As a marketer, I am constantly immersing myself in blogs, articles and guides in order to keep up with the ever changing online landscape. As a social media director, I am always on the lookout for the holy grail of social: how does your content get shared by others? Bombarded with How-To’s and vague promises, I decided to ask a more relevant question: why do we share?
Sharing is not new, it’s human nature. Even before the days of Internet and social platforms, we shared relevant and important information through various mediums.The only thing that has changed is that we share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often. Still with me? The only way to understand the real reason why people share is to understand the underlying psychology.
Based on a recent study, each share comes from different psychological factors that all tie into building and maintaining relationships. These include:
- Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
- To define ourselves to others
- To grow and nourish relationships
- To promote causes and brands we care about
Another study argues that sharing comes from a deeper level of emotional responses. Researchers believe that the act of sharing could be sparked by evoking emotions such as:
Judging from these studies, we can conclude there is a certain science behind sharing content online. Another key take away is that there is a spectrum of emotions, whether positive or negative, that will incite users to click “share.” So now that we have an understanding as to why people share, how can you use this information to your favor ?
- Appeal to your audience’s motivations: they are following you for a reason and it’s not just to connect with you, but to connect with others who care and know about you.
- Establish trust with your users: no one shares content they don’t find credible.
- Keep the message simple: you can’t expect users to share content if they don’t understand it.
- Appeal to emotions: be true to your persona whether it be controversial, inspirational, or amusing.
Keep these tips in mind next time you make a post on any social platform. It’s not an exact science but they can certainly increase your chances of “getting shared.”