6 Types of People Who Share and 5 Reasons Why

I'm one of those sharers who finishes a great article and thinks, "who do I know that will find value from reading this?" Then (whoosh) I send it off by mail or text. If I psychoanalyze myself (not recommended), I find that I’m motivated by a need to entertain and grow the relationships I have with my friends, family, and coworkers. I prefer the intimacy of email, chat, or text when I share. And to be honest, it is rare that I re-share content on social. According to the psychology of sharing, I'm a "Selective."

In this first of a three-part series on sharing across content types, we'll explore the types of sharers and what motivates them. You may discover where you fall in the mix. And, if you’re a content marketer looking to understand what makes content shareable, it is essential that you know “who” and “why” we share. Because, if you understand the types of people who share and their underlying motivations for doing so, you can produce better creative that has some serious social reach.

In this post, we'll examine The New York Times report on the psychology of sharing to understand (1) the types of sharers, (2) their motivations for sharing, (3) and key factors to increase sharing of your content. Let's dive in.

6 types of people who share

If we look at sharer types we find the hipsters, careerists, altruists, connectors, boomerangs, and selectives, all with their own methods and motivations for sharing. Curious to find out what type of sharer you are?

Which sentence best describes you?...

a| "I’m a young creative who pushes vanguard content on social, not email."

b| "I’m a networker who provides valuable business shares on Linkedin."

c| "I’m helpful, reliable, thoughtful, connected, and use email to share."

d| "I’m creative, relaxed, and a planner who uses email and social to share."

e| "I’m a provocateur that feels validation when I get a reaction on social."

f | "I’m resourceful, careful, and thoughtful. I prefer to share by email."

a.Hipster, b.Careerist, c.Altruist, d.Connector, e.Boomerang, f.Selective

Infographic found at statpro


5 reasons we share

Now that you know what type of sharer you are, ask yourself, which of these five motivations is your reason for sharing?

Value/Entertainment | “94% of respondents carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient”

Support for a cause | "84% said they share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.

Growth for relationships | “78% of respondents said they share information online because it enables them to stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with.”

Self-fulfillment | "69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world."

Define self to others | “A total of 68% of respondents said they share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.”

Now that you know the archetypes of people who share and common reasons for sharing, let’s look at content factors that influence social sharing.

Infographic found at statpro


5 ways to increase the shareability of your content

Here are a few takeaways that will help you leverage your new understanding of how and why we share to increase your content marketing reach. Try applying them to your content going forward and let us know if you find it helpful.

1| Appeal to consumer motivations. Do some social listening to see how your shares are being used and what type of content categories are being shared the most. If you know what’s appealing to your audience you will have a better chance of making content they'll actually want to share out.

2 | Trust is the cost of entry. Build trust by executing #1 consistently. If you continue to deliver content that aligns with your audience’s motivations, you will build up a bank of trust and start to be viewed as a valuable resource.

3 | Keep it simple. Don’t muddle your message. “It’s better to do one thing well than ten things poorly.” — Heather Hart

4 | Appeal to your audience's sense of humor. Laughing leads to learning. #NoJoke, humor boosts retention. So, use humor to grab attention and memory.

5 | Embrace a sense of urgency with every piece of content you put out. Ask yourself, "Why now?" You must confirm the value and urgency of each piece of content you share out. Does this bring new value to our audience and does it align with their motivations? Consider the urgency of your pieces and how the timing of their release might lend itself to sharing—and make sure to experiment.

Of course, getting your content shared is just the beginning. What follows? Once it is shared, it may be re-shared and take on a life of its own. You must stay engaged as it takes off and manage its flight and landing, picking up credit along the way.

Do you find these insights as interesting as I do? Then you should register to attend Spredfast's Summit Europe, where Nathalie Nahai will speak on the psychology of sharing—or check back in next week as we explore what makes a video shareable and interview Nathalie on her groundbreaking research.

April 20, 2016
How to Nail Live-streaming: 6 Tips and 3 Great Brand Examples
May 2, 2016
9 Tips to Creating Videos Your Fans Will Want to Share
Jared Kinsler is our Creative Marketing Strategist, supporting new content creation for Spredfast. He focuses on making sure the things we share are worth your time. He is a writer by day, composer by night, and Floridian by birth. Follow his visual life @kinsljar on Instagram.