Content sharing functions as the building blocks for our digital landscape. Understanding what we share and how and why we share can make navigating the digital world much smoother.
Liking, saving and sharing seem to be the building blocks of our digital world. Everyday millions of people interact with all types of content on all types of platforms. This content doesn’t come from nowhere, it is the product of content sharing. Social media and digital marketers use content sharing as a way to market and push their products to the forefront of your feed. It’s been around since the dinosaur ages of digital marketing, beginning with an email chain and now working it’s way up to your Instagram Stories. Still why do we share anything at all and why do companies and users alike feel compelled to engage in content sharing? This question has more answers than you think.
To break it down, content sharing essentially refers to the strategic distribution of content across relevant social media platforms. With content sharing, intention matters. The goal for many is to build engagement and referral traffic. It’s basically the holy grail of marketing. The platforms can be just about anything too. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all fair game along with countless others.
While it’s used in multiple different capacities today, content sharing has its roots in psychology. Our marketing landscape is customer-centric meaning everything tends to revolve around the consumer. Still, beyond that the majority of our culture is self-centered. No, this doesn’t mean that we are all selfish, it just means that we typically engage in activities that have a personal benefit — even if we aren’t aware we receive it.
People share to create value for others
The reason why we share fits into the notion of being self-centered. When we share we satisfy a variety of needs such as the need to be heard, understood, seen, etc. Marketing companies work to share content that satisfies these needs. Social media marketers harness psychological power to create and share content that will reach their relevant audience and produce traffic. Think about the need to feel understood. We have all seen those ads that have that relatable moment and think to ourselves about how that product could serve us. These ads are the ones that stick because they address a specific need.
People share to see if their views align with others
However, there are reasons why we share beyond marketing. There are many different psychological motivations as to why people share on a daily basis. For starters, many of us wish to define ourselves to others. According to a New York Times survey, 68% of online users say they share to give others a sense of what they care about.
To create relationships/ build a community
Even beyond this, many share to grow and nourish relationships. This makes sense, of course. After all, being online is one of the primary methods of connecting with others in today’s world, so it is no surprise that the content we share also serves the same purpose. Remixed Foundation Marketing surveyed a general online population and found that 73% of online users share information because it helps them connect with others who share common interests.
Lastly, we share for self-fulfillment. This idea fits right in with the psychology that our digital world is centered around the idea of oneself. Getting comments, likes, and seeing interaction with posts makes people feel seen and valuable. These are basic needs that are being fulfilled. Branding is also a major factor in sharing. Many influencers, businesses, and even everyday users share to promote their brand and make it seen.
What we share is just as important as why we share. Today, the type of content we share online really runs the gambit. Photos, articles, news, and videos can all pop up on our feed at any moment. Still, there seems to be a trend in what type of content is shared the most.
An incredibly popular form of content to share is ephemeral content. This is any type of content that is available for a limited amount of time. For example, Instagram Stories are a very popular form of ephemeral content. In fact, platforms that use this content like Instagram Stories and Snapchat have about 250 million active users. Alongside the fast appearing and disappearing content of Instagram Stories, breaking news also makes the list of shared content. In fact, 31% of Americans regularly get their news from Facebook and around 59% regularly source news from Twitter. Lastly, we couldn’t talk about popular content without talking about paid advertising. In fact, 928.5 million people can be reached by paid ads on Instagram making paid ads a large bulk of content being shared online.
Of course, what we share can be traced back to why. We share what is relevant to us and what helps us fulfill basic needs. Whether it is connecting with others, being seen, or self-promotion, what we share fits right into the content sharing picture.
The way we share fits perfectly with what we share as many social media platforms are optimized for types of content we like to see and post. Many people will post their own content or circulate the posts of others. Commenting, liking and tagging are all ways that users frequently engage with content sharing. Businesses and marketers know this too. The basic psychology of needs is the reason why we share online and why content sharing on the part of social media marketers works so well. It makes sense, content sharing is useful for large and small businesses alike. Even social media influencers and small brands use it on a daily basis. The way we share matters as certain methods and strategies have better impact than others.
The methods in which we engage with social media can have direct rewards for brands such as promoting awareness, lead generation, SEO improvements, engagement, and a boost in sales. Sharing content in a way that is high quality and relatable makes your business appear trustworthy and personable. In the end, this can increase sales, views and so much more, leading to organic growth. THe following are the main ways people share content online.
List the type of content people typically share and have a small summary below it describing the type of content
News articles are frequently shared by publishers and professional journalists often on sites that develop and release premium content. These articles are popular re-posting material on Instagram and Twitter. They are perhaps some of the most shareable content.
Memes have been around for ages but the digital age took the concept to a new level. This type of content often provides humorous and reliable videos, photos, or text. Their relatability factor is what makes them popular and memes often provide commentary on current culture.
Videos are hugely popular and come in many different forms. From shorter content like instagram reels and TikToks to longer formats often produced on YouTube, Netflix, and other television and film streaming services. Because of their flexibility in format, videos can be used almost anywhere across the web.
Perhaps the most common form of content sharing, social media posts can include almost all of the above. People frequently share memes, latest news, and short form videos that can incorporate all the reasons why we share: to be seen, to build branding, to sell, and even to educate.
With multiple ways to share come multiple pros and cons. It is important to be aware of the impact content sharing can have.
The benefits of content sharing include a re-share value. When something is shared once, there is a potential virality behind it. This means that a user or brand can gain more traction and visibility from a single content form. Another pro is that sharing content allows for consumer to brand interaction on a scale that has never been seen before. The ability to comment, like, or share a post allows brands a type of facetime with their audience. This boosts consumer confidence and helps brands tap into their niche.
Some negatives of content sharing mostly revolve around the cost and the principle that when you share, you lose some control over your information. First, the cost to boost a post, target ads, or pay for influencer marketing can be a massive undertaking for a brand. Second, when a user shares content online, they are allowing some forms of data to be tracked by the platform itself or marketers that are trying to target them with ads.
With the multitude of sharing platforms out there it is easy to get lost in the nitty gritty. When looking for the platform that is right for you, it is important to consider what type of content you are sharing, whether or not the platform is popular for that type of content, and how many users typically engage with the platform and content type. Below is a list with some helpful tips about everything a particular platform can offer you on your content sharing journey.
Simply put, Facebook is huge. In 2020, it surpassed 2.6 billion users per month and an average of 1.85 billion people use it daily. It is easy to see why it is an essential platform for sharing content. Facebook has benefits for business owners in that it allows you to share multiple types of content. This can be anything from videos, to text, photos, and more. It also has the largest reach of any platform. It allows for easy connection between consumer and business owner either privately or publicly.
Youtube is the premiere website for video content. It is free for all and with more than 2 billion users it is a great platform to utilize for content sharing. YouTube is excellent for video tutorials, entertainment, and so much more. As a bonus, YouTube is one of the largest advertising platforms on the web including pop-ups and mid-roll ads in videos. This means that it is easier than ever to monetize your content.
Twitter has revolutionized online communication. It is essentially a microblogging platform that allows people to share anything on their mind within 280 characters. Despite its brevity and the lack of immediate business association, it is still a powerful tool to use for content sharing. It has over 330 million users per month and it is a great way to grow your brand and add a personal touch. It is great for quick updates and answering customer questions. You can also use it to link to your blog or post images.
Pinterest is excellent for content curation and image sharing. Not only can you curate different Pinterest boards you can post content to the site for others to pin. It has proven useful for business with an average of 84% of Pinterest users deciding what to purchase through it.
Instagram is the top dog when it comes to photo sharing apps. It has strong ties to lifestyle and consumerism content. Plus, it’s used by some of the largest companies on the planet. Brands like Apple and Starbucks use Instagram regularly for sharing content and promoting their brands’ persona. Instagram is not just used for photo sharing, the app also allows you to write text to accompany your images. This opens the door to boost SEO by including hashtags to increase your follower count and traffic.
TikTok is all about quick, lighthearted video content. It is relatively new to the social media scene, but it has more than proven its success with over 800 million active users and 2 billion+ downloads. While it was initially used as a viral dance and lip-syncing app, it has grown to expand its content type. Now it is being used by businesses to share new and exciting videos with their target audience.
Although it is commonly associated with networking and job searches, LinkedIn has more to offer than meets the eye. Being network-focused, it offers a new way to connect and share content. LinkedIn offers a great way to share industry expertise by posting relevant blog posts and other in-depth written content. It serves to make you appear like a true authority in your realm of business and is a great way to build corporate relationships that will better serve your business.
These two companies have been paving the way in podcast content. They offer direct publishing through software like Anchor and Simplecast to allow content creators the ability to publish their podcasts everywhere automatically.
The New York Times represents a massive market in online publishers producing premium content. Companies like the Herald Times, The Huffingtonpost and more are all producing premium news and entertainment articles online often behind paywalls.
Content sharing built the internet and digital space we know today. Through the creation and posting of videos, blogs, photos, and more, the digital world has cultivated an ecosystem of sharing, posting, and reposting. It is a fundamental building block of our digital landscape and now is the perfect time to get involved. With the right platform and choice of content type, building traffic and a strong following is easier than ever. Start using Invisibly today to learn more about how we share and why it matters.