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By Jamie Butow
My family moved to a new city in the middle of my fourth-grade year. One Friday I left my old school and on Monday I started at a new school.
I was 9 years old and nervous that no one would like me. I wanted these kids to like me. I smiled and laughed and complimented my classmates, all in hopes they would like me.
Being liked is important; it's a form of acceptance. If the cool kids like you, you must be cool.
Being liked on social media is just as important.
If you're a regular on social media, you've undoubtedly seen a post asking you to "Like" a post or a page.
It happens; all of us social media marketers are guilty of it. We want you to click "like" so your friends see that you like us. It's that whole concept of going viral -- my friend is cool and he likes this, therefore it must be cool. Click. And on and on it goes.
But more important than the "Like" is the "Comment," and even more important than that is the "Share."
The share is the holy grail of social media marketing. It says, "This is so important or worthwhile, I'm saying you should all read it."
As a business owner, if you post something and it gets shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter, you do a little happy dance because your visibility just went up exponentially.
According to BlitzMetrics.com, Facebook's News Feed algorithm gives up to 1,300 percent more weight to shares than likes when it comes to what's shown near the top of a user's feed.
Lots of analysts have assigned dollar amounts to fans, likes and shares, but the reality is that it varies from brand to brand. You're likely to buy Pepsi products more often than you are a BMW. But because BMWs cost more, their monetary share value is higher.
It's a lot of math and every analytics firm seems to calculate the values differently. But the fact remains that getting your fans to click that "Share" button is key.
So how do brands accomplish that?
Content. I always say content. Make the post worth sharing.
On Facebook.com/BakersfieldCalifornian, we post questions to gauge community interest and get opinion on news topics. But we also post information such as traffic and weather updates, as well as Christmas tree recycling information.
On New Year's Eve, our post about the Auto Club's Tipsy Tow program received 67 shares as people wanted to pass that information on to their friends.
I'm not sure what that translates to in terms of newspaper subscriptions. Nevertheless, it was information that hopefully got some people home safe that night.
So thanks for all those shares.
On the flip-side
There are two sides to every coin. If you're a Facebook user and share everything, you're likely annoying your friends and causing them to either unfriend you or hide your posts.
Yes, I've done that. I have dear friends who simply can't stop hitting the share button on every single cat meme and/or political rant that comes across their feed. So I hide their posts -- all of them -- from my news feed. No more blaming a political party, no more anything from that person.
Their shares are a little less meaningful.
The moral of the story is to use your shares wisely.
Much like my theory for life in general, focus on the big stuff and let the little stuff go.
It's also important to think about what you're promoting and endorsing by clicking 'share.' Is this a company, brand or person you want to see grow? Is it a piece of news or information you want to make your friends aware of? Or is it just another "I hate (insert political party here)" post?
It's doubtful anyone will change who they vote for based on your expletive-filled social media rant, but they may call that local business next time they need a plumber or a welder because it's someone their friend endorses.
Just something to think about when you're scrolling your news feed.
And ease up on the cat memes.
Social media classes
Registration is now open for the classes I teach at the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Aside from the social media classes, there are lots of great classes being offered this spring including art, robotics, cooking and Photoshop. There's even boomer retirement planning and a tour of Hearst Castle this semester. Check it out at BakersfieldCollege.edu/levaninstitute.