In 2011, the New York Time Consumer Insight Group conducted a study titled, “The Psychology of Sharing”. Its aim was to find out what motivates people to share information online.
Having carried out face-to-face interviews, a one-week sharing panel and a survey of 2,500 online sharers, the study revealed five primary reasons motivations for sharing:
- To better the lives of others (94%)
- To spread the word about something they believe in (84%)
- To enjoy the feeling of having others engage (81%)
- To grow and nourish relationships (80%)
- To reflect their online identity (68%)
While social media is different to what it was in 2011, people aren’t. What motivated us then are the same things that motivate us now.
These motivations for sharing help us build our social circles. They’re why we surround ourselves with people who share our opinions and like the same things.
Brands find their way into our social circles by posting things we enjoy and agree with. Some also enter our circles for other reasons, by posting something we disagree with or find throwaway funny, but those brands never stick around for long. The brands that do stick around are the ones that fit our world view. The ones we like for what they offer as a product or service, but also for their content and message.
As a brand pushing a social impact message, motivations for sharing are tailor-made for drawing attention to your cause.
And they’re backed by action.
According to research by Cone/Porter Novelli, 73% of people say they would share information or stories about purpose-driven brands (brand’s whose reason for existing is focussed on helping people, the local economy and the planet as much as making a profit).
They also fit with what a recent Sprout Social study showed consumers expect from brands: to be a positive contributor to society, to connect with consumers, to use their power to help people and to bring people together toward a common goal.
Image: Sprout Social
By using social media as a tool for social impact marketing, you’re giving people content they want to share to better people’s lives, spread the word and engage with others.
And with every share, your message spreads a little further, you become a part of new social circles and you bring people together.
You become a brand that people want to support.
If you’re interested in learning more about social impact marketing, we’ve created a guide you might find useful. You can read it here.