An underlying premise of social networking is the authenticity and credibility of your social graph. When people who you have networked with digitally recommend information, experience or products, you are likely to lend their recommendations more credibility than someone you don’t know. Facebook and Twitter make this kind of socially-curated content sharing incredibly convenient to do.

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MINOnline shares recent data from Hitwise that shows just how much impact content sharing has. The chart to the left shows the share of click-thrus to news and media sites from Google News and Facebook. Since May, Facebook has increased its share of upstream click-thrus significantly against Google News.

Some of the phenomenon is driven by scale: Google News has about 63 million visits a month, compared to 2.7 billion for Facebook. But more of the phenomenon is driven by the way people use Facebook; according to the company, more than 3.5 million pieces of content — web links, news stories, blog posts, etc. — are shared by Facebook users each week. People are filtering content, and are looking for content filtered by the members of their social graph.

This trend underscores the opportunities for marketers and media brands.

For a marketer, when a consumer has elected to include your brand in their social graph, they will be receptive to shared content. An effective content-marketing program, which attempts to educate, enlighten and entertain consumers about your brand is an effective way to increase awareness and drive web traffic.

For a media brand, the concept of curating content becomes an important component of your strategy for connecting with an audience. People have a large appetite for content; the increase in the proportion of content that they are accessing through trusted connections suggest that people are looking into their social graph to ensure a good content experience. When a consumer includes a media brand in their social graph, they are inviting that brand to help guide their exploration of good content. It doesn’t all have to be original. It does all have to be useful and relevant to the brand experience.

This shift toward accessing content through curated networks will only increase in the future. Media and marketing brands have an opportunity to increase their brand footprint if they become active and useful participants in the phenomenon.