In this fifth of a seven-part series of articles, I will explain the importance of social activity, particularly social shares. Sometimes described as the "social currency," or the accounting for information that people share as they go about their everyday lives, for which Russ Klein provided a concise definition in an American Marketing Association blog:
“Social currency refers to the pull or influence that a consumer has among his peers, and social currency strategies are arguably the most critical point of leverage for a marketer.”
The Series Index & Links to Access
- Part I - Domain Age and Authority
- Part II - Website Grade
- Part III - Backlinks
- Part IV - Traffic Ranking
- Part V - Social Shares
- Part VI - Social Authority
- Part VII - Conclusions
I'll publish the final two parts of this series during the next week or so as I complete the additional support promised for the argument I presented in my December 20, 2016, article, "How the Office Products Industry has Failed the Resellers."
It's the social shares that make up the currency of the internet and the shares that amplify a message across the expanse of the internet. As also explained by Russ Klein, social currency describes how word of mouth "has value to a user but then increases in value as that currency is passed along from one to another or, in the most powerful cases, from one to many."
Take a look at the example displayed in the image below.
As you can see, this article was shared on LinkedIn 72 times.
Let's assume for a moment that the average audience of each of the 72 persons sharing the content is 500. The math is simple (72 x 500 = 36,000) and represents a substantial audience we couldn't have placed the content in front of without the shares' amplification. Furthermore, each of these shares was made with the implicit endorsement of the sharer, effectively carrying their seal of approval before it was placed in front of their audiences.
From the title of the article, it should be clear that the subject matter was focused on the aftermarket office supplies industry. Its initial publication targeted relevant LinkedIn Groups and a specific network of Business Supplies and Equipment Industry LinkedIn members. As such, we know the magazine was delivered to a relevant audience; after that, it was shared a further seventy-two times to each of the sharer's respective networks or audiences.
It's not an unreasonable assumption to make that the interests of the secondary audience were also significantly concentrated in the area of Business Supplies and Equipment. If this were not the case, you'd have to ask why these 72 members elected to share the content. The underlying behavioral characteristic of a sharer is to help make themselves look good in front of others; They will fail in this goal if they don't expect the information they share to be relevant and exciting to their respective audiences.
So, I can conclude from this activity that ultimately, not only were we able to place this content in front of as many as 36,000 LinkedIn members, but it's also likely that a high proportion of these members had relevant interests.
A snapshot taken from the "unique visitor" data provided by our Alexa analytics is shown in the chart below. You can see the traffic spiked at the same time as the shares of this content were taking place. This fits our ultimate goal of driving relevant traffic to our website and clearly shows a correlation between the size of the audience obtained for this article and the number of unique visits to our website.
To further help with our web traffic objective, all the content we publish links to other relevant content in our blog or elsewhere on our website. Each piece of content also includes at least two "calls to action" that provide access to other, more valuable pieces of content that we'll give access to in exchange for contact information such as an email address. If our audience judges our content to be of sufficient value or interest that they're prepared to provide us with their contact details and permit us to include them on our blog subscription list, then our content has done its job. In doing its job, we gradually expanded our audience and increased our brand equity. Furthermore, in capturing these details, we currently determine whether a contact can qualify as a sales opportunity. Develop our social currency and authority in our field; we also accumulate backlinks from our audience that value our content and insights. These, in turn, help increase our domain authority which also, in turn, then places us higher in search rankings. The whole process is interdependent; if one piece is missing or goes missing, it all breaks down. No one shares poor-quality, irrelevant content or spends time on poor-quality websites. Therefore, it's logical to conclude; it's impossible to substantially improve domain authority or organic website traffic without this process.
Of course, there are other ways to reach an audience, but these involve paid advertising which can quickly become expensive, especially if you don't know what you're doing. I'll include the subject of paid advertising (which has its role) in the next post in this series (Social Authority), so you'll better understand how this can be tailored into an overall digital strategy.
Office product resellers have been extraordinarily slow to adopt modern digital marketing tactics; their failure to use social platforms to communicate their value proposition leaves consumers paying much higher prices for office supplies than they could be. The opportunity to profitably grow small to medium-sized dealerships still exists, but to do so, it will be necessary to overcome the current reluctance to use social media, email marketing, and modern inbound techniques deployed for developing relevant web traffic.
The requirements for digital success revolve around content. Unique, relevant, and high-quality content. This is the starting point for digital marketing and the foundation for developing authoritative leadership positions promoting the story of why consumers should adopt more minor resellers' value propositions instead of the higher-priced "big-box" alternatives.