Consider everything you thought you knew about social sharing. Now, forget it. The trends you thought you knew have evolved and are not the same as they used to be. Time to hit refresh on your social marketing strategy and optimize your customer engagement by sharing the right content at the right time, and truly understand what channels people are using to make your message go viral.
A recent study revealed some surprising results that debunk some common misconceptions of social sharing. For instance, you would expect younger age groups (28 and younger) to engage with more shared content since they are the most "plugged in," right? Not even close. In reality, people ages 55-64 are more than twice as likely to engage with a brands' content. Additionally, you might predict that Saturdays and Sundays see the most consumer engagement since most people are not at work and less busy. Wrong again! People engage with shared content 49% more on weekdays than they do on weekends.
These new insights change what many people took to be common sense or seemingly obvious facts. One myth in particular has the potential to unlock new audiences for marketers. Billions of articles, pictures, videos and links are shared everyday, and when people hear "sharing" they immediately think of Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks. News flash: only 28% of sharing comes from the traditional social networks that we think of.
So, what channel makes up for the other 72%? Great question. The answer is what we call "Dark Social," the tool all marketers should turn to understand audiences and drive smarter business decisions. Dark Social is the private sharing that happens behind closed private communications such as emails, chats, and mobile apps through copying and pasting portions of content from articles or links from your address bar. This insight into hidden sharing and engagement behaviors can shed light on what was previously an invisible audience. Brands and publishers looking to capture and capitalize on this information must have the right tool in place to do so.
Looking past integrating traditional sharing options can open new doors into an added layer of customer engagement. Intelligent sharing tools that will track this information are key to the future of marketing and ongoing customer engagement. Some companies are already putting this technology to use. For example, in the U.K. the Football Association has adopted new sharing tools to gain further insight into their fans to help sponsors improve the way they interact with the viewers.
As marketing becomes a more automated process, understanding Dark Social and utilizing the proper tools to access insights on sharing behaviors will help brands and marketers hone in on the content that is resonating most with their respective audiences. By gaining a deeper understanding of social sharing activity, brands have information on what's popular and what's not, adjusting content accordingly in real-time to cater to audience demand.