Why are people divided

Spreading Psychology: Why We Share Content With Others

... and what that means for your content marketing

Why do we share content with others? Why do we so willingly share links, information, and news with friends or even strangers? But above all: when do we do this? How does content have to be structured so that others can share it? And why do some things just not spread? In order to motivate others to share, we have to understand which different types of divider there are, which motivations move them and, above all, which benefits they expect themselves from them. Because as a mere courtesy, hardly anyone will give up their own profiles and pages to advertise the content of others.

People pass on information, content or recommendations to others if this is of real benefit to them. Fortunately, most of us also think about how this will benefit the person we are talking to. In fact, this is not purely altruistic either: If you only feel spammed on your part, you will not be grateful to the sender. So it doesn't help this either.

No like, share or tweet without use

Content that does not promise any benefit will not motivate anyone to share, like or tweet, no matter how promising the headline and teaser may be. But other factors also play a role. A study commissioned by the New York Times deals specifically with the drive from which we share content online: "Understanding the motivational forces behind the act of sharing will help marketers get their content shared." ("Understanding the motivations behind the act of sharing helps marketers drive the spread of their content.")


Understanding the motivational forces behind the act of sharing will help marketers get their content shared. " (from the NYT study)

Sharing and recommendations are based on basic human needs and are by no means just a phenomenon of the information age. But in the digital age, distribution and frequency have changed. We are all distributing more information than we did a few years ago. We use significantly more sources for this. We reach a lot more people. We're sharing content more often, and the pace keeps increasing.

At the same time, the greater the amount of information, the more difficult it is for the individual content to attract attention at all. All the more a reason to think about which type of divider you can achieve at first glance with which benefit.

"The Psychology of Sharing"

Why do we share content with others? - A study commissioned by the New York Times set the standard on this topic a few years ago. There are now a lot of publications on the subject, almost all of them refer to this study (even if not all explicitly refer to it Version has been published here. Now I have completely revised and expanded it.

Interesting is the fact that most of the approximately 2,500 respondents in the study consider the benefits of this transfer of knowledge from the start themselves in terms of their own information management: “73% say they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it. 85% say reading other people's responses helps them understand and process information and events. "(" 73 percent say that they process information more deeply, more thoroughly and more thoroughly when they share it with others. 85 percent say that they receive the answers from others help to better understand information and events. "

Many reasons, one action ...

Nobody shares out of pure altruism, but often to help others - especially when a relationship already exists.

In a nutshell: motivations for sharing content

  • Help other people by providing them with valuable information.
  • Make others feel entertained.
  • Giving others a feeling for what is important to oneself present myself as one would like to be seen.
  • Maintain relationships.
  • Self-affirmation, meaning and own identity formation.
  • Support ideas, brands and movements that are important to me.
  • To convey the image to others that I was the first to find out about something.

If you observe how and why you pass on knowledge and information yourself, you will likely find that several of these reasons play a role for you. If you want to understand your desired multipliers: It is best to first research yourself why you are helping to spread knowledge, entertainment or news from others. The better you will be at distributing your knowledge in such a way that it is useful for everyone and at the same time helps you advance.

Overview of divider types and in the persona description

The authors of the study attribute the different motivations for proliferation to different types of people. Based on my own observations and views, I have modified and renamed the types and added my own explanations. You could also call them “divider personas”. As part of the persona description in marketing, the aspect of the divider type should not be missing.

It is of course clear that these are ideal-typical descriptions. For most people it will be a mix of motivations that will change depending on the occasion, environment and content. Often, however, one type clearly predominates. Take a look at yourself and others in view of this. (Note: The feminine form is of course always included in the following typification.) In any case, such typification with the respective isolated consideration is helpful in order to particularly clarify individual aspects.

Divider type: helper

Helpers share content because they want to help others. However, for their own benefit, they also want to make themselves indispensable as a reliable source of information.

Divider type: knowledge carrier

Knowledge carriers are educated and have their own success in mind. This also includes the recognition that your network gives you for valuable content with a high information content.

Divider Type: Forerunner

Young, educated users who grew up in the information age or who have made digital media their own are often pioneers. They define their self-image and their online identity through the content they share.

Divider Type: Attention Seeker

Attention seekers experience themselves in how others react and in the attention they get. They are usually not afraid to polarize. Some of them prefer negative attention to no reaction at all. To this end, they also share provocative content and sometimes adopt unpopular attitudes - often out of the joy of playing with the reactions of others.

Divider Type: Relationship Keeper

Relationship carers share content to keep in touch with others or to bring people together, to promote joint projects or to provide opportunities for informal exchanges. They are often relaxed and not always focused on results.

Divider Type: Collector

Collectors carefully select the content, sort and archive it and think carefully about what and with whom to share something. Often they do not want any public attention, but rather email their tips and links in a personal environment. For them, however, this is also a high-quality achievement for which they expect thanks and recognition.

The right content for very specific needs

If you succeed in addressing the various types with your content and supplying them according to their needs, then you have a very good chance of achieving a large reach and dissemination of your content. If you know which types of dividers you are addressing with what and in which way, you can present your content in such a way that it meets the various needs and challenges you to share.

It goes without saying that you do not do justice to everyone equally and that you should not focus solely on the needs of others. Everything you publish and communicate should match your personal style and communication within the company.

Need 1: Deliver valuable content to other people

Present your knowledge in such a way that your recipients immediately get a feeling that they are receiving high quality, exclusive items. This includes the right creative environment as well as care in production. Those who forward high-quality content to other people want to be sure that the quality meets their own standards. He justifies his good reputation with it, so to speak, and can't stand it when his network informs him that there is a loss behind the supposedly valuable link. He won't forgive you for mistakes and slip-ups anytime soon. In this respect, it is a special task for you to win the trust of your readers.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

With this quality standard you are particularly motivating helper, Knowledge carrier andCollector to redistribute your content.

Need 2: Entertain others

If it were all about entertainment, funny cat videos would be enough. But dissemination is not an end in itself, especially not if it does not contribute to communication goals. For a sophisticated content strategy, the fine art is to pack high-quality content in an entertaining way. Because this is how the texts are read with particular pleasure, the videos receive the most hits, and so your knowledge is best disseminated. If there are two offers that are almost the same, the one who offers more entertainment often wins - without, however, becoming dissolute or less informative. The middle ground between too much and too little entertainment is often a fine line.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

How entertaining you may actually design very factual information also depends on who you want to address in particular, what your specific target groups are made up of - beyond the rough typification presented here. For Relationship caretaker and Pioneer entertaining, aesthetically pleasing presentation is more important than most Collector or Knowledge carrier. It doesn't have to be industry related, but you will most likely find more among creatives or fashion designers, for example Pioneer than among accountants or tax consultants - but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

Need 3: self-affirmation, meaning and personal identity formation

There are people who post photos of beautifully decorated dishes just to be able to write that they are in the Senators ‘Lounge at an airport or a similarly exclusive location. In doing so, they want to differentiate themselves from those who they feel are not of equal value, as well as to demonstrate their belonging to a certain group. Many people feel very important about their own importance. What they share defines their identity and their own right to exist. You just want to give others a feeling for what is important to them and present themselves in the way they would like to be seen. Certain professional groups are particularly susceptible to this, and many play such games even though they maintain a humorous, ironic distance from them. But that too, of course, creates identity again. Not needing a status symbol is also a status symbol.

If you want to address such needs, you can do so by using similar symbols of belonging to the same group. Your recipients will also be impressed by linguistic ciphers, a specific form of expression and the right, exclusive content. For certain target groups, a very high quality appearance and well-kept language are essential. Others, on the other hand, literally repel you by presenting yourself on your profile picture next to your luxury car. It just makes a difference whether you want to address salespeople from the automotive industry, for example, or, let's say, organic farmers. But you give all these multipliers meaning if you provide them with content, the passing on of which in turn gives them meaning.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

Wanting to belong is one of the strongest human needs. Therefore what has been described actually applies for all types mentioned, only the characteristics are very individual. Identity formation does not relate to a particular identity or what it is that gives meaning to what is being conveyed. But if you want to deliberately provoke and polarize what you share, then this is an approach that you are particularly good at Attention seekers can activate. But be careful: this doesn't always have to be to your advantage, and attention seekers aren't always the most popular recommenders trusted by large numbers of people. However, they can usually generate attention and controversial discussions quite well and quickly.

Need 4: Cultivate Relationships

Everything that corresponds to the aforementioned needs and goals is in principle also well suited to maintaining relationships. This includes specialist knowledge as well as content that appeals to larger population groups. Content that is easy to summarize, is well structured, reveals its value straight away and is also entertaining is particularly useful. Emotional and personal topics are also particularly well received for this purpose. Anything that supports identity formation and gives meaning to those involved is at the same time an excellent means of maintaining relationships by passing on - keyword: belonging.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

Relationship offender address this way; Pioneer then when the topics fit. Also helper want content that brings them social recognition. Knowledge carrier use such content to maintain their network, Collector Likewise.

Need 5: Support ideas, brands and movements that are important to me

If you manage to turn recipients into fans and especially grateful readers, then you automatically motivate them to support you. You do this by delivering really high value. As a generous author of your own content with high-quality knowledge, you are almost predestined to satisfy this need. You further encourage this by developing a personal relationship with your fans and engaging in dialogue with them.

If you value integrity and it is reflected in your actions and in your media, then you can be sure that your fans will thank you for it. If you promote charitable causes, you will also find support. But be careful: All of this only works if you live it genuinely and honestly. Otherwise you should leave it alone, otherwise it could backfire. Just because you write on your website that you donated the budget for Christmas cards to a charity this year doesn't make you fans. On the contrary: one or the other could even develop the feeling that you are instrumentalizing a good cause for your own interests.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

This need can also be met not a single type of knowledge splitter assign. It all depends on what it's about: a nonprofit or a cool brand? A movement that creates meaning and a common identity? It is crucial here what exactly your target group looks like and what interests them. You have to work that out individually.

Need 6: To convey the image to others that I was the first to find out about something

New, exclusive, not yet known to everyone: these are the attributes that meet this need. If you can convince your target group that they'll always be the first to find out what's new in your area of ​​expertise, you've won. Tell them that your blog reflects the current state of knowledge in the industry - but only if you can then keep the promise. It is particularly helpful if, on the one hand, you prepare the information in such a way that it can be easily communicated; but if, on the other hand, you have your very own style that makes you immediately recognizable as the source of the news.

Divider types that you can achieve particularly well with such content:

Knowledge carrier and Pioneer have this need more than anyone else. They follow them Collectorwho also want to distinguish themselves with new, exclusive content. Of Attention seekers you will often encounter headwinds for new ideas. That is why it is important to develop a strategy for how to deal with it.

How useful is such a typology really?

Do you find the division into the different types helpful - or does it seem complicated to you? I think it's just a good way to focus your own content more consciously on others and to use ideal-typical motivations to help. As a supplement to the development of marketing personas, which should not be missing in any communication and content strategy, I find it particularly clarifying and valuable. Try it out! I look forward to your feedback.

/ 0 comments / by Dr. Kerstin HoffmannKeywords:Content strategy, spread the word, word of mouth