Why do we share on social media?

Julia Bleken Østergaard

Understand why your audiences share on social medias and find out how your company can use this knowledge to create more sharable content.

Have you ever wondered what it is, that makes us share on Facebook, Linkedin and other types of social media?

A couple of years ago New York Times made a study which, to this date, is one of the most informative when it comes to what drives us on social media http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/. The study found that there are five main factors that play a role when sharing content on social media. 

Share the article on Facebook or Linkedin

 Facebook   LinkedIn

  • To provide valuable and entertaining content to ones network. 49% of the participants said that sharing enables them to inform others about products they like in order to make them see the value of the product. They also mentioned that sharing could make their network change their opinion about an issue that the participant finds important. Finally, the participants mentioned that they would share in order to make their network perform a specific action.
  • To define ourselves to others. 68% of the participants said, that they share in order to provide others with an idea of who they are and what they are passionate about.
  • To nurture our relationship with others. 78% of the participants said that they share information online because it enables them to keep in contact with people that they might otherwise loose contact with.
  • For self realization. 69% said that they share information in order to feel more involved in the world.
  • To spread knowledge about issues you care about. 84% of the participants mentioned that sharing on social media was a good way for them to support cases or problems that they are passionate about.

How can you use this knowledge as marketing manager?

  • Go in depth with one of these needs in your posts. It is okay if some of the posts overlap but try, as far as possible, to focus on fulfilling one, as it otherwise could become a rather confusing post. 
  • Strive for creating entertaining and useful content, that through being shared on social media can make the user seem smart, cool of insightful.
  • Create the content so that your audience, by sharing the post, can show more of themselves and who they are to others.
  • Make content that enables your user to interact with their network through the post.



When it comes to gamification campaigns some of these factors come into play depending on how the campaign gets shared on social media.

1. The users share the game with their network

When a user chooses to share the game with their network it will most often be to fulfill the first need; namely to provide valuable and entertaining content to ones network. Your user has participated in the game, found it entertaining and, thereby want their network to take share in the joy by participating. It could also be due to there being a great prize, that the user wants to give his or her network the opportunity to win. 

2. The users shares the result with their network

When your user has participated in your game and gotten a result, the motivation for sharing the result will usually be to define one self to others. In the example above the player became the "overachiever" and wanted to share this with his or her network as it says something about the user as a person.