We live in the Information Age.

More information is being shared online today than ever before!

We share MORE content from MORE sources, with MORE people, MORE often, MORE quickly.

More! More! And more!

The online ecosystem is becoming increasingly diluted with content, ever since the “Content Marketing” became a common vocabulary term.

The addition of this “content” floating around online makes it more difficult for customers to discover relevant content that they’re looking for, and for brands to create higher quality content they’ll want to share.

In order for companies to break through the noise and fight for customers’ attention, it’s important to understand WHY behind the share.


So, today we are looking at WHY we share

Understanding the motivational forces behind the act of sharing will help you improve your content marketing and social media efforts.

Tell me, does this sound familiar to you…

  • Do you spend time on social media and content marketing, but don’t get the results you want?
  • Are you not sure what information you should be sharing?
  • Do you feel like you put time and energy into social media, but don’t get the likes, shares, and retweets you feel you deserve?

If anything above sounds like something you can relate to, then this article is for you!

Let’s jump into what you really need to know about why people share content and what type of content you should create to increase your social reach.



The New York Times studied why people share what they share online. They also did a deep dive into analyzing if these people were of distinct personalities and had distinct motivations.

Let’s look at their findings, shall we…


5 Reasons People Share Content Online

5 Reasons People Share Content Online

  1. To bring value and entertaining content to others
    People share content to improve the lives of other people. They do this by providing helpful information or by spreading information they think will entertain or make others laugh. 94% of the people interviewed said they carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient, and 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.
  2. To define themselves to other people
    People share information that they feel reflects who they are. 68% of people share to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
  1. To grow and enrich existing relationships
    Sharing similar interests is a natural way to connect with people. 78% of people share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they might not otherwise stay in touch with.
  1. To feel a sense of self-fulfillment
    Everyone wants to feel like they’re providing value to others. 69% of people online share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world.
  1. To get the word out
    84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.


Online Sharing Personas

Image Source: Foundation Marketing

Online Sharing Personas

These segments (personas) are defined by emotional motivations, desired presentation of self, the role of sharing in life, and value of being first to share.

There are 6 Personas of Sharers

  1. Altruists
    The altruists share content because they want to look helpful, reliable, thoughtful, and connected. They are more tending to choose email option over other mediums.
  2. Careerists
    The careerists share content because they choose to be more valuable and intelligent. They want to be a part of the network of professionals.
  3. Hipsters
    The hipsters are driven by the latest trends and fashions. They are, generally, young people who want to have their own unique identity, present themselves as more creative and want to be more popular. They don’t want to use old systems like emails to get connected, but they want to use the latest technology and want to look smart.
  4. Boomerangs
    The boomerangs are driven by the emotion of getting noticed. They seek validations and reactions after sharing content. They want to be empowered. They use platforms like Twitter and Facebook where people keep on discussing nitty-gritty things for a long time.
  5. Connectors
    The connectors are driven by their positivity, creativity, thoughtfulness, calmness, and believe in making plans. They are open to using old methods of sharing like emails as well as latest platforms like Facebook.
  6. Selective
    The selective are driven by their caring nature and they are resourceful, thoughtful, and informative. They understand that email is a kind of personal care.


7 Things to Consider When You Want More Shares

7 Things to Consider When You Want More Shares

  1. Sharing is how consumers connect with each OTHER, not with YOU.
    That might be big news to some people. You need to appeal to consumers’ motivation to connect with each other — not just with your brand.
  2. Trust is the cost of entry for getting shared.
    Your audience has to trust you to want to share your information.
  3. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
    The simpler, the better. Keep it simple… and it will get shared!
  4. Have a sense of humor.
    You need to be able to appeal to your audience’s sense of humor.
  5. Embrace a sense of urgency.
    Timely and relevant information is more likely to get shared.
  1. Engage after the fact.
    Getting your content shared is just the beginning.
    The process should look like this…
    Get shared >> Get shared again >> Listen >> Get credit for responding >> Respond
  2. Email is still #1!
    Never underestimate the value of email! Remember, if Twitter goes down tomorrow, you don’t want to lose contact with your 15.5K followers.


Information for this post was gathered from a study conducted by the customer research division of the New York Times and a remixed version of the study presented by Foundation Marketing.