The reason why people share a post on Facebook or Twitter is a question of psychology. Everysocial.com explores the reasons in this article, and to say the least, we share posts for a lot of different reasons. Context is key (sharing on LinkedIn is different than Facebook), who you are matters (because what you share is a way to define yourself to others), and how we decide to maintain friends also plays into the formula.
Whatever the reason, social sharing is very valuable to companies. When a brand gets a post shared, their offering is exposed to a new audience for free, they can receive an invaluable boost to brand perception, and both of these things can lead to more sales. But the complex psychology of social sharing can leave a marketing manager stumped when planning a new campaign or content strategy. What gets the most shares?
New research from the Journal of Interactive Marketing sheds some light on this topic. The study reviewed 1,875 brand posts from a variety of different categories (including electronics, mobile devices, and alcoholic beverages), and also reviewed posts from the European pages of Samsung (Samsung with 2.7 million fans at the time, and Samsung Mobile with 2.3 million fans at the time). The purpose of the study was to better understand how brand congruency and promotions impacted a consumer’s likelihood to share a post.
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What is congruency? Congruency really just means consistency, and in this case, refers how closely aligned a post is to a brand. So, a social media post with tacos would be pretty consistent (i.e., congruent) with Taco Bell, but a post with a rocket ship would be much less consistent.
The study found that the posts which were more congruent to a brand got more shares than less congruent promotion posts.
Of course, when you are setting up your advertising campaign or content strategy, shares are likely not your only goal. In addition, every brand needs to continue to test and learn what works for them. However, what is key is to be aware of the importance of brand consistency/congruency on social media.
It’s tempting to constantly pursue “going viral,” while losing sight of who your brand is and why people should be interested in your content. If you are a food truck and you only post humorous, political memes, you may build a following that engages with your content, but don’t actually buy food from you.
If you are running ads for a new social media campaign, consider finding ways to more closely align the image to your brand. This can be as simple as placing a product into the image, your logo, or another brand asset.
If this is a wake up call to you, you aren’t alone. A lot of companies aren’t very consistent online, with fewer than 10% of B2B companies saying their brand is very consistent. For brands that really want to stand out, be consistent and earn more brand trust.
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