The landscape of social media is ever-changing.
Almost every week, a new algorithm is released, a platform’s design is updated, and a new “best practise” tip or trick is announced, all promising to increase your audience engagement.
The human element is consistent throughout mediums and centuries.
People are very consistent in the kind of media they enjoy and share online. It’s true that things like media cycles and fads can have an effect. However, the same, fundamental aspects of human nature drive the sorts of things that are shared and the reasons we share it.
Slidely has released a brand new infographic that breaks down the who, what, and why of social sharing. The infographic, which is a compilation of data from many research, reveals not just patterns of behaviour but also genuine human insight into the motivations behind certain types of online sharing.
The “best times to post” information isn’t the only valuable nugget in here, though.
Emotions are what drive people first and foremost.
Twenty-five percent of social media users report being inspired to share by wonder, as seen in the infographic. After that, 17% of people will share a post because it made them laugh, followed by 15% who will share it because they found the content humorous. Even negative emotions play a part, with over 20% of respondents admitting to have shared something that made them angry.
We can learn from this about how to make material more likely to be shared:
- Titles and descriptions should use highly emotive language.
- Always look for the personal and emotional perspective beneath the surface of the text.
- Don’t stifle your bad feelings; they’ll drive you to take action.
Second, media serves as a tool for self-expression and development. What we broadcast to our friends and followers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter sends a message about who we are, what we care about, and how we think.
About a third of users report using social media to help them preserve a positive perception of themselves or their identity. In addition, forty percent of respondents admit they distribute information only for the purpose of gaining social capital. Finally, over two-thirds of those who answered the survey said they never share anything that may be considered negative publicity.
In other words, individuals are reluctant to provide information that might lead to unwanted attention.
This also reveals potential avenues for using these psychological triggers to increase content sharing and user engagement:
- Develop material geared towards certain audiences that touches on themes of self-expression and identity.
- Try to find a way to tie what you’re writing into the bigger story of who these individuals are.
- Think about how your material could make the other person look.
Of course, there will always be a tremendous deal of imagination and skill required to produce material that goes viral. There is some science involved, though.
Your company can create and test a plan that is certain to increase shares, engagement, and traffic by understanding the underlying reasons that drive people to share and aligning it with the reality of logistics such as the optimal places and times for social media interaction.