Points North
on Mar 17, 2015 in Business

SXSW: Top 3 Reasons People Share Content

This report comes live from the last day of Interactive sessions via SXSW in Austin, TX. I took the liberty of attending the session “Content is the Starting Line, Not the Finish Line,” lead by Mark Schaefer, Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions and author of “The Content Code.”

In today’s world of overwhelming information density, success doesn’t come from creating great content,” Schaefer notes, “it comes from creating great content that moves.”

[Tweet “In July 2014, the average organic reach for Facebook posting was at 6%.”]

I chose this session for some of the very same statistics that were highlighted during this session. There is a huge decline in corporate content reach on Facebook. It’s incredibly noticeable for anyone that has a Facebook page. In 2011, you could expect to see about a 26% reach to your audience for your content. And, approximately 3 years later (July 2014), you see about a 6% reach.

According to a Facebook executive, “When the average person visits their news feed, there’s an average of 1500 possible stories we can show.”

With those odds, and the decline in organic reach, how does one solve the dilemma of creating valuable content, let alone justify marketing and advertising dollars to produce content?

There were several takeaways from this talk, the strongest point is that there is no value in content unless it moves. Content needs ignition. The top 3 reasons people share content are (1) Expression of Self Identity, (2) Act of Generosity and Kindness and (3) A Symbol of Love and Support. Let’s break these down and talk about them.


[Tweet “The content that we share is an expression of our identity. It represents our voice.”]

“Great content gets you a seat at the table and allows you to compete,” says Schaefer. The content that we share is an expression of our identity. It represents what we like, what we support, and our voice in the social media world. Your content, needs to align with the beliefs and personalities of your audience, so that it’s no brainer to share. So that they don’t think about it, they want to share it, with friends and those that follow them. It’s similar to the clothes we wear and why we choose one label over another. Something has to resonate.


Schaefer says “83% of brand marketers view social sharing as the #1 value of digital marketing.” In the process of sharing, you create brand ambassadors. Brand power isn’t coming through content, it’s coming from content transmitted by friends. Schaefer also cites that 70% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates.

Audience does not equal action. You can have a desirable amount of followers, but if they are not actively engaging, than this number is of little value. Seek to create content that is easily shareable and relatable.


[Tweet “When it comes to content strategy, we must ask ourselves, what is the emotional connection to the content we’re sharing?”]

“People share content for intrinsic, emotional reasons, whereas companies want you to share for economic reasons.” says Schaefer. So then we must ask ourselves, what’s the emotional connection to the content? If you gathered a strong following, a tribe, then many of them are sharing your content (sometimes without even reading it) because there is an element of trust there. This trust works to your advantage, and your tribe as created a bond with who you are as a company. What you do resonates with them, and they support you.

These are all important components to think about as we move forward with content creation and distribution.

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