The average person spends 2.41 hours on social media (up to 4.5 hours for gen z’s and 3.8 hours for millennials). And while we’ve all lost ourselves in the rabbit holes of scrolling Instagram and Pinterest, there are actual psychological reasons underlying why we share the content we do. This information is crucial for brands to know so they can convince their audience to not just view but also share their content.

Clearly, there’s an art to winning over their social audiences and science to implementing effective marketing strategies. But what about the psychology behind why your customers post and share what they do on social channels?

Understanding what is motivating your audience’s behavior is pivotal to mastering the art of persuasion. Here are the 5 most influential factors dictating why people share on social media and the most effective marketing strategies to boost your following, increase engagement, and rev up your revenue.

How The Psychology of Persuasion

For marketers, there is no question that the foundation of social engagement is persuasion. And there is, in fact, a science involved in affecting human behavior toward your desired result. The same principles can be applied to social media- identifying the reasons that motivate people to follow your brand and share your content, which is ultimately every marketer’s goal.

Why Social Followers Share

Now, let’s dive into the psyche, shall we? According to the research, these are the major psychological factors that drive why and what people share on social media:

1. Enrich the lives of others

Whether to inspire, uplift, entertain or empower, the majority of people claim that their main motivation for sharing content is to have a positive impact on the lives of others. This could entail anything from funny memes to motivational quotes to discount codes for flash sales.

Social Strategy:

Provide valuable content that speaks to your specific audience, integrating variety and creativity to keep things fresh and intriguing. You can offer tangible incentives, such as giveaways, discounts, or educational resources. Additionally, you can sprinkle in motivational and entertaining content to express your brand’s personality and values.

2. Express Identity

Not surprisingly, self-expression also ranks high on the list of content selections. Most social feeds are inundated with content related to people’s hobbies, circle of friends, accomplishments, and other experiences they feel represent who they are and how they want to be seen in the world.

Social Strategy:

Create a unique, compelling brand identity that sets the foundation for your content strategy across all platforms. Although it’s important to develop content that matches your audience’s interests, if you effectively communicate your mission and demonstrate your values, you will attract like-minded followers who will proudly associate with (and share) your company and products.

3. Strengthen Relationships & Connection

In keeping with the “social” component of social media, our inherent desire to belong and connect with those we care about greatly influences why we share what we do.

Social Strategy:

You guessed it…find ways to connect with your audience. Social influencers have perfected the art of connecting with their following by sharing intimate photos and videos of an authentic day-in-the-life. You can also use social tools like polls, quizzes, and Q&As to interact with your audience on a more personal level. And don’t forget to encourage connections between your followers, reminding them to tag and share in all your posts, comments, and stories.

4. Self-fulfillment

Another top motivator for why people share content is the “feel-good” factor. Every time our posts or comments receive positive reactions and feedback, our sense of value and worth increases, along with our dopamine levels.

Social Strategy:

It’s simple, really: we like people who follow through, offer praise, and pay attention to us, especially those we respect and admire. If you say you are going to do a live Q&A once a week, you need to deliver. Take the time to read and respond to comments and feedback. And remind customers to tag you in any posts promoting or praising your brand so you can share and acknowledge them on your platforms, as well.

5. Promote causes and products they believe in

Whether they are raising funds for a charity or promoting a favorite product, the majority of users leverage social platforms to support and promote the organizations and companies they love.

Social Strategy:
Trust is your cost of entry for an uptick in social shares and it’s not something you can earn without consistent effort and transparency. Using social proof to demonstrate happy customers is a proven tactic for building brand credibility. Share testimonials and great reviews in your feed and stories. Additionally, solicit user-generated content from customers using your products and singing your praises. For extra incentive, offer a prize if they actually record you a song!


Gaining a better understanding of your audience happens when you unearth the factors that govern their behavior. The five motivations outlined above are the key to unlocking the strategies that will create more effective and meaningful engagement with your current following, inspiring them to share your content and messaging far and wide.



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