Content Sharing and the Network Effect

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Content Sharing and the Network Effect

Content sharing and the way a network can multiply influence is one of the least glamorous and likely one of the least discussed effects of social media. A lot of online activity, social media as well as email, is the result of one person sharing something they find interesting or noteworthy and passing it on to others.

I am interested of late in how content is shared and what results content sharing generates. As an example, I heard about a potential project that originated from LinkedIn. One person posted a note to his network on the type of person he was seeking. I receive that note from two people who forwarded their LinkedIn email to me through internet email. Then I received a phone call from another friend who had also received the LinkedIn note and thought I’d be interested.

That’s the network effect of content sharing, and I’m sure the person who put out the request on LinkedIn was successful, given the breadth of his network to begin with and the power of cross-channel content sharing—in this case the message went from a social channel to an email channel and the telephone channel.

In another instance, I ran across a Twitter post that had an intriguing title about a business accelerator for start ups. I don’t know who sent it, but I clicked through to see I knew that Ron May, publisher of The May Report, would be interested in the website, so I sent him an email. Ron follows venture capital and entrepreneurship, and he published my email and the link in his newsletter. I know because someone told me. And now, the link is published in a blog. Again, the network effect operates across channels, from Twitter, to email, to email newsletter.

The content-sharing power of social media emerged as a main theme at tonight’s Social Media Club of Chicago panel on social media in financial services. Panelists from financial publisher Morningstar discussed how the firm uses social media to share thought-leadership content from its analysts and magazines as a way to generate web traffic and build relationships, and in the end I was struck by the cross-channel nature of communication and how social media both contributes to and speeds the sharing of content.

“It’s about creating  ways that make it easier to share your content and make it easy to talk about. Not through one channel, but a good mix because people consume and share information differently,” said Panelist Shannon Paul, community manager for PEAK6 Online, parent company of online brokerage OptionsHouse.

Twitter has the highest click through and highest bounce rates. Email has the lowest click through but the highest engagement, she noted, citing research by the sharing utility publisher Share This.

Share This sees sharing as the “heart of the social web.” Read more in the post, “Sharing and ‘Socialgraphics’: Why Marketers Should Be Paying Attention.”