Social media marketing is more than branded messages displaying in user news feeds and timelines. That is only the beginning. The true value of social media is in its ability to make it easy for people to share, re-share and distribute brand messages and recommendations to their family, friends and other social connections. Sharing is a value multiplier. It allows word of mouth to take place online, giving it speed and greater potential for reach. Sharing takes the actions of marketers and extends them through others to others.
People are not interested in brands. They're interested in what brands do for them. The same is true for brand content and experiences. They're not interested, but they are interested in content and experiences that benefit them and others. One of the questions brands should always ask themselves is: What is the reason to share? If there isn't an answer, the multiplier of sharing will be non-existent.
A reason to share is usually one of two things. First, it benefits people. You compel people to share by giving them something, such as a deal or access to exclusive content for sharing. You may also make them feel good about themselves and give them a reason to 'toot their own horns' by aligning with causes and missions that they care about, support and already want to share.
Second, it benefits others. They want to share because it makes them the hero. They become the tastemakers who are in the know and are able to share an entertaining piece of content, an unbelievable offer or something else they know their social connections will want in on. If they feel like they'll be rock stars in the eyes of their social connections, they'll share.
Whether it's a promotion or a branded message, success in the social space comes much easier when others share. Why pay for reach when you can earn it? Provide a reason to share and multiply the value of what you're doing.