The Single Biggest Reason People Share on Facebook

There is an inherent danger in building your business on rented land. In the context of Internet marketing and making money online, this could mean relying too much on social media as a means of generating traffic and revenue. Even so, the power of Facebook simply cannot be denied, even if Mark Zuckerberg is severely limiting your organic reach. What can you do to help it along?

As a general rule of thumb, content that gets more engagement on Facebook will also receive more reach. Facebook uses engagement as a social signal to indicate that certain posts (and pages) are of greater value to its users. A post that has lots of likes and comments is likely a post that other users may enjoy seeing too. At least that’s the thinking. Perhaps even more powerful than likes and comments, though, are shares.


Sharing means that the Facebook user is taking your content and sharing it directly with his friends and followers. That immediately extends your reach considerably, especially if this person has a lot of friends. The million dollar question then arises: how do I get people to share my posts more often?

This starts with understanding why someone would want to share your post in the first place. According to an infographic on Fractl, the primary reason people share content on Facebook can be broken down into a few different motivations. But there is one response that is head and shoulders above the rest.


Nearly half (48%) of the 2,000 people surveyed indicated that the main reason why they may choose to share something on Facebook is because of entertainment value. They share it because they think it’s something their “friends will find interesting.” This is likely why you see so many fail videos or funny memes.

Contrast this to the only 11% of respondents who said they share content because they think it will be “useful.” Through this, we can extrapolate that entertainment value is basically four times more important than usefulness. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t post useful content, but if the goal is to attract as many shares as possible, you want to make sure it’s also thoroughly entertaining.

The rest of the survey responses can be broken down as follow:

  • 17% said, “I share things that inform my friends of the things I care about.”
  • 13% said, “I share things that will make my friends feel something (happiness, sadness, anger, etc.)”
  • 11% provided an “other” reply.

Interestingly, while only 11% of those surveyed are primarily concerned with usefulness, the majority are at least somewhat interested. When you break the group down into just two groups, 55% said that they want to share things that their friends will find useful, while the remainder “are not concerned with the usefulness of content they share.” So, your entertaining content should still be useful.

Some other key findings from the survey reveal that Facebook users are interested in feeling connected with their friends, but a relatively small percentage share content “to persuade my friends about something.” Women share more often than men and baby boomers share more than any other age group. People who share frequently are also more interested in maintaining a certain image of themselves compared to the general population, though older users are less image conscious.

If you’re not getting the kind of traction you desire through more “natural” and “organic” techniques, then you might want to try paid boosts for some of your posts too. This can put your content in front of users who may have otherwise missed your posts… and the hope is that they’ll like, comment and share your stuff because it’s so entertaining.

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