The age-old phrase “sharing is caring” has had both positive and negative connotations associated with it. In this instance, however, I’m using the words exactly as they are – sharing IS caring. In social media, it’s easy to fan a company, like a page, or follow a celebrity. On the surface, this is great – lots of likes, high numbers and positive analytics means someone’s doing something right. But digging deeper, it doesn’t always mean something great. Take for instance the multitude of Facebook posts you see asking users to like a page so my sister will see she’s beautiful, or how many likes can this veteran get, or even like this post, type the word cool and you’ll have 7 years of good luck. Now, a lot of times these posts are real – but a lot of times they aren’t. Case in point – the recent article by the NY Times on how Facebook scammers are getting more and more information about you – and what you can do about it.
I click on posts just like everyone else, but these days if something has 15,000 likes and I keep seeing it over and over again, I’m much less likely to click on it, because it’s probably not real. There are exceptions to that, however, like last week’s Supreme Court debate on gay marriage. My news feed lit up like a Christmas tree with photos of the red equality sign, the Human Rights Campaign’s visual support icon of gay marriage. Obviously, this was no scam – I was hearing about it on the news, around my neighborhood, the radio – everywhere. I jumped on the bandwagon because it was something I was passionate about, and knew was legit. I also shared a few pictures via the Human Rights Campaign.
Interestingly enough, I shared photos and messages even though I’m not a fan of the organization (on Facebook that is). This leads me to my next point – sharing things on Facebook is a much more powerful tool that actually liking a page. And I don’t mean sharing photo after photo of your kids (though I am guilty as charged) or what you had for dinner. Ad Week talks about it in an article this week - Brands Favor Social Shares Over Likes. Putting yourself out there to the world that you too are a fan of X, or love this ad campaign, news article or photo is bold and risky. You’re friend might not like it, you may get flack from your family, and/or your post could blow up in support. Alternative, nothing can happen. But, it takes much more effort to share a company’s post than it does to like their page.
What does that really mean? It means that the more people who promote a brand within their own social spheres are much more involved, supportive and invested in said company. And that is worth more than any amount of likes you can garner. It means that someone cares enough about your company, your message, your brand, and/or your cause to let other people know about it. There’s nothing stronger than a personal reference, and sharing online is as close to word of mouth as you can get without actually talking with someone. The more shares, the bigger the buzz, and the bigger the payoff.