Why People Share, According to Facebook

March 13, 2012 - 0 Comments

Before we decide what to post, we must first understand what compels our fans to share. This understanding will allow us to create consistent, “viral” posts that will generate organic buzz. Thankfully, we have Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook, to explain these social behaviors that occur on Facebook, and in life, so we can actively create conversations and build relationships that will result in sharing of content.

Watch this video about why people share, presented at this year’s Facebook Marketing Conference or enjoy the brief synopsis below to better understand what drives our conversations and, in turn, sharing. (jump to the 3 minute mark to get straight to Paul)

  1. Why we talk (7:50)
    • Make things easier
    • Build relationships
    • Help others
    • Craft our identity
  2. How we talk (14:00)
    • We talk by listening
      • People talk by listening and responding so Brands shouldn’t be any different. Brands should listen, respond, repeat; as many times as necessary. Conversations and relationship building will take time and effort.
    • We talk by using lightweight interactions
      • Start small and more casual and grow from there. Less is more, the average number of words is 16 for a page post and 11 for a user post. The longer you talk, the further you get away from a natural conversation.
  3. Who we talk to (18:45)
    • We talk mostly to our strong ties: family and friends.
    • We talk to people most like ourselves.
      • We are influenced by the people we are closest to. 80% of our conversations are to the same 4 – 5 people (across all media, not just Facebook). Don’t get discouraged, if you create great content for a certain type of individual, its great content for their friends, and their friend’s friends, and so on.
  4. What we talk about (22:30)
    • Personal experiences
    • Other people
    • What’s around us
    • Feelings (not facts)

The main take away for me is to give people a reason to talk by creating content around the human behaviors discussed. One of the main problems that businesses face while trying to create a successful Facebook page is the emphasis on the sharing of content instead of building relationships. Once those relationships are established, sharing will inevitably follow.

Adams recommends that you consider 4 of the concepts he discusses as your Facebook strategy matures to help answer the who, what, how, and why for your pages content (28:30):

  1. Why: “Help people build relationships”
  2. How: “Create lightweight interactions”
  3. Who: “Optimize for strong ties”
  4. What: “Focus on feelings, not facts”

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.