The Opportunity for Business

I read a phrase in some article (I forget where) that said that sharing (social sharing) is something that brings a measurable uptick in the opportunity for business. As people are often scrambling to understand the “ROI” of using social networks and social media, that might well make for a decent start to the conceptual math required to talk about it.

A “share” is the opportunity for business.

With Great Sharing

Think about this, though. If someone pluses or likes or retweets or otherwise shares your information or ideas via some social channel, there’s quite a lot more that has to happen to make that sharing function a true “opportunity for business.” If you subscribe to some tweet network that employs robots to retweet your information, do you really believe that the 100 or 1000 or 100000 retweets you’ve bought will translate to a trustworthy passing forward of that information?

Further, even if the information you share is passed on by a trustworthy source, when the next people to receive that sharing signal visit that information and find it to be a pure advertisement of your business, do you think that will compel the secondary source? Thus, perhaps that share is wasted, as well.

The Appearance of Activity and Busy-ness

A lot of what we do in social networks certainly seems busy and active. We tweet. We share. We pass on articles (sometimes because we’ve been asked/begged/pleaded with to share them). We skim a lot. We glance over a post or concept and pass it on without adding much except for that valuable pass-through.

Agencies and other organizations quite often pat their clients on the back and say, “Wow! Look at that! Your article got 1000 retweets and 2900 likes!” The company owner then smiles politely back and asks, “And that gives me….”

We can surely look very busy, doing all this social media work. But that’s not the real work.

The real work is earning a valuable share from a trusted resource to a network of thoughtful and potentially like-minded individuals.

Seek those opportunities for business, and not the blind retweets and busy-ness that can otherwise glitter just as brightly. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • SharelOmer

    Indeed :)
    Share enable the biz to grow their reach, and for the user to be part of something.. win win :)

    The challenge is to find the top most relevant shares that make a difference…how can unstructured sharing communication become structured :)

    ROI in social media is not trivial, sharing via twitter of a blog post can make a difference…

  • Christina Damiano

    And I will share this because (after reading the whole article) I agree and think it is something my followers (although small since I am just starting) would/should read with interest. Thanks as always for your insight Chris!

  • Jerry Macnamara

    Shares and Likes can be very powerful in the hands of the right, engaged community. But, they also have the potential to go the same way as “eyeballs” during the boom.

    If the action or activity doesn’t amount to some benefit to the company (engagement, feedback, brand building, networking, selling, etc.), then owners will stop listening to the marketers and say, “We spent how much and sold WhAt?!?!?”

    It’s why we start everything we do with, “Why are we doing this?”

    • Chris Brogan

      “Start with Why.” Curse that book. Joe Sorge LOVES that book. 

  • MarcEnsign

    It’s a lot like traditional in-person networking. If you are the guy that walks in a room every now and then with the purpose of giving away business cards to anyone with a pulse you are actually damaging your credibility because you are focused on the wrong task. Instead, be the guy (or girl) who’s sole purpose is to walk into the room and find 5 people you can genuinely connect with and help and watch what happens. In no time you start to become the most popular guy in the room. I would only bring 5 business cards with me to networking opportunities in order to force myself to seek out the right people instead of just numbers. It was tough to do at first, but a real a game changer once I got good at it!

    • Marc Ensign

      Ooops…accidentally posted incognito as a guest.  Nothing to hide here.  Note to self…don’t post using my iPad.

    • Chris Brogan

      You sneaky hider, Marc. : ) 

      Agreed. I’m appreciative of your time and commentary. 

  • Anna Savoy

    Whether retweets, replies, posts, etc., no matter the “for” or “against,” would be of great value to corporations.  The tweeters, retweeters, poster’s, etc.; now there’s a network of individuals.

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  • Mark Bevans

    Spot on Mr Brogan :)

  • Anna Savoy

    It seems a business that does not know the likes/dislikes of their customer/client/consumer, is headed nowhere.  Social media is where it’s “at.”

    • Chris Brogan

      I think that’s a big opportunity, really, to know more about their buyers. But that goes to another whole level: whether people are doing any meaningful data analysis. 

  • Ryan Hanley


    I love how you don’t sweat counting stats…

    What does 10 shares do for my business? 100 shares?

    What just 1 share do… if the perfect person for your business?

    Thank you”

    Ryan H

  • Mark Greenway

    Social media and using it for business is somewhat new to me but I thank each and every one who has given me insight into Using social media It may take sometime but im in for the long haul.

  • Elaine Joli

    Let’s refer back to Dunbar’s Number (150 relationships is all the human brain can handle).  Social media has made it easier for us to think we’re building business – but let’s separate a broadcast circle from the real way business relationships work – giving referrals, credible word of mouth, building solid foundations with prospects, having a remarkable product, great service and so on.  It’s very old fashioned, I know.  But if the I in ROI is time – get serious about spending time where it matters – one on one, one at a time.

  • JulieGubler

    Social Media is touted as a new thing, but really it’s just networking online instead of offline.  The same rules apply and they’re the ones everyone learned in Kindergarten. And like school kids, some of us are better friends to have than others, and some are more popular, while others are kind of nerdy. 

    My personal goal is to be the “nice kid on the block,” do  my best, and give value. I’ve found the money follows me when I do this (usually). This philosophy seems to serve me well, and I don’t get bogged down in worrying about the retweets, likes, etc.  Some of my current clients met me years ago, but we didn’t do business together until recently.

    The trite saying “what goes around comes around” is true offline, as well as online. (And you can probably tell I wasn’t a cheerleader in high school.)

  • Kathycondon2

    Appreciate this blog Chris for I it really does bother me to see so many tweets being sent out to all the social media sites at the same time—doesn’t make me feel very special—even when an article of mine was sent out thousands of times by a robot by someone else and got everyone ticked off.

    I’ve been doing an experiment and setting up telephone conversations with some of the people that connected with me on LinkedIn—turns out so far these two trends are emerging a. they can’t talk well on the phone b. they start selling me immediately when the conversation starts.

    We have a lot to learn about social media yet.

    • Melissa Giovagnoli

      Kathy, love your response. I am just continuing with a poll for my group on LinkedIn asking group members what percentage of people in their network are “Takers.” I have been doing this poll live during trainings for the past 4 months and find that most people answer that over 50% of people in their networks are Takers. My questions then are, “Why are they still in your network?” and “What are you doing to create a network of “Givers” and “Exchangers” instead of Takers?”

  • BrianHumek

    “And that gives me….”

    Love how you break it down to what matters. All the numbers in the world (i.e. bought followers, bought shares, etc) mean nothing.

    It’s best to find the people who matter in your niche or highly motivated potential customers and relate with them. A relationship, it’s the most valuable thing in the world.

  • Matches Malone

    It’s for just this reason that I’ve scaled back on my Empire Avenue activity. 

  • PartySuppliesIL

    Nothing turns me away from a company’s social media efforts like too many posts from an automated source. As a participant of SOCIAL media, you expect to be SOCIALizing. I don’t think those robots are game for any sort of two-way conversation.

  • Krad

    First of all, this like business is getting pretty annoying. You post something on your FaceBook and it’s a meandering like here and there. It’s like women shopping for cloths or men sampling. It’s like they grasp a dress with their fingers, feeling it, and say, na, and give the shop owner a thumbs up. Shop owner, whatever ! Or men easing up to the sample like a Sea Gaul, grabbing the sample like back and taking off with only a grunt.

    Like , Happy face culture, show me the angst, protest, feistiness, good old American individual. Harry Beckwith said, our modern business culture is like High School. It’s like that good old, wuz up, wuz up, thing… It maybe fun and games for most people again, extroverts, but for me I prefer hanging out with the geeks and nerds trying to figure out where it was the chicken or egg.

    PS. EW he said something unpopular and naughty, hall monitor, sorry, I mean administrator !

  • venajensen

    I like to “Like” articles and images that resonate with me and that I think a particular audience (I have several audiences – besides the one in my mind LOL) might want to know about.  You have to remember that probably very few of the people in your network will see your “Like” but maybe they will.  I’ve “Liked” things I never expected people to respond to and I’ve “Liked” things I hoped would get a response that never did.  It’s a crap shoot for sure.  But if you don’t put it out there you won’t know whether people will respond or not.

  • Roundpeg

    There is a huge difference between activity and productivity. Sometimes it makes sense to so a little less, but do it well:   

    Take the time to read the whole article and leave a comment instead of just reading the first paragraph and liking it. 

    Engage in real conversations, not just long #FF lists and RT circles.

    Build real relationships

  • EDM Machines

    So not so much the quantity but the quality of the sharing is what is actually going to show a return. 1000s of shares are awesome but when you sell paper and you are sharing with music and movie lovers, not going to get very far. Well done.

  • Tony Bennett

    Anyone can game the system, but that’s not going to sustain long term success. When your content is strong enough to add value for the powers that be, and they share with a personal recommendation, you’re headed in the right direction. I’d much prefer a tweet and comment on my blog from you, Scott Stratten, Pam Moore, or Jessica Northey than thousands of tweets from people that are far less authoritative. I focus on building quality relationships and adding value to them rather than blindly supporting anyone with a popular. Great Read Chris!

  • Carly

    I am an intern with a small museum in Pennsylvania and this post made me think about what it really means when someone retweets one of our tweets, or likes a post we put on Facebook.  This definitely got the gears turning for me and made me realize that the quality of the organizations and people that are “liking” our Facebook page, or actually passing on information about our museum is far more important that simply having 600 “likes” on a post. I will now be more focused on filtering out the potentially important retweets, reposts, or likes on our social media platforms and focusing on what specific information in our posts was important to those influential people. Thanks!

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  • khirehyret

    This viewpoint seems to offer me well, and I don’t get stalled in stressing about the re tweets, prefers, etc.  Some of my present customers met me years ago, but we didn’t do business together until recently.

  • Charles Montgomery

    Hah!  The first three paragraphs are almost depressing… :-)

    I think it definitely comes down to conversions if you’re selling something – but perhaps another metric that isn’t being considered is just eyeballs, CPM if you will, the all important brand recognition… that’s where the busy-ness may have more value than is being credited here…Then you conclude with the pure intention of just connecting with others – that is always a good objective and one you do well…

  • Ayeen Benoza

    It’s quite amazing how social media has made the “share” link so powerful.  A higher feedback rate is based on the comments, likes and shares rather than a mere click.  This is why most pages should make their posts engaging enough for people and fans to spread the word.

  • clensyavis

    It is definitely true that as now a time people have started to make use of social media more and more blindly and without any planning but the question is what are the outcomes of it, nothing! So before making use of any media just to be known, first think will it provide meaningful results for the business or for the community and then only do the planning and do the work as per the planning and in the right direction and this thing will make you succeed.

  • Allenbrayan

    Since three years, I am running my website. Sometime I faced problem regarding leads and sometime not. I don’t understand why these things occurs to my website, I do everything and monitor my “ROI”, still I feel something is missing . If you have any ideas about leads, so kindly let me know

  • Drew Mitchell

    I believe that shares, RTs, and other social passing of information is
    important, I agree that it should sometimes be taken with a grain of
    salt. Although it is easy to get hyped up about how many fans or
    followers we have, nothing matters if they are not engaged followers.

    I have heard many friends in the business say, “Oh, wow! We got 20 new Facebook likes today.”

    Great. If that’s all you care about.

    care about conversations with those who are loyal to my brand. I want
    to actually hear their thoughts not just have some quantitative report
    that people are reading what I am saying. Truth be told, they probably
    are not. Leave content open for comments and encourage conversation:
    that’s the best online PR I have ever seen.