Why Do People Share Content Online?

Whoever told you social media marketing would be easy, they were a liar. The fact is that there is no specific formula to market yourself online. It takes more than creating a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile. And God knows it takes more than begging people to like or Retweet your mundane blog posts. It takes more than jumping on the YouTube and Pinterest bandwagons and posting multimedia.

See, for all the work you do to get content on the web (yeah yeah, content is king, blah blah), it is all useless unless you get people to share it. That’s right; you’re wasting your time unless you figure out HOW to get people to pass on all that content you’re putting out there.

And before you can figure out how to get people to share, you need to understand why in the world people share content in the first place. What drives someone to take the initiative to hit that like button? What makes someone want to Retweet your article or include your video in their latest blog post?

Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it…

Does Anyone Care About You?

It might sound harsh, but probably not. It’s highly unlikely that anyone is so enthralled with your company that they will share your content simply because they love you. Typically family and friends are the only ones who fall in this category, and even they get sick of the, “Hey guys, help me out here” pleas.  Besides, those shares mean little in the scheme of things when they are connected with comments that scream to the world that they’re doing it because they have a personal connection to you.

People Look Out for Number One First

What do we know about the human race? Well, in general, we are selfish and vain creatures. Yes, a sad but true fact. Think about it, when you are looking at a random website or product, what are you thinking? How will this benefit me?

Content sharing is no different. I’d venture to say that the majority of times that we share content, it’s to make us look good to other people. In other words, we think things (albeit, subconsciously) like:

  • I’ll look witty if I share this.
  • I’ll seem ahead of the game if I share this.
  • I’ll appear helpful if I share this.
  • I’ll become a thought leader if I share enough content like this.
  • And so on…

With that in mind, are you posting content that people can use to achieve their selfish social media goals? Take a minute to chew on that.

Are We All So Selfish with Our Content Sharing?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cynical enough to believe that everyone shares for personal gain. A decent amount of people also do it because they like to help others by:

  • Empowering them with useful information
  • Making them laugh
  • Keeping them up to date

So just as many people share content for selfish reasons, others will share because they think the information will aid others in some way.

What Does Your Content Do for Readers?

Content that is shareable is informative, different, funny, interesting…you get it. Do any of those words describe what you are offering? If not, maybe it’s time to rethink your social media strategy.

Why do you think people share content online? Tell me about it in the replies.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in press release writing and distribution. Download the free whitepaper LinkedIn for Business here:

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