How and Why We Share.


The arrival of social media has changed every aspect of our culture. We shop, date, talk, travel and work very differently than we did even just five years ago. Social Media has also fundamentally changed how we express ourselves.  “Sharing” used to mean letting someone else on the playground toss around your ball for a little bit. Now it’s become synonymous with posting our innermost thoughts for the world to see. 


The two biggest motivators in social media are downtime and boredom.


Studies show there are a number of reasons why we put so much time and energy into sharing our posts. Whether you’re oversharing or never sharing, there is no doubt your newsfeed is filled to the brim with people’s personal posts. But why do people share to begin with? What is it about sharing on social media that keeps people coming back for more? How can we as marketers tap in to that? Recent studies have shown that our motivations are far from modern. They touch on our very needs as human beings.

-Social validation. The more feedback we receive from our digital activity the more we will change and alter our actions. We post our ideas to the world and if the reaction is not what we had hoped for then we are much less likely to repeat it. 

– Change or alter our emotional state. We’re constantly looking for that next piece of entertainment and validation. The two biggest motivators in social media are downtime and boredom. When people have downtime or a moment of awkwardness they look to their phone. Next time you’re on the train or bus, pick your head up from your own smartphone and look around. You’ll notice that just about everyone is engaged with their personal devices. 


We want the world to know where we stand.


– Expand our influence and solidify our position. We share articles, clips, videos and content that amplifies what we agree with. We want the world to know where we stand and social media allows us to do that in unprecedented ways. Think about it this way, a Town Crier’s audience used to have a range of about 20 yards, a newspaper could connect with a geographically localized group, even television limits a person’s reach to only who is watching that network. Social media allows for humans to potentially reach millions of people all across the planet instantly.  It’s this potentially humungous audience that keeps people sharing and active. We seek to constantly expand our sphere of influence.

Affiliate to relieve stress. We are pack animals. Being welcomed and warmed by the pack is still something we desire. We seek that social acceptance. It makes us feel loved, wanted and secure in our current state. The more “likes” and positive comments we receive, the more accepted and loved we feel. As human beings we are drawn towards what is familiar and confirms our own world view.  


As human beings we are drawn towards what is familiar and confirms our own world view.  


How can a business use this behavioral knowledge to their advantage when crafting a social media campaign? Now that you understand what your audience desires from social media, you can then begin to tailor your social media message to them. No matter your product, it’s possible to create content that connects on an emotional level and encourages sharing without ever having to ask for it. It should be the goal of every content creator to tap into our desire to feel supported, loved and heard by our peers. That’s how you create champions for your brand.

– Michael Dennis, Digital Strategist & Content Creator


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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