Brits Favour Sharing Visual Content

Brits are more likely to feel engaged, happy and accepted when sharing visual content on social media, according to a new survey.

In a survey of over 1,000 British consumers, visual marketing platform, Olapic, found that 33% share visual content at least once a week. Why is sharing so popular? Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths University of London, said: “The results demonstrate engagement as a key motivation, but more often than not, sharing is strongly influenced by the positive feelings you get when someone responds to your posts: happy, engaged, loved and accepted.”

Over half (54%) of respondents share status updates at least once a week, while nearly half (49%) do so with their own photos. Millennials (ages 19 to 29) are particularly avid sharers of their own photos, with just over half (51%) doing so at least weekly, while just under half or (46% of Generation X (ages 30 to 44) share their own photos at the same pace.

UK consumers also share third-party visual content, such as photos or videos created by brands, media and influencers: one third (33%) report sharing such content once a week or more, and 56% do so at least once a month. Forty-three per cent of Millennials share this type of content once a week or more, with 10% doing so multiple times a day. The figures remain high among Generation X with 40% sharing third-party content at least once a week, and 9% doing so more than once daily.

For the Millennial age group, Facebook and Instagram are the preferred social media platforms for photo-sharing. When asked how their use of each social media platform compares to a year ago, they reported that posting to Facebook is lower, in contrast to increased posting on Instagram.

Engagement promotes sharing and positive feelings

The survey suggests that self-expression is a key motivation for sharing content among the British. When asked why they share on social media, UK consumers say they post to let people know how they feel or what they have been doing (44%), because they think others would find their posts interesting (37%), and to be supportive of their friends and connections by posting things they care about (32%). Twelve percent said they post to specifically share purchases and lifestyle content with their networks. In contrast, only 6% of respondents indicated they share content online with the intent to ‘influence other people’s opinions’ of them.

“These results are something of a paradox,” Mr Freeman added. “It seems many people are unaware of or unable to admit actively influencing their online social contacts. But we are all influencing others constantly with what we choose to share. How we behave online speaks volumes about us, both consciously and unconsciously.”

The poll also asked consumers about their emotional reactions when posting on social media. For instance, when asked how they feel when people interact with their posts, 57% of respondents feel engaged with their friends, 35% feel happy, and 32% feel accepted. Interaction with shared content triggered an increase in online sharing with 28% of all respondents saying they tend to post more frequently when others like or comment on their posts. This is similar among men (30%) and women (26%), and is particularly true for Millennials aged 16-29, with 39 percent motivated to share more with more engagement. Similarly, 31% of Generation X respondents ages 30-44 post more frequently when their network engages with their posts.

“Brands seeking engagement with consumers must build their conversations and relationships on social media,” said Jose de Cabo, co-founder, Olapic.

“When consumers share branded content on their page or feed, brands become associated with these carefully crafted representations. Moreover, if the content shared sparks social media interaction, brands will become associated with feelings of self-confidence and importance among their audience and potential customers.”

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