Social Media: What Makes Users Want To Share?

Are you a great marketer? Maybe you’re the bee’s knees when it comes to PR, or could sell snow to the Eskimos.

Well, we’d have to congratulate you on your success, but we’d also like to ask you a follow up question to temper that praise a little: if you’re such a whizz at marketing, does that necessarily mean you’re a natural and great social media marketer? The answer sadly is no: the one skill doesn’t necessarily translate onto other platforms. The reason these skills don’t translate is because many marketers are missing the fundamental point of social media marketing, and that is the social media is only effective if people are willing to share the content you’ve provided, and these users only share content that they consider to be useful and valuable.

Users generally will share content if they’ve been impressed with the product a business offers or its willingness to engage with the community. Sharing only works if it makes users feel good in some form or fashion. Now you may wonder why this issue is so important.

Well, that’s simple really.

Any business which uses the social media wants to build a community, and you ideally want members of this community to share your content with others: the more they share, the wider your message is spread. It’s all about networking which is one of marketing’s more fundamental concepts. But what marketers often overlook is the fact that the size of your network will always be smaller than the size of your network’s network, so you need to take these people on the journey with you.

So why do people share content?

Product Involvement.

Product involvement is the most important reason why people talk to their friends about the products they encounter. Roughly 33 percent of word of mouth endorsements are based upon positive experiences with products. The higher customers value a product or service, the more likely it is they’ll want to share this product with their friends. Social media marketers need to build on this positivity and create an equally positive and uplifting online experience. If the experience is either as surprising or as fulfilling then users will tell their friends.

Self Involvement.

If you don’t produce or manufacture a product that blows people away, then you’ll have to give your audience something else that they’ll want to share. Self involvement, counts for about 24% of social media shares. Users like to feel like they have inside information: if you can provide this information then users will start to feel good about themselves.  Everyone likes to think they are an expert in some area, and like it even more when their friends look up to them for it. So if you can share your knowledge or share your opinion by sharing content crafted by a brand, that symbiotic relationship will definitely increase the number of shares.

Involving Others.

Not all users are self-obsessed or are driven by self-interest. Some users like to do things and share information that they feel may help their friends. It’s believed that this involvement of others accounts roughly for 20 percent of social media shares. Users will recommend products or services they feel their friends may find useful, or share negative comments about products they feel their friends should avoid. It’s not wholly altruistic though: helping others can also make us feel good about ourselves too.

Message Involvement.

If message involvement wasn’t important, why do people bother to share funny videos of singing dogs, or share articles about computer viruses or faulty products? If the message is considered important enough, or humorous enough, then it will be shared by users. Statistically 20 percent of users will share messages like these, so this factor remains an important consideration.

So does your content fir either one or all of these criteria? If it does then it is far more likely to be shared by your followers. If your content doesn’t tick any of these boxes, then it’s probably not worth posting online. It doesn’t matter what the form of your content is, be that blogs, emails, videos or status updates, marketers should always be thinking about the share factor and search engine ranking ability of the content.

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