A survey suggests that the more Likes, Retweets and +1s content receives, the more people will be drawn to branded content in the future.

In an extensive new survey conducted by SurveyMonkey, consumers’ online behaviors were mapped out, evaluated and dissected, to help marketers understand how to best reach their unique audiences online. When it comes to social media hubs like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, brands know custom content is king, but many struggle to write and share engaging copy.

SurveyMonkey’s insights suggest that engaging social media content reflects a group mentality greater than any single post’s appeal. The source looked at viral content across the three major platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Google+), determining that posts with the most engagement will, in effect, receive further interactions from new viewers. Out of 629 participants, 374 people were asked about their likelihood of reading an article on Facebook that already had 451 Likes. The other 255 internet users received a survey asking if they were likely to read an article with only 11 Likes. The experiment found that users were drawn toward the headline with the most Likes.

The same response was seen on Twitter, with a greater number of people saying they would more likely read an article with 697 Retweets over a post with only six. Google+ respondents indicated a similar trend, showing greater interest in posts with a volume of +1’s compared to articles with fewer interactions. As evidenced from SurveyMonkey’s data, social media content creates a snowball effect, where readers attract more viewers, making content more visible across channels.

SurveyMonkey notes that Likes beget additional interactions, which increases exposure, impressions and, inevitably, conversions.

According to two studies from the Content Marketing Institute at the end of 2012, producing content that resonates with audiences is a top challenge for both B2Bs and B2Cs. Data showed that 52 percent of business-facing and 49 percent of consumer-facing companies struggle to product the type of media that draws readers or viewers in and pushes them along the sales cycle. SurveyMonkey data suggests that, in some cases, engagement is the result of social virality more than superior copy.

Content marketing professionals who distribute posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ might overlook the value of Likes, as it’s often too hard to calculate content ROI from these signals. However, SurveyMonkey notes that Likes beget additional interactions, which increases exposure, impressions and, inevitably, conversions. While the data does not suggest marketers transition their strategies to focus on generating Likes over quality leads, it does show that social interactions do play a part in lead generation online.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.