Billions of social shares are posted every single day on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and various other social networks. From cute photos of kittens to hyper-serious and actionable pieces about the environment, politics, and science, there is no shortage of the types of articles that are distributed through our social media accounts.
A 2016 study by social management tool, Social Pilot, found that 1.3 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute of every day while 500 million tweets are distributed on Twitter every 24 hours. Pinterest users have created more than 50 billion pins across 1 billion boards.
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While there are billions of daily social shares, the types of people who share those articles are rather limited. A recent white paper by The New York Times Customer Insight Group uncovered the 6 most popular type of social sharers. These individuals have their own very specific reasons for sharing content.
We’ve created an infographic for the Zenpost Digital Marketing Insights Blog, but first, here’s a quick breakdown of who these social sharers are and why they share the content they distribute to their followers.
These individuals are focused on delivering valuable content that helps the people they care most about. They share news and facts about causes and brands they support and believe in. Altruists are motivated not by self-interest but rather the desire to get the word out.
Actionable and meaningful social shares are at the heart of the careerist’s mindset. These people love getting credit for their shares and they revel in creating discussion and debate about useful recommendations. As an added bonus, they also engage on a very serious level when content is shared with them.
The hipsters, no surprise here, share content that is directly correlated with the hipster identity. They start conversations, engage in debate, and stir up controversy. They specifically curate content that allows them to maintain their hipster identity. They attempt to be the first to share new information with their followers and they attempt to mostly engage with like-minded people. This group is one of the most active when it comes to seeking out new content to share.
This group stirs the pot and looks for debates and the opportunity to generate a lot of shares and “likes.” They don’t care if you respond positively or negatively, they just want the shares to roll in as part of their need for constant validation. Just like hipsters, they want to be the first to share new content.
Connectors may be the least selfish of the social sharing population. These individuals specifically share content to build a shared experience with their followers. They love content that is entertaining and they prefer messaging that brings people together. They still focus on like-minded people but also seek out the opportunity to provide social and monetary value to their followers.
This group doesn’t care about their content going viral among their social networks, instead, they seek out content they can share with specific people. They put a lot of time and research into their sharing efforts and they look to be validated by the recipient of the shared content they choose to post.
Here’s a full breakdown of the 6 most popular social sharer types:
As an interesting side note, The New York Times white paper also discovered five primary motivations behind why people share content online.
- To bring valuable, enlightening and entertaining content into the lives of people they care about.
- To define themselves.
- To grow and nourish their relationships.
- To get the word out about causes they believe in.
Ultimately, social media shares, while very static, offer a complexity that is defined by the type of person sharing the information.
The next time you launch Facebook on your mobile device or browse through an endless timeline of tweets, be sure to pay close attention to the type of content you share and the content you absorb from others.
You will quickly realize which type of social sharers you have aligned yourself with if you pay close attention and you’ll grab some valuable insight into your own social sharing dynamic.
If you can determine the type of social sharers who engage with your content, you can also make much better informed decisions about the type of content you create and share across all of your social media accounts.