How Consumers Use Social Networks to Connect with Food Retailers: Sharing Facebook Content

Posted: May 14, 2012

As we continue with presenting data from an Internet survey conducted to learn how consumers use social media to engage with food retailers, below you will see highlights related to the demographic characteristics of participants who shared content on Facebook and with whom they shared.
Figure 1.  Example of the Facebook "share" link.

Figure 1. Example of the Facebook "share" link.

First, we should define “sharing.”  Sharing takes place when someone clicks on the “share” link on a given Facebook page (as seen is Figure 1) to repost the original Facebook message on their own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, or send it as a private message to another Facebook user.  Of the 94% of respondents who had active Facebook accounts, over 42% had shared at least one item from a business’s page.

As we’ve seen in some previous data, younger participants were most likely to share content posted on a food retailer’s Facebook page.  However, the percentages were about the same for those between 18 and 48 years of age with a significant drop for those age 49 and older (Table 1).

Table 1.  Percent of survey participants in each age group who have shared content posted on a Food Retailer’s Facebook page.

Age group     
Percent response
18 to 24
25 to 36
37 to 48
49 to 64
65 and older

When sharing content, Facebook allows users to choose what groups of friends (all friends, a list that the user has created, or specific people, for example, based on interests or how they know them) to share with.  Table 2 shows the percent of participants who shared content with all friends or with a list, as a percentage of those who shared content.  You can see that most participants who shared have done so with their entire friend list as opposed to a self-created list.

Table 2.  Percent of survey participants in each group who have shared with all Facebook friends or just those on a list they created.

Age group  
All Facebook friends
Created lists
18 to 24
62.2% 26.7%
 25 o 36
48.8% 25.2%
 37 to 48
51.1% 30.7%
 49 to 64
34.9% 15.8%
 65 and older  
22.2% 18.5%

A great way to reach new audiences is to have Facebook followers share your content with their friends.  It multiplies your message’s reach and can drive traffic to your page.  To facilitate sharing, it is important to craft messages that appeal to younger audiences (as seen in Tables 1 and 2).

In the next article, we will present data that discusses who is blogging or tweeting.  To view the entire YouTube series, please visit

Contact Information

Jeffrey Hyde, Ph.D.
  • Associate Director of Programs
Phone: 814-865-5666
Kathy Kelley
  • Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
Phone: 814-863-2196
Dana Ollendyke
  • Extension Associate
Phone: 814-863-5567