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The Secrets Behind Likes, Shares and Comments on Social Media

Date Created: 2/12/2020
Social media are powerful communication tools for multiple diverse functions. Many people use them to chat with friends, to find company or to relax after a hard day’s work among other reasons. At the same time, big corporations create large marketing campaigns and smaller businesses have access to a more affordable way of self-promotion. It is impressive to think how this whole story started and where it has got right now. Its future might be even more surprising.
We could get into more detail by explaining the impact of different platforms on ourselves and our societies, but that would take a more philosophical approach and a single article would turn into a book. A short answer stems from the fact that almost 50% of all people on earth are Facebook users now. That alone, more or less, describes the power of social media.
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Nevertheless, a few parameters are countable; parameters such as likes, shares and comments. Through surveys and researches we can shed some light and understand why we react the way we do. And, who knows? Possibly, by understanding what type of content makes us react, we could in turn come up with creative content ideas that make it unlikely for others not to react.
So, let us take a look on some social media facts and parameters that make an actual difference.
Why do we use Facebook? 
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  • First and foremost, our pupil dilation shows that using Facebook makes us happy.
  • According to Elan Morgan’s 2-week experiment, Facebook provides a quick and easy way to show we approve content (posts, pictures and videos).
  • Medical News Today’s research showed that we feel rewarded when receiving multiple likes or comments from other users.
  • A study by Pnas.org claims that we can easily reveal some part of our identity through Facebook. Based on a user’s likes alone, we can find out about a person’s:
    • Cultural/ethnic background with 95% accuracy.
    • Sexual orientation with 88% accuracy.
    • Political views with 85% accuracy.
    • Gender with 93% accuracy.
    • Age with 75% accuracy.
    • 49% support brands they like.
    • 42% look for coupons or discounts.
    • 41% receive regular updates from brands they like.
    • 35% participate in contests.
    • 31% share personal good experiences.
    • 27% share interests/lifestyle with others.
    • 21% research brands so as to look for specific products/services.
    • 20% follow friends’ likes or follows.
    • 18% follow brand advertisements (tv, online, magazine).
    • 15% offer some type of promotion for brands.
Why do we comment?
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This can be answered more or less by doing an empirical study on ourselves. What do we expect from other users whenever we comment? Are we trying to make a statement? Are we trying to reveal some part of our personality? Are we trying to simply start a conversation and win a debate?
Whatever the case, comments are more expressive and richer than likes content-wise. This is supported by a research conducted by Molra Burke, who studied about 1,200 users on Facebook and found that personal messages are seen more positively by receivers compared to likes.
According to Burke, receiving composed personal messages makes us feel less lonely, whereas one-click communication makes no difference in mood. Also, perhaps even more interesting is the fact that sending messages on semi-public conversations is even more rewarding to receivers. “People whose friends write to them semi-publicly on Facebook experience decreases in loneliness.”, Burke says.
Why do we post status updates?
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Here are a few statistics provided by Pew Research:
  • 10% of Facebook users change or update their own status on Facebook every single day.
  • 4% update more than once per day.
  • 25% of Facebook users report that they never update their status.
Once again, it seems that posting status updates makes us feel less lonely as well. According to a study, students that updated their Facebook statuses more often reported lower levels of loneliness. By posting status updates, we somewhat seek some kind of attention, and, whenever we do receive it, we feel acknowledged.
On the contrary, however, self-restraint is a common phenomenon for most of us. Based on a study, users self-censor themselves. It was found that over the course of 17 days, 71% of the surveyed people typed at least one status or comment and decided not to submit it.
Why do we share?
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A global study conducted by Ipsos found some interesting facts on users’ behavior:
  • 61% share interesting posts.
  • 43% share important or funny posts.
  • 37% let others know about their beliefs.
  • 30% promote or recommend a product, service, movie, book, etc.
  • 29% support a cause, organization or belief.
  • 26% share unique posts.
  • 22% let others know what they do.
  • 20% add to a thread or conversation.
  • 10% showcase their knowledge.
Another study conducted by New York Times found that there are five main factors on why we share:
  • To provide valuable and entertain content to other users. 49%.
  • To define or introduce ourselves to others. 68%.
  • To develop or enhance relationships. 78%.
  • To get more involved in what goes around us and fulfill our goals. 69%.
  • To voice important issues or causes. 84%.
As OneTeam, our job is to keep evolving. This comes with finding useful insights that help us build better and more contemporary strategies. Social media are very impactful and we always try to make use of them as accurately as possible.


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