In this fairly young world of social sharing, we've discovered that many small business owners don't know the proper etiquette for sharing others' content. Some, in fact, don't quite understand how sharing others' content could actually benefit them.
Their confusion is understandable. If you think about it, it makes sense to create your own content to share. That way you come across as the thought leader/influencer, and you get more traffic to your website.
That's a very good thing.
Except, what's missing in that equation is the social aspect of social media. Allow us to explain.
Think of social media as an ongoing conversation
The most fruitful and rewarding conversations you have in your life are a two-way street. Both people involved are engaged and contribute. You listen. You talk. You acknowledge. One-way conversations - where all you do is talk, talk, talk - alienate your audience.
The content producer who originally shared the content wants others to respond. That's why they shared it! They want you to comment, retweet, or reference their post. They'll appreciate it, and you might earn yourself a new follower or friend in the process.
When you share, you put yourself in front of new audiences
Social media has revolutionized the concept of connectivity. You can leverage this connectivity through sharing others' content. For example, let's say you've targeted several thought leaders in your industry and follow them on social media. If you continuously share and comment on their content, you're exposing your brand to new audiences. And, if these are true thought leaders, chances are they have thousands of followers, all of who are seeing and reading what you say and share.
You show you're up to date
No one knows everything about their industry. That's impossible. And even if you did, you don't want to come across as a know-it-all. That doesn't transfer well in the social landscape. By sharing others' content and getting involved in their conversations, you're demonstrating your desire to keep up with the happenings of your industry. Rather than being closed off in your own world, you're taking notice of what others have to say.
More than just helping you reach your digital marketing goals, sharing and reading up on others' content will, in fact, help you remain on the cutting edge of your industry.
You can't make all the content on your own
We'll be the first to tell you that creating original content is a key ingredient to your online success. It helps with SEO, and is a staple item in your social media strategy. However, it's simply not possible for most businesses to create original content to keep up with the demands of the NOW society. Business owners who feel they have to create their own content 100% of the time are the ones who claim that social media offers a low return on investment.
There's a timeless adage out there: don't work harder; work smarter. We couldn't agree more. At this very moment, thousands of people are creating thought provoking and interesting material that you could use to help connect you with your customers. Use it! It'll benefit you and the original content creator.
Before you share others' content, a caveat:
Using others' content to benefit your own ventures is an acceptable, and effective, part of social media. But, we've seen many businesses falter in how they approach this practice.
When you create your own content, you know for certain that the content is on par with the message, voice, and expertise-level that you're looking to portray. That's not the case, all the time, with others' content.
These days, it's so easy so see a headline in your social stream that speaks to you, and simply repost that on behalf of your business, without reading the content attached.
We strongly encourage you to read through and view any content (posts, infographics, videos) that you intend on sharing on your own behalf. That way you can be certain that the post you're about to share will positively contribute to your ongoing conversation, rather than detract from it.
Don’t take credit for others’ work
Another key point is that when you share others’ work, you absolutely do NOT take credit for their work. This goes back to the two-way conversation. You should always link to the original source content and reference whose content it originally was. That way this truly is a win-win situation, for you and the original content creator.
Still not sure how best to use others' content for your own benefit? Contact Vizoop today to learn more about how to become a social media superhero.