Have you ever wondered why some of the social media content goes viral? Or why seemingly strange social media patterns are catching fire and others falling flat?
Believe it or not, the reason why people like, comment, and share online is a whole lot of science behind.
Understanding social media psychology and why people share online is the first step in creating better experiences, stronger relationships and exponentially higher content in marketing.
What hasn’t changed is that humans share to satisfy universal needs for primal reasons. We scoped expert opinion to arrive at a digest of some key reasons why people share. The question is, how many of these do you hit with the content?
With so much content to share with in our lives and so many people, many users find sharing is a useful way to manage information. According to the study in the New York Times, “85 percent of respondents said reading the responses from other people helps them understand and process information and events. 73 percent said that when they share it, they process information more deeply, deeply and thoughtfully.’
People want to stay connected
People are social creatures and we like interacting in group settings. That used to happen only in places such as church, school, work, parties, restaurants — places where you went. Now, we have that same type of group connectivity with social media all the time.
With these online connections, we can not possibly mingle with everybody in our network — as we can at a party — so our way to “connect” with everybody in our group is to like, comment and share their posts. It seems simplistic but it’s the starting point to understand why people like content and share it.
Also from the Psych Mechanics blog; basically we all need to be wanted, liked and cared for, but if someone is hungry for growing up, they may be posting more regularly on social media to fill their “attention tanks.”
To define themselves to other people.
The things that you share reflect who you are – your political convictions, your personal taste, your interests, etc. Nearly 7 out of 10 people are sharing things specifically to cultivate an image and to define / reinforce their identity.
How To Make People Want To Share Your Content
Establish trust in as many ways as you can
Websites are like promises: they can be made by anyone but without confidence they don’t mean anything. If your audience has no reason to trust you and your brand, or if they think others might hesitate to trust you, they will not be bothering to share. Their credibility is based on your credibility-so it would be better to build a few. Even something as simple as a professional-looking, polished website can give you a serious edge.
Write strong headlines
An emotionally grabbing your readers is one of the most important keys to writing good headlines. There’s a tool that can measure, and even score, the emotional power of your headlines. It’s the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.
This tool is helpful, but don’t abuse it. Don’t promise things in a headline you can’t deliver it in your content. Facebook recently named this “linkbaiting,” and has banned it.
Write information gaps to spark curiosity
According to research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, people are keen to consume and share content that provides clarity around an unknown topic. The study also raises the idea of gaps in information – powerful motivators for people to seek clarity on a subject.
In other words, the addition of information gaps to your content encourages people not only to continue reading but also to share your content.
Ask people (nicely) to share your content.
You can not expect to get what you want without asking for it, just like with everything. However, it is important that the right people are asked in the right way. Blasted out to your social networks, a blanket, “Hey, share my post!” probably won’t see many results. Ask specific people, instead. Tell them how they, and their followers, will benefit. Does the article you’ve written contain valuable information for their audience? That is the sort of profit that will encourage someone to share it.
As marketers we want to share our content. But our goal should be more than just the number, reaching the right audience. Consider these practical ways to get more social shares, but don’t overlook the fact that you have to produce great content to make people find you relevant, and don’t think twice about sharing it.