a tightly organized and perfectly executed approach? Shouldn’t we evolve from “sharing is caring” to “caring to share”?
It’s about time for a smart social sharing strategy
In my view, it is important to make the organization and its ambassadors aware of the importance of sharing and investing in a smart sharing strategy. It’s important to seize on these opportunities ASAP, because NOW they can still gain a competitive advantage.