Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Make Sharing Work

Why do people share? And with whom?

A recent post on LinkedIn about the phenomenon of sharing made the point:  we all ask for a share, but virtually no one offers a reason as to why we should bother.   Making it clear what we're offering and what action we want should be basic marketing.

But what should our expectations be about sharing?

The following is some of what Google learned in the development of circles.

First, circles exist indicating that people categorize others according to some meta-association.  There are likely some standard classes of association - think function like work or school and strength of the relationship like fraternity or building association.  It is easy enough to prove this, just compare one's FB friends and LinkedIn connections - some overlap, some exclusivity for defined reasons.

This means sharing must be selective - if we have circles then we don't intend to send everything to everyone.  Therefore we need to consider the why and who questions of context and audience.

Why do people share? the reason or context of sharing can be for one of three reasons.  It may be...
  • personal - stories or opinions about oneself
  • conversation - contribute to a discussion
  • evangelism - spreading the good word (or funny video)
Who is the recipient? the audience is often based on a choice as to whether the content/context combination is...
  • private and appropriate for only a select few, 
  • relevant to a community of interest, or
  • interesting to the masses.
So, before throwing the share button on every thing possible give some thought to how context and audience relate to your offer and call to action.

There is the obvious questions about what is shared...but I'll leave the content discussion for another time.

Source: extracted from David Huffaker's discussion of extracting meaning from data in "Doing Data Science".

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