How Information Is Socially Shared

The mystery of how and where articles, information, graphics, and more are shared online has been something to plague both marketers and content creators alike.

Catering your information towards your target audience and where they share it most is crucial to producing content that spreads like wildfire online. Linkbait tactics would be without effectiveness if it wasn’t for the social media networks that make it irresistible to share.

Even though some linkbait-crafted content spreads fast without preference to a certain social network, it is a fairly common fact that different social media networks are used for different purposes.

For example, LinkedIn is for professionals, so the articles and various pieces of content shared there is geared towards working professionals in an individual’s network.

However, even though Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are usually called the “bigwigs” of social media, they aren’t the only social networks that are experiencing large and consistent growth. Websites like StumbleUpon have shown large growth in traffic, especially after their redesign in 2009.

Get Information Out Quickly On Twitter

If you had to describe Twitter in one word, it would be F-A-S-T. Twitter is literally an up-to-the-second account of current events happening around the world.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the crowd at the 2011 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona that “40% of Twitter users connect via mobile devices, and half use multiple methods of connecting to the service.” He also stated that “Twitter provides a social framework around television, forcing people to watch shows as they air to get the full TV-watching experience.” Twitter traffic increases during popular TV shows and events like Glee, allowing for users to share their thoughts on live events.

Twitter was also a crucial measuring tool when it came to the recent protests against the government in Egypt because it allowed users all over the world to get updates on the situation using unique hash tags and actual protesters in Egypt used Twitter to share meeting places, videos, photos, and information.

Retuers TV

(Celebration after Egyptian President Steps Down, Courtesy of Reuters TV)


Participate in conversations and offer same-hour responses to questions posed about your product(s) and services on Twitter using a custom hash tag. Customers learn to trust businesses who have a consistent and engaging presence on social media networks. Content that is usually shared on Twitter has an engaging title, is easy/fast to read, and is usually newly published.

Even though Twitter doesn’t have a business-minded segment of its network like Facebook does, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a viable marketing tool. It just means that it can be used differently.

More Options For Businesses On Facebook

With the ability to customize tabs and add unique applications, Facebook offers a better overall engagement platform with their Pages for Businesses. They have even stepped it up a notch in 2010 by introducing Facebook Insights, which gives page administrators valuable information, including demographics, visibility and percentage of interaction. This percentage (the ratio of clicks/interactions to impressions) is valuable to marketers who want to see which of their content is shared and commented on the most.

Because users see Facebook as a community (and Twitter as more of a way to share and comment on information), it is best to treat it as such. Contests, trivia questions, and unique page features are the best ways to drive up content engagement. However, most of the content that is shared on user’s personal profiles is blog articles from outside websites.

To see what content in all of Facebook has been shared the most, check out All Now and Its Trending. Videos are popular to share on Facebook, as are news stories about current events. Photos usually aren’t shared from a website but rather are usually personal photos uploaded by the user themselves.

The Stupendous Growth Of StumbleUpon

StumbleUponAccording to a January 2011 article published on TechCrunch, “According to Statcounter, StumbleUpon is now responsible for 43% of all major social media site (StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Myspace and Digg) traffic on the 15 billion pageviews that the analytics service tracks. Facebook is at 38%.” Their growth seems to have increased since August 2010.

In addition to large overall growth, TechCrunch also states that “The site also gains around 500-600K new registered users monthly on average and boasts a 40% daily active user rate.”

StumbleUpon officials state that its growth has increased dramatically because of more interactive social features that make it easier to share content. StumbleUpon set a record of 320 sites shared (aka “stumbled”) every second in one day on January 2011.

What content is shared on social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg? DailyBlogTips states that “News posts tend to perform better on Digg than on StumbleUpon” and linkbait web pages and blog posts do better on StumbleUpon. Web pages get more visibility the more they are “dugg” or voted up on StumbleUpon.

AddThis Social Media Sharing An AddThis infographic published ReadWriteWeb shows that traffic to Gmail and StumbleUpon outpaced Facebook in 2010. Surprisingly, email is a great way to share content, even though it may not be thought of as a “social network”.

Utilizing Email aAs A Sharing Network

AddToAny, another sharing widget similar to AddThis claims that almost 14% of shares go through email. Unlike StumbleUpon which can share entire webpages, most of these are singular news articles or blog posts. The best way to tackle email is to combine it into your social strategy.

ConstantContact mentions the effectiveness of social email marketing and highlights how some strategies on how to make it work for your business- by view social media as “more than just buttons” and to not “forget how to listen”.

Content that is shared by email is usually only sent to one person, so the overall saturation of an email ‘share’ would definitely be lower than a person that tweets a link to an article and has 2000 followers. However, 14% is a large (and growing) number and the option to send content by email should never be forgotten.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social | StumbleUpon


About The Author: is the Senior SEO Manager for the agency, Red Door Interactive.

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