Referral Marketing

Social Sharing: Bad for Privacy, Great for Brands

Social Sharing: Bad for Privacy, Great for Brands

In an amazing twist of karmic justice, Randi Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister and a former Facebook executive) recently fell victim to Facebook’s confounding privacy settings. Randi had posted a candid family photo for her Facebook friends, only to see it go viral on Twitter.

In response, Randi invoked “digital etiquette,” meaning that sharing other people’s family photos without permission is “way uncool.”

Sure, no one wants their private photos splashed across the Web. But of all people, the Zuckerbergs should know that our online world runs on user sharing. It’s how Facebook makes its money! To millions of people around the world, relinquishing some privacy is a small price to pay for the chance to connect online with friends and family.

Morality aside, Zuckerberg’s response raises an interesting question: Just how much has social media changed the norms of our society? According to Mark Zuckerberg, the answer is quite a lot:

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. [This is a] social norm that has evolved over time.”

New technologies and sharing platforms have sped up this evolution to an unprecedented scale. Online users are clearly more willing (and able) to share personal information and activities.

Photos, status updates, videos—nothing is off-limits in a social sharing world. So what’s next? All signs point to online purchases.

In a recent consumer research study, Social Impact: How Consumers See It, 48 percent of shoppers said that social sharing is “extremely helpful” or “very helpful” when shopping for a product. This makes social media referrals more trustworthy than recommendations from shopping, company, and “deal” sites. In fact, the Wharton School of Business found that a referred customer has a 16 percent higher lifetime value.

Getting into the minds of consumers, it’s plain that not only is social sharing more socially acceptable and easy to do, but friend-to-friend referrals influence purchasing decisions more than any traditional advertisement. With “frictionless sharing,” social sharing can be the top driver of sales for any online company, from B2B SaaS to eCommerce retail.

Put simply, more sharing = more sales.

What are you doing to take advantage of social sharing?

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