Why are motivational quotes so powerful – and so popular – on social media?

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Some words never die.

 

Everybody has a motivational quote (or several) that they love. That they continue to remember, even if they first heard it many moons ago. Here’s my favourite:

 

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

 

It’s an old Japanese proverb, and while I can’t remember where I stumbled across it, I haven’t forgotten it since. To me, these words represent resilience, determination and even optimism – the drive to carry on when the odds are against you. All principles that really ring true with me.

But this quote is just a drop in the inspirational ocean when it comes to the digital sphere. It seems as though, over the past few years, motivational sayings have exploded all over social media (particularly Pinterest, which seems to have become a veritable hamster wheel of encouraging phrases on aesthetic backgrounds).

So – why has this happened, exactly? Why are we suddenly so invested in motivational quotes, and how come they stick with us? We put on our detective hats to discover the secret to their popularity and staying power. Here’s what we found.

 

A good quote speaks to you.

 

If something resonates with you – or if you can apply a phrase or idea to your life – you’re bound to remember it. That’s because when something impacts on you in an emotional sense, you’re scientifically more likely to recall it later (particularly if the emotion you’ve felt is positive).

This definitely feeds into our relationship with motivational quotes on social media. You need only consider the fact that 68% of people share content that they believe defines them (including what they can relate to), as they’re quick, easy ways to “define” oneself online. For brands and businesses, they can also be a great tool to attract attention from your target audience. They’ll help you to A), foster an emotional connection with them and B), paint you as the kind of brand that they’d want to engage with. Now that’s pretty inspirational, don’t you think?

 

A good quote makes you feel as though you’re part of a collective.

 

As humans, we’re constantly searching for a sense of belonging, which quotes can provide.

When you share a motivational quote on your social media feeds, or engage with it in any way, you’re putting your stamp on it. Portraying yourself as the type of person that agrees with, or acts on, that quote’s philosophy. Essentially, you’re categorising yourself as the intended audience for that quote, and are therefore applying a positive label to yourself.

Inspirational quotes

This, again, could help to explain why quotes have become such a powerful force online. They foster a sense of kinship between people on digital platforms – connecting us to celebrities, family members, thought leaders and more. This is something that humans innately seek out. Sharing quotes also serves to “profile” ourselves (as explored in our first point). A great double-whammy for our human psyche.

 

A good quote is like a good coach.

 

We all face challenges, and, when you’re going tête-à-tête with your demons, most of us welcome support. A motivational quote can provide this, granting some much-needed perspective and cheerleading when the going gets tough – kind of like a mentor or a teacher. You’ll likely walk away from reading it feeling a little bit better about yourself, knowing that somebody out there can relate to what you’re going through.

It’s not too difficult to see why this might account for motivational quotes’ growing popularity – particularly when you consider the challenges we’re facing as a society. For example, according to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK alone experience a mental health problem each year. In general, mental health issues are growing in the country, and we don’t think it’s too wild to suggest that this has impacted on our collective interest in inspiring quotes. This theory is supported further by the fact that there are plenty of social media accounts cropping up (such as The Latest Kate or Stacie Swift) that are designed to help those with mental health problems, specifically, and lean heavily on motivational quotes to provide inspiration. Supporting those who are struggling with mental health and using quotes to further this agenda, then, go nicely hand-in-hand.

 

It’s clear to see why good quotes are thriving… but that doesn’t mean you can’t put the effort in when writing your own.

 

It’s not enough to just “be positive” if you want your brand’s quotes to stick in people’s minds. They should offer a little extra – some stylistic flair, like a rhyme or a metaphor – to be truly memorable.

There’s research behind this. A study by scientists at Lafayette College found that, when two people were shown a statement (with exactly the same meaning), participants were more likely to say that the rhyming version was true. The way that you say things, then, makes a difference – and the most powerful quotes are the ones which are the most unique and compelling in the way they are written. Time to put on those thinking caps.

Want to start motivating your followers? Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Posted By

Laura Demaude