Scott Dylan talks the business of social sharing: Why do we share online?

By Scott Dylan

A huge number of us share content online, whether we re-pin a cute image on Pinterest or retweet a hilarious video on Twitter. But what is it about a piece of content that makes us feel that we need to pass it on, to broadcast it to everyone we know? Discovering what it is that makes people share content is a great learning curve for businesses that want to market themselves online, and it will become increasingly important in the next few years for businesses to have an integral understanding of how to create content that will generate this kind of action, rather than slipping lower and lower down news feeds, never to be shared or engaged with.

Studies have shown that 94% of people share because of the ‘value and entertainment’ factor. A cute cat picture, a funny prank going wrong, a mind-blowingly good audition from an unknown TV talent show; they are all hits online and it’s largely because they offer great entertainment. 84% of shares also promote specific causes. We have all seen them on our feed; a JustGiving page for an upcoming charity event, an online petition to stop animal cruelty or raise awareness about a rare illness. They generate links effectively and they provoke interest in those scrolling down news feeds, prompting shares across every network.

Other people post shares in order to nourish their relationships and as a form of self-fulfilment, but one of the other most interesting reasons why people share things is to define their identity. This is something that brands must be adept at doing if they are going to shape a coherent social strategy online. There must be a strong and consistent brand identity, and all content that is shared must be in alignment with that identity.

With such an emphasis on the importance of sharing, it is crucial for businesses to get it right. The onus for businesses now is not just on creating their own original content that is ripe for sharing, but also sharing content that is relevant to their target audience. Businesses must ensure that they establish what gets their audience sharing and what leaves them cold over the next few years, as social sharing looks set to be one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences on social media for businesses and brands.

About the author

Specialist in all things digital, Scott Dylan has worked alongside some of the most famous brands in the world in order to optimise web campaigns and generate astonishing results. From PPC to SEO via social media and content marketing, the web consultant has occupied the digital sphere for eleven years and can help to enhance any web campaign.  

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