The Psychology of Social Sharing

Friday 17th, June 2016

social photo

How do you persuade people to share your content?

There’s no simple answer for that.

A study conducted by The New York Times’ Customer Insight Group has discovered that there are 5 key reasons why people decide to share something on social media.

  1. To present valuable and entertaining content to others: 49% of the people say sharing allows them to inform people about the products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.
  2. To define ourselves to others:68% of the people share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships:78% of the people share information online because it lets them stay connected to people.
  4. Self-fulfillment:69% of the people share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world.
  5. To get the word out about causes or brands:84% of the people share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.

It all boils down to relationships. People share content from those whom they like and trust.

So what do you do with all this? How is it relevant to your business?

Let’s look at some techniques that you can apply in your content strategy.

Provide value to your readers – Every. Single. Time.

If your readers are sharing content that they know, like, and trust, then one of the most important aspects of your content has to be the sheer value that it provides.

Ask yourself, “What will my readers get in exchange for their time spent consuming my content? Will it be worth their time? Don’t forget that the value you provide instantly makes your content more sharable.

You might also consider other options.

  • Make your content more actionable to your visitors. People love putting advice into action.
  • Strive to provide more value than your previous post. Content quality should increase gradually.
  • Generate content that is new and useful to your readers.
  • Consider visual content such as infographics and video to grab viewer attention at the same explain complex topics in a captivating manner.

Make Your Readers Feel Valuable

One of the respondents of the New York Times’ study was quoted saying ‘getting comments that I sent great information and that my friends will forward it to their friends because it’s so helpful. It makes me feel valuable.’

Not only does your content help your readers become an expert in the field, it also makes them look like one in front of their peers.

To Get the Word Out

The obvious reason of all for your readers to share your content is because they simply love it, and believe in what you have to say.

Of course, this type of attention has to be earned, but that doesn’t make it out of reach for anyone. You need to work relentlessly to make sure that our content is always of high quality.

Ultimately one of the best ways to get people to share content is to simply produce great content. Every. Single. Time. This might sound to be a tired call, but it doesn’t make it any less important.


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