Understanding sharing behavior is big business. As consumers become increasingly blind to traditional advertising year on year, the push is on to go beyond simple pitches to tell engaging stories. And increasingly, the success of these endeavors is measured in social shares. Why go to so much trouble? Because, as a brand, every share I receive represents another consumer I've reached—all without spending an additional cent.
Because of this value, several researchers have examined sharing behavior in the hope of understanding what motivates it. Among the reasons researchers have found are the following:
- To provide practical value to others (an altruistic motive)
- To associate ourselves with certain ideas and concepts (an identity motive)
- To bond with others around a common emotion (a communal motive)
With regard to the last...