Sharing branded content on social media provokes positive feelings of happiness, acceptance and engagement for users, and marketers need to better understand these reactions to build lasting relationships with customers, a new study published by visual marketing platform Olapic has found.
More than 1,000 people in the UK aged between 16 and over 60 were asked about their content sharing habits on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A third said that they now share third-party visual content such as images, infographics and videos at least once a week, while 56 per cent claimed that they do so each month.
Millennials are more likely to be engaged regularly with branded content, as one in ten revealed that they share photos and clips on social media multiple times a day, while 43 per cent repost and retweet this content to followers and friends at least once a week. Generation X has similar sharing habits, which suggests that marketers have the potential to reach a vast target audience with the right content.
In terms of the behaviour that motivates sharing, the study noted that while engagement is a major trend, more personal feelings such as being accepted, loved and happy are equally important. In addition, interaction with any shared content increases sharing habits, as users tend to post more frequently when others have commented on or liked their posts.
“Understanding the motivations and reactions of consumers to social media sharing unlocks valuable insights for marketers who understand the growing importance of building a customer-first – rather than a channel-first – approach to marketing,” Olapic co-founder Jose de Cabo said.
Just six per cent of respondents said that they share content to “influence other people’s opinions,” but the study concluded that people now actively seek out posts from friends, family and brands to inform decisions, which indicates that third-party content is crucial to pushing users along the buying cycle.
De Cabo added: “Social media sharing has had a profound impact on the relationship consumers have with brands. People now trust images on social media more than brand advertising and are looking for more realistic content from seemingly unbiased sources to guide their purchasing and opinions of brands.”