The Science Behind Sharing on Social Media [Infographic]

by Blair Evan Ball on September 3, 2014

Social Media SharingDo you share on social media?

Is it working for you?

The web is a crowded place, with millions of articles being shared every day on social media. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the types of content that resonate with readers the most?

What motivates people to share?


1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others.

  • 94% carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient/
  • 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.

2. To define ourselves to others

  • 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.

3. To grow and nourish our relationships

  • 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with.
  • 73% share information because it helps them connect with others who share their interests.

4. Self-fulfillment

  • 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world.

5. To get the word out about causes or brands

  • 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.


Social Media Sharing Image


We all too often forget, we are sharing to people, not sharing for the sake of sharing. So learning about the seven personas and why they share is part of managing your social media strategy.


  • Helpful
  • Reliable
  • Connected
  • Thoughtful


  • LinkedIn
  • Network
  • Valuable
  • Intelligent


  • Popular
  • Young
  • Identity
  • Cutting Edge
  • Creative
  • Less Likely to e-mail


  • Facebook
  • Reaction
  • Validation
  • Twitter
  • Empowered


  • Creative
  • Thoughtful
  • Relaxed
  • E-Mail
  • Making Plans
  • Facebook


  • Careful
  • Informative
  • Resourceful
  • Thoughtful
  • E-Mail


  • No sharing here.
  • Just remember a ton of folks that are important to you are seeing this and not sharing, so don’t let the sharers drive all your social brand decisions.

Which one are you?


Key factors to keep in mind when sharing.

  1. Appeal to consumers’ motivation to connect with each other —not just with your brand.
  2. Keep it simple…
  3. Trust is the cost of entry.
  4. Embrace a sense of urgency.
  5. Appeal to their sense of humor.

TOP 11

  • 43% Pictures
  • 26% Opinions
  • 26% Status Update of what and how they are doing
  • 26% Links to articles
  • 25% Personal recommendations of things they like
  • 22% News items
  • 21% Links to other websites
  • 21% Links to other people’s posts
  • 19% Status update of what they are feeling
  • 17% Video clips
  • 9% Plans for future activities, trips and updates


It’s pretty clear that LinkedIn members love to share articles about self-improvement.  A recent study conducted by BuzzSumo  analyzed the keywords in the titles of popular articles, these were the most frequently used:

  • Leader: 443 average LinkedIn shares
  • Habits: 332 average LinkedIn shares
  • Mistakes: 216 average LinkedIn shares
  • Career: 337 average LinkedIn shares
  • Managers: 275 average LinkedIn shares
  • Lessons: 272 average LinkedIn shares
  • Resume: 264 average LinkedIn shares
  • Employees: 250 average LinkedIn shares
  • Interview: 229 average LinkedIn shares
  • Advice: 223 average LinkedIn shares
  • Trends: 219 average LinkedIn shares


Here are the ten most popular topics of articles shared on Twitter, ordered by their average number of Twitter shares among the top one million most shared articles on Twitter in the past six months:
1. Sports (1239 average number of Twitter shares)
2. Vegan (971 average number of Twitter shares)
3. Success (935 average number of Twitter shares)
4. Productivity (922 average number of Twitter shares)
5. Entrepreneurship (844 average number of Twitter shares)
6. Psychology (833 average number of Twitter shares)
7. Science (831 average number of Twitter shares)
8. Giveaway (775 average number of Twitter shares)
9. Climate Change (755 average number of Twitter shares)
10. Happiness (738 average number of Twitter shares)


Quizzes are the most engaging type of content on Facebook

BuzzFeed, in particular, seems to have mastered the art of quizzes. These were the five most shared quizzes on Facebook in the past six months:

The optimal number of words for an article on Facebook is 2000-2500.
When comparing the number of Facebook shares to the number of words in an article, we found that articles with 2000-2500 words had the most Facebook shares, at an average of 7846.8 shares. This was 15% greater than articles with 0-500 words and 24% greater than articles with 500-1000 words.

The optimal length of a video on Facebook is 4 minutes to 4 minutes, 20 seconds.

In fact, generally speaking, long videos performed much better than short ones. The worst performing videos were 0-20 seconds long and 40-60 seconds long.


Each person is motivated differently, just like they are in the workplace. Focus on the motivation, then focus on the content that resonates best for the social media platform. The challenge is to keep pace with change, because tomorrow can be totally different. One thing to watch…Video, although low on the list of sharing, it’s gaining momentum as a business tool consider how to video’s and great for branding you and your business.


What People Share [Infographic]

Source: Infographic by | Photo by Daily News Co. | New York Times | BuzzSumo

About Blair

16 Tips for Creating Better Content

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1.3 Billion in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

16 Tips for Creating Better ContentThe Race is ON! – Get into the Game and WIN!

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