14 Reasons – Why Do People Post On Social Media? Psychology Guide (2024)

Wondering why do people post on social media? I’ve listed 14 key reasons below.

As they become a bigger part of the modern world, we can learn more about our personal psychology by evaluating our use of social networking websites.

That’s why I was keen to publish this guide. It’s a topic that’s becoming more common in my role as a life coach. 

So, let’s dive in. 

Why Do People Post On Social Media? 14 Reasons

Here are 14 common reasons why people make social media posts, as suggested by social media experts.

1. Curating A Personal Brand

Businesses spend millions of dollars per year, curating their ‘brand image’ and spreading it to be seen by as many people as possible, because they want to be perceived in a favorable light.

With the dawn of social media, people are doing the same thing with their ‘personal brand’.

For better or worse, we all care how we are being perceived by other people. Now, thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, we have the ability to try and improve that perception for free.

The reason most people won’t post the negative parts of their life or a selfie where they’re not looking their best? It harms their personal brand. In the same way as businesses do, we’re all trying to look our best in the public eye, all the time. 

Related Content: People Think I’m Weird – Reasons Why This Is A Good Thing 

2. They Want To Be Heard

Humans are inherently tribal creatures, with an inherent desire to be accepted and ‘liked’ by our community. We want to feel our opinions are important.

That’s a big reason why people share their opinions on Facebook and other social media platforms. We are often looking to confirm that our opinion means something, by receiving positive feedback such as likes and comments. 

Of course, it’s not always as deep as that. Sometimes, it’s simply that our sense of self-importance tells us we have an opinion that everyone needs to hear. 

Why Do People Post On Social Media
Photo By natanaelginting On freepik

3. They Want People To Consume Their Content 

There are plenty of social media users out there who spend a lot of time creating content, whether that’s a blog post, YouTube video or series of photos. In many cases, the creator puts in the effort because they think the content will be interesting, entertaining or useful to others.

Naturally then, they want lots of people to consume that content. So, it makes perfect sense for them to post a link to all of their social media followers.  

4. They Want To Promote A Business, Event Or Special Cause

The magic of social media sites is that you can potentially reach millions of people at the click of a button. Better yet, you can reach your followers at no cost to yourself.

Nearly every business owner on the planet is smart enough to indulge in social media marketing. On top of that, plenty of social media users will use their personal profiles to give exposure to a business, event or special cause that is important to them.

5. They Want To Stay Connected

Over time, social media has become the primary means for keeping in touch with loved ones, especially with younger generations.

Millennials and Gen-Z are less likely than previous generations to phone their buddies. Many opt to keep in touch by ‘liking’, ‘commenting or sliding in the DMs on social media instead. In our modern society, more and more relationships are being cultivated and maintained over the internet. 

As such, many people sense a need to post on social media just to stay connected with their friends. A new photo or Facebook status gives their buddies a new opportunity to reach out to them.

If someone wasn’t to post for several months, they might not hear from their outer circle of friends during that time. 

Related Content: What To Do If You’re Tired Of Begging For Attention

6. They Want To Strengthen Relationships

Posting a photo with friends or family members on social media has become a common method of strengthening relationships with them. Essentially, the user is communicating: “Hi world, this is my friend and I’m proud of them.”  

It’s now a common trend to upload a series of old photos with a friend when it’s their birthday. Plus, when a friend uploads a photo with you, it’s considered good practice to reciprocate. 

7. They Want A Self-Esteem Boost

When someone uploads a sexy photo or news of a great achievement online, they are usually doing that for the praise of others.

They want the self-esteem boost of men lusting over their photos, or distant friends congratulating them on their achievement. 

We’ll explore the link between social media and self-esteem in more detail below.  

8. They Want To Market Themselves

Of course, there are more practical reasons than a self-esteem boost to upload flattering content to social media.

On LinkedIn, upon seeing a man’s incredible professional achievement, a business owner might reach out to hire him for his company. On Instagram, upon seeing a woman’s incredible ass pic, a business owner might reach out to fly her out to his mansion in Dubai. Both scenarios would appear to be as common as each other these days. 

Either way, your social media profile is your online business card and can create fantastic opportunities out of nothing.  

9. They Want A Dopamine Hit

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone; a huge part of the brain’s reward system.

It’s well-known that dopamine is released during pleasurable activities like sex, taking drugs, playing video games or eating delicious food. This is what can make all these activities highly addictive.   

However, it’s less well-known that this chemical is released in anticipation of a reward. 

That’s why social media is so consistent for offering that dopamine hit. The ‘reward’ of a ‘like’, comment or other form of social validation isn’t guaranteed. That ups the anticipation, which intensifies the dopamine release.

The danger is: a dopamine hit only creates short-term satisfaction. People are prone to wanting more and more. Social media addiction is essentially dopamine addiction, and it’s becoming more common. 

It’s recommended to monitor your own psychological addiction to dopamine spikes, and to seek to gain some self-control over your social media use if it becomes too addictive. This list of strategies to develop absolute focus could help

10. They Want To Fit In

As part of our tribal nature, we strive to ‘fit in’ with our community. As such, there are people who make social media posts, simply because everyone else is.

This explains the popularity of social media ‘trends’ which frequently do the rounds, especially on platforms like Twitter or TikTok. 

11. They Want To Boost Their Metrics

There are plenty of businesses sharing content online, because they want to sell more of their products and services. 

At the same time, more social media users are striving to become ‘influencers’ who can monetize their social media audience. 

Either way, to achieve this goal, they will need to build their following. To do that, they need to get in the habit of frequently posting content that their target audience enjoys. 

12. They Want To Share Great Content

When social media users discover interesting content, they will often share it to try and entertain their online friends.

If someone is a Facebook group or another online community of people with similar interests, they’re more likely to be posting online about those interests. 

However, this will often only be the case if it fits into one of the aforementioned reasons for social sharing. For example, if social media users decide a funny video doesn’t fit their personal brand or won’t boost their metrics, it’s common they’ll decide not to post it. 

13. They Want An Incentive

As part of their social media marketing plan, many businesses are offering incentives to individuals who share their content. Indeed, there are plenty of people willing to share content just to get free stuff. 

14. They Use Social Media As Cloud Storage

Back in the day, people would print their most treasured photos and store them in photo albums. Those days are long gone. Instead, our photos are uploaded online where they can be safely stored and accessed forever.

While some people have privacy-related concerns, there are plenty who will upload their photos to Facebook, just to ensure they never lose access to their favorite memories. 

The Psychology Of Social Media

I wanted to round off this guide with the answers to some frequently asked questions surrounding the psychology of social media.  

Why Do We Post Pictures On Social Media?

Photos are more engaging than words. That’s why they say a picture is worth 1,000 words. 

Posting Too Much on Social Media Psychology

Why do some people seem to feel compelled to post every element of their personal lives on social media, while others don’t? In most cases, it’s because they need positive feedback from others more than the average person. 

The person who is more private about their daily lives usually doesn’t need to promote a business, nor seek validation from other people, most likely because they already have a positive self-view and a healthy sense of self-esteem.   

Sharing Personal Life On Social Media

On top of not needing the validation from the internet, people have different opinions about privacy. 

Some people care about their privacy more than the benefits of posting social media content.  Others believe privacy doesn’t matter and care more about the benefits of being an active social media user. 

Why Do People Post Selfies?

Selfies are a common form of social media content, particularly among those searching for a self-esteem boost.

With that said, a photo with someone’s face in it makes it unique to them. Indeed, there are millions of photos of the Eiffel Tower, but only one with my face in it.     

What’s more, a study from digital marketing website Buffer suggests selfies are 38% more likely to get ‘likes’ and 32% more comments. As part of the study, the authors suggested that selfies guide the gaze of the audience, create empathy and humanize a brand. 

Many studies have linked frequent social media usage with low self-esteem.

It’s suggested that constantly being exposed to more socially desirable people can have a negative impact on the self-worth of young internet users in particular.

Many users are prone to comparing the ‘highlight reels’ of influencers to their own normal existence – and it’s believed to be harming their emotional well-being.

These feelings of low self-worth might motivate people to post online even more, to boost their perceived social currency. The thing is: there’s no guarantee that will work. If it doesn’t, it may create an endless negative cycle of social sharing, feeling worthless, then sharing more. 

This is just one example of the ways social media can have negative effects on mental health. It can create more harm than good. 

It’s worth remembering that the lifestyles presented by social media users are rarely akin to their true personas. More likely, they’re curating online content to present their ‘ideal self’.

So, take all social media content with a pinch of salt and monitor if it’s affecting your self-esteem. If it is, consider discussing this with a therapist or life coach

If you’re frequently using social media to boost self-esteem and increase your sense of self-worth offline, it’s worth discussing this with a professional. 

Any More Questions About Social Media Sharing?

Thanks for reading my article. Hopefully, you now have a better sense of why people share content on social media.

If so, perhaps you’d consider sharing this post on Facebook or other social networking sites. That would mean the world to me 😉

If you have any further questions about why people share content online, feel free to leave a comment below. 

It would be great to hear from you – and I’ll answer your question to the best of my ability.

Related Posts

Types Of Anger & Learning To Be Angry

Ways To Stop Depending On External Validation

Radical Acceptance Coping Statements 

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.