How does your practice measure the success of your social media posts? If you’re looking to build awareness or boost loyalty, you might value likes and comments. If you’re more oriented towards making sales, you might place an extra emphasis on link clicks, or on seeing people check that “Heard about clinic on Facebook” box on your new clients form. But no matter what your goals, likely one of your favorite social interactions is the share.
You’re not alone. Social media managers everywhere love shares. A share is the ultimate way to reach as many people as possible, and, if you’ve branded your content correctly, let them know that your practice exists and what you’re all about. Shares lead to more followers on Facebook, more eyeballs on your website, and more people considering your practice as their choice for their pets.
It can also be one of the hardest social interactions to get. Likes and comments enable an interested viewer to interact with and approve of your content, but a share means they think your content is so entertaining/interesting/important that they want everyone else to know about it. For most people, this is a high threshold to cross, so it takes extra effort and remarkable content to entice a share out of your followers.
Fortunately, there is a psychology to the share. Research has been done to examine why people share content and which content is most likely to be shared. Understanding these statistics will help you increase how much shareable content you’re producing, and hopefully, reach more pet owners!

Why People Share

A few different studies have been done to determine the motivations behind people’s sharing habits. Research by The New York Times and Fractl reveals that people share on Facebook to:

  • Share content we find useful and/or entertaining: According to the NYT, 49% of people said they shared information about products they cared about, and 94% of people took into consideration how useful that information would be to others. Fractl found that 48% of people are motivated to share content that is interesting, while 55% are concerned with how useful the content they are sharing will be to others. And Marketo found that people are highly likely to share warning posts they feel others should be aware of.
  • Nourish casual relationships (NYT): 78% of people said they shared information to connect with people they might not otherwise keep in touch with.
  • Reinforce how they are perceived by others: The NYT study found that 68% of people want to give other people a sense of who they are and what they value/care about. The content they share is designed to reinforce the image they want to project to other people, e.g., as person who is thoughtful, caring, interesting, etc. Similarly, Fractl found that 17% of people share content to show others what they care about.
  • Spread the word about worthy causes and issues (NYT): 84% of people said they share content about issues or causes they want to support or raise awareness of.
  • Evoke emotions (Fractl): 13% of people share posts that will cause an emotional reaction in others, e.g., happiness, sadness, anger, etc.

What People Share

If you look at your Facebook Newsfeed, it’s clear to see that some types of content get shared more than others. In addition to understanding people’s motivations for sharing content, it’s also valuable to understand what kinds of content people are most likely to share.

Post Elements

These are elements of the Facebook post itself.

  • Images: Content containing at least one image is shared twice as often as content with no images.
  • Facts: Especially when those facts are surprising. If people are surprised by your information, they will probably want to share this unexpected information with other people.
  • Choose popular topics: Good news for your practice! BuzzSumo found that cats and dogs are among the most popular topics to share. However, to add an extra element to your content, try making your posts relevant/current or health-related as well. These popular topics will also add to the shareability of your posts.
  • Charts: These kinds of posts help people visualize important or shocking statistics, making them more meaningful, interesting, and by extension, shareable!

Content Elements

These are the elements of the content on your website that you can share on Facebook to direct people back to your site. These include the best kinds of blog posts and content to create and share on social to drive traffic back to your practice website:

  • Quizzes: Quizzes come up time and again in research as being the most shared type of content. This ties into one of the factors from above – people like content that helps them reveal who they are to others, even if that identity is how much of a cat lady they are. The good news is, there are plenty of free quiz services (e.g., Qzzr) out there that will not only let you create your own quizzes (e.g., what kind of dog would you be), but also embed those quizzes directly into your practice website, so when people click to take the quiz, they’re taken right back to your website.
  • Listicles: Lists of information are some of the most popular content on the Internet right now, and with good reason. They let audiences know exactly how many pieces of valuable information your content contains. Turn more of your blog posts into lists for an added share boost.
  • Stories: Nothing catches our interest and tugs our heartstrings faster than a story. Stories are how people create meaning in the world and better remember information, so it makes sense that touching stories and unusual case studies would be shared more often.

How to Use This Information For Your Practice (With Examples)

Based on the research above, here are some tips for creating shareable content for your practice Facebook Page (with real-life examples):

  1. The number one thing to ask yourself when attempting to create shareable content is, “Would I share this with my friends and family?”
  2. The best types of posts to create are:
  3. Make sure you’re always incorporating visuals into your posts, whether those are images with your blog posts, graphics you created in Canva, or videos you took of your staff at work.

Bonus: Research also revealed that the most shares happen on Tuesdays, but as a more overall trend, shares are far more likely during the week than on weekends.
Ultimately, creating shareable posts can be a little hit and miss, because, as we said, shares are the hardest form of engagement to get. However, by keeping these elements of shared posts in mind when you’re posting to Facebook, you can give your posts a better shot at being shared, reaching plenty more people, and ultimately, raising greater awareness of your practice.

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