By Jeffrey Foster and Erik Bergman
Social media has made sharing a thing. Sharing occurs on a vast scale, and at hyperspeed, across digital channels when the latest hot item goes viral, and hordes of people are all sharing the same thing. Due to the flood of cat videos we face, you might reasonably think that people share stories online because the content is funny, entertaining or relevant. It makes sense that people pass along stuff they find heartwarming or silly, right?
But a close look at our Stories in Motion (SiM) data reveals a different truth. We looked into the quantitative indicators (research-speak for reasons!) as to why people in the U.S. and the U.K. share content, and the results for funny, entertaining or relevant look like this:
These three reasons all rank much lower than the actual top reasons people give for why they share content. Survey respondents told us this about the content they pass along to their networks:
Note that these numbers are much higher than the first set.
Why is this significant to communications, especially those that serve a business purpose, rather than mere amusement?
To encourage sharing, build your content around the top reasons that motivate the audience to share. From the start, aim to include solid details on features and business-relevant ideas, and then make the story as compelling, helpful and informative as possible. Make it important to your audience — and to what they care about.
And if you think you can work in a cute cat video too, well, we leave that up to your creativity.