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Why People Share on Social Media

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
September 6, 2013

The most common reason people post on social media is "to share interesting things" (61%), according to a recent report from Ipsos.

The next most popular motivation is to "to share important things" (43%), followed by "to share funny things" (43%).

Other common reasons for sharing online are "to let others know what I believe in and who I really am" (39%); "to recommend a product, service, movie, book, etc." (30%); "to add my support to a cause, an organization, or a belief" (29%); and "to share unique things" (26%).

Two in ten share "to let others know what I'm doing" (22%) and "to add to a thread or conversation" (20%). One in ten say they share on social media "to show I'm in the know" (11%).

Overall, 71% of respondents said they had shared something on a social media in the past month.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on an online survey of more than 12,000 global "sharers" (people who had shared some type of content on social media sites in the previous month).

Regional Differences

  • "To share interesting things" was the top reason for social media sharing across nearly all 24 countries surveyed. One notable exception was Saudi Arabia, where respondents were most likely to choose "to let others know what I believe in and who I really am" (65%) as their top reason.
  • Those most likely to indicate they engage in sharing on social media sites "to share interesting things" were from China (76%), Indonesia (76%), South Africa (74%), Turkey (71%), Russia (68%), Spain (66%), Canada (65%), Great Britain (65%), and the United States (65%).

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Seshu Fri Sep 6, 2013 via web

    I am amazed to see that only 30% of the population would like to use social media to refer any product/service. We at mKonnekt are using this concept to promote small businesses and in our beta study we have seen quite a bit of different numbers. We would be interested in trying to see whether sharing something interesting/ and referring to products/services overlap from a customers perspective.

    On the overall interesting and definitely enlightening read..


  • by Barry Feldman Fri Sep 6, 2013 via web

    For me, it's always a bit tough to take survey results literally when they are multiple choice questions. Respondents are prone to "say the right thing." Still, interesting stuff. Add up the answers and in my mind a common denominator becomes the real answer: people share stuff that makes invokes an emotion in them.

  • by David M. Patt, CAE Sat Sep 7, 2013 via web

    But why do people want to share something interesting?

  • by Andrea Peterson Tue Sep 10, 2013 via web

    Social media is a very popular nowadays such many people are getting involve in here. And also they using social media also to build brand reputation for business owners. So if you share helpful tips on social media many people may follows you.

  • by Gracious Store Mon Sep 16, 2013 via web

    There are so many reasons why people are on social net works, for marketers their goal for being on social networks is to gather fans who hopefully will someday be your prospects. You also use the same social networks to share and distribute your contents

  • by sara lee Thu Jul 10, 2014 via web

    Great Post! I have found another related article too in the link below:


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