What Is Social Media Sharing?

May 16, 2017 Online Marketing

Social media sharing can seem pretty simple.

Logon to your social media site of choice:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Etc.

Then share a photo, thought, update or article or video.

Then move on with your life. Well, actually you’d probably check out the feeds for a bit on the site. See what your friends are up to on Facebook. See where people have been by their photos on Instagram. See what the latest news is on Twitter.

Even if social media sharing seems basic enough let’s dive in a little deeper into what it is and how to best approach it.

Sharing Philosophy

In the Fall of 2008, Mark Zuckerberg shared his expectation that people would share twice as much information in 2009 as they had the previous year (on Facebook).

At the time, it was pretty unusual to have this opinion. Social media was relatively new. People, it seemed, weren’t really comfortable sharing so much about themselves.

But Zuckerberg tapped into something in people. You kind of see it with the movie, The Social Network. During one scene the character is discussing college life, or rather, his friend is just telling him something. He’s talking about how he would like to know a girl’s “status”. If she’s got a boyfriend.

The light bulb clicked…

Zuckerberg realized that people wanted to know things about others. And they were probably willing to share such information with each other. Kind of a give and take that would lead to more sharing than ever before.

Facebook was built around this among other things, but mostly around the idea of people being very open and loose with information, even personal information.

Why People Share Information

I’m sure people have always shared information with each other.

Personal updates. Funny stories. All kinds of things.

From your own experience you probably know that sharing information with others (and them sharing information with you) can strengthen relationships.

Studies have found this to be true both with personal and professional relationships.

And that makes sense. When you’re getting close to someone in a personal setting you share information. You’re out on a date with someone. You each share stories about your past. Nothing too crazy at first. You kind of build up to certain things.

It works similar in professional settings. A salesperson might share stories about past and current clients. Maybe even a little personal information.

The goal is to build trust.

When two people feel like they can trust each other with information they feel they can trust each other with more. Love or some type of work.

Social media kind of took this to a new level allowing people to really tap into the sharing urge.

On social media, people share to get closer with others. There have been some interesting findings that dig a little deeper. This one found that people share:

  • To bring value or to entertain others (49%)
  • To define themselves (69%)
  • To grow relationships (78%)
  • To feel more involved (69%)
  • Support others, causes (84%)

On the flip side, people look for information others are sharing to be entertained and to learn about updates in the world. To stay in touch with friends and family.

There is also, though, the fear of missing out. That’s something that’s increased with social media.

Social Media Sharing & Business

For businesses, social media is about connecting with customers. The idea is that the better the connection or relationship the more value there is for both customer and business.

Businesses want to sell whatever they’re selling and earn profit. Customers want things that improve their lives. And typically we’ll do more business with people and companies we trust.

Social media is a way to foster that trust.

Everything a business shares on social media, for example, is a little insight into who that company is. What they’re about. What they sell. Who they are. What they stand for. All that type of stuff.

And it’s important for the customer. They want to know who they’re doing business with. Maybe not in every case, but in many cases. We’re not always 100% practical about what we buy. We connect with brands. Whether we like it or not others make judgments about us based on the companies we purchase from.

A Few Sharing Tips

Hopefully this has provided a little more insight into what social media sharing is, why people do it and now we’ll get into a little bit of the how.

For the most part, social media sharing is just like sharing in real life. It’s about fostering connections with others. It’s a give and take that can strengthen relationships.

But we have to be careful. Too much sharing can lead to obsession with information and connection. Just like in real life. If you share too much information with someone in real life it can lead to awkward situations. That won’t help you or the other person involved.

  • Share To Connect: When sharing information on social media take a quick moment to ask why you’re sharing it. Will it help build connections with others. Will they find it valuable. And what will you get out of it.
  • Focus On The Positive: There is a lot of negativity in the world and on social media. It’s easy to get caught up in it. Understand your audience and try to see the best in people. Look for areas where you share interests and views with others.
  • Avoid The Fear Of Missing Out: When checking for information that others are sharing be aware the danger of the fear of missing out. Social media can create an illusion that you’re missing out on a lot. But the reality is that most of us live very similar lives. You may see one friend that’s mountain biking, another that’s hiking, another one that’s traveling and so on. They’re each doing one or two things they love. They’re not each doing all of those things because it’s not possible. Be happy for them. Connect where you share interests and focus on what makes you happy.