Share Key You want your website content shared, right? So why is it that so little of so many sites gets shared? Check out the sharing statistics on your website and the chances are you will find handfuls of shares, here and there. For most websites the likelihood of something being shared hundreds or even thousands of times is but a distant dream.

A good place to start is considering why you share things yourself. What motivates you to share a link on Facebook or ReTweet something? What makes you email a useful link to your colleagues, for instance?

The chances are that you share things for three reasons – that it is a bit of fun or something that you know your friends would appreciate, or it is something that you believe in and support, or perhaps you might make money out of it.

New research from the Norwegian Business School has discovered that there are three reasons for sharing which they call “social-hedonic, moral, and monetary”. The researchers discovered that the number one reason for sharing was “social-hedonic” – something that you just feel other people would be interested in, primarily because it will make them smile or feel good.

Even though it is a reason for sharing, “monetary” was the least important. People tended to share such items much less frequently. So, if your blog posts are about how to save money or make money, you stand a much lower chance of them getting shared. Equally, if you run a website that is commercial and all your focus is on that, you are less likely to get something shared.

How to increase the amount of sharing

To get more of your website shared you need to provide the following kinds of content:

  • Funny material – that might not be appropriate for all businesses, but if there is an opportunity for you to be funny, amusing or lighthearted, then do it.
  • Practical and useful material – if you can educate people, show them how to do things, give them advice, then this is more likely to be shared than product-based information.
  • Material with a message – make a point that people will agree with, even a moralistic message; that will get several shares

You can also provide financially relevant information or even affiliate schemes for your business. But you are less likely to get those things shared.

If you don’t think that sharing is important, consider how human beings are now even more motivated to share. Airbnb is now the biggest source of accommodation online, where people share their houses with others; the financial gain is not significant from doing so, but helping other people get a good deal is. Similarly, there are car-sharing schemes online, which have a moral component, car-parking schemes where people share their drives with local commuters and so on. We are increasingly living in a sharing world. Does your website follow those principles of gaining sharing by having content that is interesting, useful and even moral?

Call Graham Jones Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist

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