For nonprofits, sharing is caring and Facebook is the #1 to show it

I feel like a statistics magnet this week, but here’s another finding I had to share.  TechCrunch carried a story about a new study of the more than 7 billion sharing signals that were passed in March 2011 over the top 1,000 websites that use the ShareThis widget to facilitate social publishing/sharing of content. The study’s sponsors were ShareThis, Starcom MediaVest Group and Rubinson Partners.  A few highlights that got my attention:

  • 10% of ALL visits to websites come from sharing.
  • Sharing produces 31% of all referral traffic to websites.  If you’ve ever looked at website analytics (Google Analytics works great as a free tool), you can tell what percentage of visitors came from organic search, direct (when someone types in your URL) or referral.  When someone arrives at your website by clicking on a link, it shows up as a referral.
  • Facebook is the number one way that people share content.  By a mile.  It accounts for 38% of all sharing referral traffic.  Twitter and good old email tied for second with 17% each.
  • Sharing is a numbers game.  The more people who follow you, the more people will see that shared content.  On average, shared links are clicked on 4.9 times each.
  • Not every shared link gets clicked upon.  People are generally influential on one or two topics.

What’s it mean to nonprofits?  First, you should have in place measurable goals to increase the number of absolutely unique website visitors, and to maintain a reasonable bounce rate (the percentage of people who came and immediately left because your site wasn’t a good match for what they were seeking).  Next in line, focus first on Facebook to grow the number of people who are engaged with you.

The finding about influence and relevance is also important to nonprofits.  As you hone your “voice,” don’t try to chat your friends and followers up on every topic.  Follow the rule of good PR and make sure you know your key messages, and seek to become an opinion leader on one or two relevant topics.

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