Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash

When I say the words “social media marketing”, do you hear drum-rolls and trumpets, and visualize big, bold letters spelling out the word “opportunity”? I’m glad we’re on the same page. You’re probably already aware of how crucial social media content is in defining your brand’s popularity online.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some secrets for keeping your audience engagement on track. While this is a lighter approach than plastering your brand across everyone’s social media feeds, it definitely helps build your brand persona online. Hop on, and let’s take a trip beyond your virtual walls into the parallel dimension of third party information.

Behold—social media sharing

There are myriad ways to share content on social media. But we aren’t talking about product reviews or glowing news articles that bring the focus directly to your business. We’re talking about sharing content that doesn’t belong to your company at all, but is pushed out of your social media channels. We’re talking about third-party content.

But what kind of third-party content?

Fair question. There seems to be no end to the shareable content that’s out there. The Internet is a gift that keeps on giving. But hold on—that doesn’t mean you should go sharing listicles or cat GIFs on your social media (unless your brand monetizes on animated felines).

There’s a bit of a learning curve in knowing what kind of third-party content to share with your audience. You want to add a nice pinch of value with every post you share, even if it’s not your own content, but each brand defines value in a different way. To a snack company, aligning with a popular Netflix show is valuable. For a consumer tech giant, sharing news on Black Friday sales is where it’s at.

Once you know what content is valuable for you, you still have to make your message make sense—this is the hard part! Because, in order to be heard, you have to be relevant. Repeat after me: relevance is everything!

Not to worry, though. There are some clear guidelines to help ensure the relevance of your shared posts. The content you curate should largely fit within these basic parameters:

  • Brand Vision
  • Industry
  • Associated business/activity
  • Target Audience
  • Governance & Policy

Keep these in mind, and you’re good to go. I mean, we can’t stop you from sharing memes and cat GIFs, but don’t say we didn’t warn you! 🙂

So we’ve established that third-party content can really add value to your overall social media strategy. But no good thing comes without its own set of terms and conditions. Third party content-sharing can be a double-edged sword, especially when the content you share is out of sync with your brand’s core values. You could end up sending mixed signals about your brand or worse, unintentionally soft-sell a company or website. So the obvious question is—why does your brand need to share third-party content on social media at all?

We tracked down the WHYs for you.

1. Prevent social media graveyards

Rapid-fire time! What do empty hallways remind you of? (Besides the weird twins from The Shining, of course).  

That’s right, they remind you of nothing really. Your social media feed is like this metaphorical empty hallway, which looks better with a steady stream of useful, thought-provoking content running through it. While some brands don’t churn out a high volume of original content, curating interesting third-party content is a way to keep your social media from falling into snooze mode!

 Coming up with a steady supply of content can be daunting, especially if you’re a growing business. This is where social media sharing can come to your rescue. Not only does sharing relevant content help build a conversation with your audience, it also keeps your social media accounts active. While spamming your followers with irrelevant content can show them the door, building conversations around interesting updates in your domain can keep them glued to their seats.

2. Avoid coming across too desperate or ‘salesy’

Is there anything more annoying than an inbox cluttered with offers and promotions for products you’re not interested in? Think of social media like a larger, more customized inbox, where people want to see only what’s relevant to them. This is why your brand should know when to hold back on promoting itself. With social media sharing, you can intersperse promotional content with interesting reads, add texture to your content, and not come across like a desperate salesperson.

Remember—more posts don’t always guarantee more followers. Your strategy when sharing content should always be curating relevant posts, even if it means you have to cut back on your post volume once in a while. Nobody likes the obnoxiously over-talkative neighbor who’s always retelling the same story. Don’t be that neighbor!

3. Add value, educate your audience

Witty, well-read, and resourceful. No, we’re not talking about building the perfect dating profile. We’re talking about your social media game. We’ve seen some of the big players in the market churn out good content by the bushel (think Nike and its host of educational articles on fitness and well-being). But what if your brand doesn’t have the bandwidth to create a lot of educational content?

That’s okay—social media sharing can give you a leg up here. When you share informative posts that fit your brand’s domain—whether it’s a stock market update or a DIY craft hack—your followers can benefit from the content you’re hand-picking for them.

Let’s look at Whole Foods, for example:

Picture: Whole Foods Market Blog

Here’s a brand that does justice to this strategy. They’re not just sprinkling your feed with posts about discounted wine and cheese selections. Take a stroll around their social media pages and you’ll find yourself knee-deep in research, looking up things like hydroponic plants and mock meat that never mattered to you until Whole Foods started the conversation. They use social media sharing to throw light on their industry as a whole, complementing this shared content with their own blog, which offers recipes, nutrition discussions, and more.

The Whole Foods approach demonstrates one thing loud and clear—a brand that gets you opening tabs on your browser is definitely doing something right. There may be no instant ROI in educating your audience, but it will help get them engaged with your industry and your brand’s narrative. Unless you educate people, how will they see a need for what you’re offering?

So now you know—a simple thing like sharing can add heaps of value to your social media strategy. While content sharing isn’t rocket science, you shouldn’t get complacent. (Seriously, put away that cat GIF and listen!)

You need a crystal-clear understanding of your brand’s ethos and what kind of content you want to share under your company’s name. Remember, anything you share is coming from brand’s mouth!

And there you have it—the secrets to content-sharing and why it should be part of your social media efforts.

 

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