Why Posts are Shared


According to a recent New York Times study, 84 % of people say they share information to support causes they believe in http://blog.kissmetrics.com/increase-engagement-on-facebook/ . Therefore nonprofits dedicating resources to building a presence on social are making a smart investment. But what type of message and when should it be posted?

Since there are a large number of posts, the posts most likely seen are those that are distinctive and eye catching using compelling text, language, and pictures. Further, posts are more likely to be shared when they contain content that evokes high arousal of either positive or negative feelings.  Therefore posts stirring up feelings of happiness, anger, or anxiety are more likely to be shared than content that makes viewers feel sad. Additionally, viewers are more likely to retweet and share when they are asked to.

Clearly, information has a better chance of being shared if the original post is viewed by the most interested viewers. 90% of Twitter content is developed by 2% of users. Additionally, a Facebook post receives half of its reach within thirty minutes of posting. In general, the most effective time to post materials on social is 9:30 AM on Wednesdays, but users utilize each platform differently and at different times. For a chart identifying critical times on each platform see: http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-best-times-post_b49546.

Whether a post is shared depends on the user. According to that New York Times survey 68% of social media users share posts to define who they are and what they care about. Social media experts categorize users into six different groups.

  • Alturists share posts that they consider helpful, reliable, and thoughtful most often through email.
  • Boomerangs share posts that are more likely to get a reaction and prove their opinions. Overall this group tends to use social media frequently particularly Facebook and Twitter.
  • Careerists share content that builds their careers and is connected with their career goals. They frequently use Linkedin.
  • Connectors are strategic and think creatively to determine who would be most interested in the post. They use email and Facebook to share.
  • Hipsters are young and perceive themselves as popular. They search out cutting edge content that will define their identity and rarely use email.
  • Selectives share informative posts carefully and thoughtfully using email.

Since many share posts via email, nonprofits should ask viewers to notify them when they share and who they share it with.

Nonprofits should strategically develop different posts that will attract all of these types of users and track which targeted leaders share which post. Once nonprofits see a pattern they can label each potential leader. This information is added to the database to help staff engage the potential leader in leadership opportunities and encourage increased giving.

Unfortunately, many users think sharing is an effective outcome and will further the cause. Although sharing educates it does not directly increase money raised. In the next post we will discuss how to turn sharing into dollars raised.


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