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We Share Content Everywhere

AOL and Nielson recently published a study about our content sharing habits that draws some useful conclusions about what and how people use social networks to pass on information, brand or product preferences, articles, videos and photos to their friends (and 'followers'):

Aol & Nielsen content sharing study
Highlights of the study's findings include:
  • 23% of social media messages include links to articles, videos and photos.
  • People are sharing more of this kind of content than they did 2-3 years ago, especially women.
  • People share content with their family and friends that they consider "trustworthy" and "helpful"
  • A company's website is less important than other social networks when it comes to insinuating itself into this sharing model: "With only 4% of shared content linking to brand websites, it’s clear that the conversation – and opinions – about these same brands is happening elsewhere" . . . namely social networks
This idea that what people share with their networks must be trustworthy and helpful says a lot about how organizations should structure their social web interactions. Messages that are  self-serving, without substance or blatantly manipulative -- no matter how creatively packaged -- are unlikely to find their way into most social web conversations. 
Companies and brands should also use a range of social platforms (including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and email) because "for people using a social network, 99% of them use multiple platforms for sharing content."

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