Definition: Social sharing describes when social media users broadcast web content on a social network to their connections, groups, or specific individuals. One of the primary aims of corporate social media marketing strategies is to generate brand awareness by leveraging their existing audience to share content.
Unlike advertisements or other marketing assets, social shares is an organic form of promotion generated by the public. Consumers share products, blog posts, and inspirational images because they want to. When social connections —including friends, family, and coworkers — see shared content, it resonates more than a message displayed directly by a business. Forbes in 2014, wrote an article highlighting just how much more valuable Facebook social activity is over Facebook ads. Each time someone shares an article, link, or promotion it has the potential to domino into a wide network of potential customers. Once a post is shared, it is then seen by an entirely new audience that can further spread it throughout their own network. Posts created with the intent of gaining mass exposure through repetitive sharing is referred to as viral marketing.
Beyond product recommendations and sales or promotions, social sharing is also a critical place to define a brand. Consumers don't only visit a company's website to understand who they are and what they offer — they also go to their Facebook Page or Twitter feed.
Social media gives businesses a chance to define what they stand for, what they are trying to achieve, and how it helps the community. Social media is much more interactive than a website. Seeing how a company engages with its customers is more substantive than simply making a website claim. Most importantly, when users share a company's posts or content, it validates them in the eyes of consumers. Social proof is invaluable for a business' reputation and has the tendency to increase exponentially when a foundation is established.