Facebook, as you might know, recently said very directly that pages with high levels of sharing will do better than those without.
Here’s an exciting new study  from the NYT that digs deep into the psychology of sharing.

But first, a little reminder about the importance of sharing in this social media world.

Shareability matters more than ever!

Facebook did mention that certain Pages aren’t going to be affected by this algorithm change as much as others – so, don’t you want to be one of the “favored pages?”

Pages whose content gets share and engagement.

You already knew that higher engagement rates can improve your reach, and now, it’s more important than ever to post things that people will want to interact with. Facebook came right out and said that Pages that get their content shared more often won’t take as big a hit in their referral traffic.

What does that mean for you? Posting not just the type of content you think your audience will appreciate, but the type of content you think your audience will share. Getting your posts shared by the people in your audience is your secret weapon!

What types of content do people like to share, exactly?

A consumer research division of The New York Times conducted a study to determine that very thing!

You can read the 46-page report here, but here’s what “The Psychology of Sharing” says are the five reasons people share content online:

  • They think it’s interesting, entertaining, or otherwise valuable content.94% of people “carefully consider” how the things they share will be useful for others.
  • Sharing helps us define ourselves to others. When you share something, it reflects your values, interests, and identity. (What does your favorite cat video say about your personality?
  • We create, build, and enrich personal relationships by sharing. Sharing content gives us a reason to talk to people with similar interests, and to strengthen our existing relationships. 78% of people actually share content online because it gives them a reason to maintain personal connections that otherwise might not be as strong!
  • Sharing creates a sense of self-fulfillment. It feels good to share things! Because it satisfies different personal desires, there’s a sense of fulfillment that comes with sharing something with other people.
  • We want to get the word out about things that matter to us. From a totally practical point of view, sharing is how we educate others and, ideally, get them interested in the things that interest us!

When you have a Facebook page, you shouldn’t just think about your audience – you should also think about your audience’s audience. The more your followers share your content with their personal network of family, friends, coworkers, and guys-from-high-school-they-kinda-sorta-remember, the better off you’ll be!

Before you hit that “Post” button, then, don’t stop at asking yourself whether the people in your audience will be interested – ask yourself if it’s something they’ll want to share!

Download the report here, if you haven’t already