The Science Behind the ‘Science of Sharing’

M Booth and Beyond, both Next Fifteen firms, presented the findings of their “Science of Sharing” study this morning before opening up discussion about the social customer and how to reach them to a panel that included Mashable’s Lauren Drell and Google’s senior video strategist Frank Torres.

The discussion started with the findings from the study, but the panel quickly moved on to other matters involving business and social media.

The two firms surveyed nearly 1,600 Americans, the group chosen to reflect the population make up outlined by the last Census. The polling questions focused on 12 product categories including financial services, baby products, and restaurants.

Among the study’s findings: 53 percent of consumers interact with brands on Facebook and 33 percent have written an online post about a brand. And, as Buddy Media’s Michael Lazerow noted in a tweet this morning, search is critical for “high involvement” brands like fashion and technology; items that are bought infrequently and often carry a high price tag.

The white paper, found here, has greater detail about the study and its findings. The image above comes from the infographic about the study, and outlines the two types of social sharing consumer.

Here are four key takeaways from the event:

-“Think of your business as social by design,” said Lazerow. In other words run your business in a way that naturally engages audiences rather than thinking in terms of tools, like “Let’s start a Facebook page.” Taking it a step further, Crowdtap founder Brandon Evans said a brand’s product is the best way to activate sharing, so it’s important to get it in the right hands. And social media pages should be built towards a goal, whether it’s to dole out coupons or create a group of VIPs.

-Don’t just re-purpose content. Using the Toyota “Swagger Wagon” as an example, Torres talked about “creating creative” that is special to the platform as a key to success. What works on TV may not work online, and so on.

-Don’t think in a straight line. Lazerow cited a stat: the average revenue per share (as in people sending information to one another) is $2.10. Perhaps the audience you have now is only spending $100, but there’s money to be made in the passing along of brand info from audience member to audience member. And recommendations don’t “travel” in a linear way. “They bounce around,” said Lazerow. So think of the different ways that you can facilitate the sharing of information and recommendations.

-Think small. After a quick laugh about the hypothetical client that asks their firm to make them a viral video, Evans talked about the need to make smaller inroads with audiences. Maybe it won’t have the legs of the ginormous Old Spice campaign, but the small wins are something to build on. In some cases, Torres noted, targeting a select audience that will take great interest in your brand is the equivalent of an Old Spice campaign in spirit if not in scope.

Speaking of Old Spice, Lazerow brought up an issue that we thought was particularly interesting. When looking for an example of a viral campaign that was pitch-perfect across different platforms, people always cite Old Spice. “I’m tired of hearing about Old Spice,” he said. Which led to the question: Why hasn’t there been another Old Spice? The question is kind of rhetorical, but warrants some thought.