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Social Media Sharing and Following Are 2 Different Animals

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Social media sharing involves different motives by visitors than social media following. It depends on the site content.

News sites offer a great example of these different behaviors. They often update multiple times a day and therefore update their social media accounts multiple times a day.

Their accounts attract extremely high numbers of social media followers because of the quantity, benefit and personal relevance of the content.

A local newspaper reader wants to know the details of a murder yesterday that took place only a few miles away. That makes the post and others like it personally relevant and a strong reason to follow the social media account.

Newspaper readers also do a lot of social media  sharing in addition to following because of the intense “shared” interest in the murder.

So the content drives the desire both to share and to follow.

Low Follows and High Shares

A niche travel site often triggers a different type of behavior by social visitors. The state of Hawaii attracts vacationers all year long, but few of them will visit multiple times in a single year. Many of them will visit once and never again.

So a high number of those vacationers are unlikely to follow a Hawaii travel page on Facebook or Twitter simply because the benefit is brief at best. Passionate or repeat visitors will more likely follow it, but others will not.

Even if they do follow the page, the follow is not likely to last long because the benefit is gone after vacation.

But those same vacationers are more likely to share those social accounts or website pages because they often travel with friends or families who want the same information.

Such a travel website — or another category with high shares and low follows — has an opportunity to emphasize share buttons on the site. It has a much smaller opportunity with attracting followers.

High Follows and Low Shares

Social media

© 2017 Scott Bateman

It’s possible but less common for a site to have the opposite behavior and end up with high social media followers and low sharers. One example is a site and social account that don’t publish content often.

A related example is a site that publishes often but doesn’t post everything on its social account.

In the first example, the site may publish long and informative articles on a weekly basis. The information is good enough to attract followers who are willing to wait for the next post.

But the site has fewer shares because of its infrequent publishing. A site with 100 pages doesn’t have nearly as much content to share as a site with 10,000 pages.

The second example is simply a case of neglect. Posting in a social account is quick and easy. Not posting is a lost opportunity.

All is forgiven if the postings don’t produce much benefit to the site, such as sales, leads or visits.

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