What consumers share on Facebook -- and why

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What can marketers learn from this

Perhaps the best news in all of this is that there is indeed something that correlates strongly with sharing. For brands that want to drive sharing, and I think a lot of them will, then being able to identify behaviors or trends that influence sharing is of very real value. It simply helps you pursue your goals with more precision and accuracy.

So if a brand wants to increase the rate at which fans share their content, what should they do? The obvious thing is, post more of the richer media types -- videos and photos. Of course, a lot of brands will struggle to post those types of content due to the added complexity. There are several ways brands can address that issue.

One is to take a comprehensive inventory of your visual assets. You may have more than you think, especially if you're a franchise property. You may already have a library of high-quality assets. Sometimes even a simple image just needs the right introductory headline to get people liking, commenting, and especially sharing.

Another consideration is content curation. Posting content from some other source can be an economical way to deliver content of high engagement value on your page, while also keeping your costs to a minimum. Where you source this information depends greatly on the industry you're in. Location-based content can also be very helpful, but again, needs to be selected accordingly.

Lastly, but certainly not least, you can use the single greatest content development asset your company has: Your employees. Two things have changed greatly in the past five years. One is that the most popular phone model in the world is perfectly suitable for many social media posts even from corporations (as are a lot of the non-Apple phones); the other is that, due to the popularity of camera phones and the apps, there are a lot more people out there capable of taking very good pictures. That's a lot to be leveraged.

Good content is also about being unique and distinct. To that point, in most industries there are also examples of status updates and links that drove a good level of sharing. Look at the following chart for the most shared status updates in the QSR category. Good content is ultimately about being fresh and relevant. The media type is just the format.

Shared status posts in QSR category

No matter what industry you're in, you should be able to find posts that drive high engagement, based on a number of different parameters -- from media type to subject matter to specific times of the year.

To some brands, Facebook can seem like the world's largest focus group ever assembled. By closely analyzing what works and what doesn't, those brands will simply know their target audience better, by knowing what interests them.

The future of advertising according to Facebook is a content marketing world: Knowing the finer details of what triggers your audience to engage will be a large factor in how well your page performs.

Doug Schumacher is the co-founder of Facebook content strategy tool Zuum.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Glittering background," "Two children sitting under a wreath holding a Christmas story book," "Scared Movie spectators with 3d glasses," "Abstract bright textile in batik's technique," "Research and Development of New Technology As Art," "Needle in a haystack close-up," "Teenagers Hanging Out Together," "One hand giving keys to other isolated," and "Jumping girl"  via Shutterstock.



Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis April 20, 2012 at 1:46 PM

"What that difference in value is between a "like" and a share could be another article or ten, but the point is, there's a difference. "

Great point! In my opinion, getting Likes and Fans isn't nearly as important as getting a piece of content shared. Having someone like your page and then never return doesn't do much. Sharing your content shows they are engaged and interested.