During the World Cup this summer, marketers immediately started using Luis Suarez’s biting of Italian defender Giorgio Chielini as a hook on which to hang all sorts of tweets and posts.

It’s easy to see why. In new research, the content-sharing platform, ShareThis reveals that people are 5 times more likely to click on links related to an event within the first 24 hours than they are as the event gets stale. In other words, when it comes to social media, the early bird gets the retweet.

ShareThis found other interesting social media and mobile trends. Monitoring the shared items from Facebook, Twitter and Reddit last quarter, they discovered the following:

  • Platform usage is context-dependent. Entertainment events are more likely to be discussed on Facebook, while sporting events (and live news events), like the NFL Kickoff or the Napa earthquake, are more likely to be discussed on Twitter. Reddit tends to be the dominant platform for political and international discussion.
  • Timing is crucial when posting to certain social networks. Facebook tends to be the dominant platform to discuss and publish stories 2-3 weeks around an event; but Twitter and Reddit are more reactive, dominating 2 to 3 days around an event.
  • Within 24 hours of a major event, 85% of sharing occurs on mobile devices.
  • Between 8PM and 10PM, a majority of sharing and discussion occurs while using tablets.
  • Events boost conversations to event-related topics, as well. For example, during Shark Week, there was a 16x surge in animal- and nature-related sharing.
  • Millenials are often first to react to events on social media, sharing 2.1x more during the first 24 hours.
  • News events like the Napa earthquake and the Ferguson riots are highly localized with sharing. Missouri saw a 7.7x surge during the riots.

What this means for small businesses

Use the best channels for type of event.

Twitter and Reddit immediately surrounding an event; Facebook in the weeks leading up and after. But also remember context: If your customers like sports, stick more to Twitter. If they like politics, Reddit. If they love Hollywood, Facebook.

If you’re marketing to Millennials, ACT FAST.

Like, within the first 24 hours of an event.

Make sure your website is designed to be responsive.

Responsive design ensures that your website has the ability to be viewed on mobile devices and tablets. As the quick retweet is likely to be via mobile, a website not using responsive design is going to miss an increasing number of chances to be seen and shared.

Featured image: ThinkStock.com