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5 Motivations for Sharing Content

Sharing on a social web drives millions of hits for viral videos, motivates people to email humorous articles  and makes content spread at the speed of a “click”.5 Motivations for Sharing Content Online

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Humans have always shared.. …it is in our nature but the information age has accelerated that sharing. It is estimated that every 2 days we create as much information as we did since the dawn of time till 2003.

In 60 seconds we find and share vast amounts of content in all its different types of media.

  • Perform nearly 700,000 searches
  • Upload 600 videos to YouTube
  • Share 80,000 Facebook wall posts

We share more content, from more sources with more people than ever before.

Sharing is Powerful

Sharing is powerful online as it is seen as credible and trustworthy and we will believe our friends before a marketing message from a brand.

The New York Times in conjunction with Customer Insight Group and Latitude Research  has released a study which reveals the psychology of sharing. This is first of its kind inquiry into motivations of why people share.

The study wanted to find why campaigns such as “Will it Blend” or the “Old Spice” marketing were so successful and why they were shared.

It looked at why people share online, discovered 6 personas of sharers and what are key factors that influence sharing.  These are all important to marketers to understand why their content is passed around online

5 Motivations for Sharing

According to the study sharing is driven by these 5 motivators.

1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others

2. To define ourselves to others

3. To grow and nourish our relationships

4. Self -fulfillment

5. To get the word out about causes and brands

In essence it is about relationships both weak and strong.

The Six Personas of Online Sharers

The study also revealed 6 types of personas

1. Altruists

These people were found to be helpful, reliable and used email as their primary sharing medium

Altruist Persona

2. Careerists

LinkedIn was their primary social network and were professionally and career minded and shared ideas on how their company can help their customers.

3. Boomerangs

The boomerangs shared to get a response. They wanted validation and were likely to use Twitter and Facebook.

Boomerang Persona

4. Hipsters

They were the more creative type and wanted to be seen as a leading edge. They were less likely to use email and saw sharing as part of who they are.

5. Connectors

This persona valued making plans and were seen as thoughtful. Preferred communication for sharing was email and Facebook

Connector persona

6. Selectives

They only shared if they believed the information would be relevant for the receiver of the information. They preferred email as their sharing channel.

Key Factors to Influence Sharing

As a marketer these are the primary elements that you need address if you want your ideas and content shared online

  • Appeal to customers motivation to connect with each other – not just your brand
  • Trust is the cost of entry of getting shared
  • Keep it simple and it will get shared – it won’t get muddled
  • Appeal to their sense of humor
  • Embrace a sense of urgency

What was revealing about the study was that despite the hype with sharing on social media, email was still vital in sharing online.

What was also discovered that the act of sharing facilitated a bonus for the sharer with better retention of information.

What have you shared lately?

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