It’s all about sharing.

Recently, I was reminded of this when I happened upon two toddlers wrestling with a toy and heard their mothers admonish them: “You have to learn to share.” But it’s hard to suppress that selfish tendency that makes each of us want to get the attention, take the credit and say “Mine!”

When it comes to social media, Mom knows best. You need to embrace sharing ideas, sharing the limelight and sharing content. So I’m surprised to find some B2B marketers still struggling with the idea of sharing other people’s content on their brands’ social handles.

Here are three reasons sharing is good for your social media strategy:

  • Build trust with your target buyers. Content marketing is about producing brand content that you can use to build awareness and trust with your prospects. The problem? Share only your content, and your target audience may not believe you have their best interests at heart. If you also share other people’s content that helps your buyer, the trust meter goes way up!
  • Supplement your content production efforts. I don’t know about your company, but most of my clients don’t have the resources to compete with large enterprises and their extensive content teams or big agency resources. Even if you wanted to, chances are you don’t produce enough high-quality content to fuel robust social media efforts. The solution? Piggyback on the content development efforts of others.
  • Get on the radar of content creators. You know that nice feeling you get when someone shares your blog post, tweet or LinkedIn update? Well, others feel that way, too. That means when you share someone else’s content, you have the opportunity to get on their radar, which also increases the chances they’ll return the favor sometime.

Whose Content Should You Share?

Of course you still need to figure out whose content to share. The answer comes from understanding which content sources your target audience engages with. Here are four types to consider:

  • Top publications. These include both mainstream and industry publications and blogs. For example, here are 20 publications popular with the C-Suite as determined by my firm Leadtail’s social insights research:

 

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  • Popular hashtags. Searching on hashtags is a shortcut to discovering content worth sharing with your social audience. For example, if you sell to the C-Suite then you’ll want to see what content is being shared using the top hashtags that CFOs, CMOs and CIOs use (based on Leadtail research):

 

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  • Earned media. Technically speaking, media pickups and byline articles about your company count as other people’s content. So don’t be shy about actively sharing any positive mentions you get on social media.

Ways to Use Other People’s Content

Now that you have a good sense of what content sources to share, the next question is how best to share other people’s content on social media. Here are some tips:

  • Set up Twitter lists for the relevant publications and influencers, and then use these lists to curate content to tweet out on a daily basis. Search regularly on popular hashtags to find those articles, conversations and quotes that will engage your target audience. Go ahead and “favorite” earned media tweets so you can easily find them to share again later.
  • Share articles on your LinkedIn company page and LinkedIn groups that fit your editorial content themes, and that validate your market positioning or product offering. Consider also adding a “blurb” to help make the connection between your offering and the shared article. Post your earned media pickups, too!
  • Write blog posts that summarize other people’s research or breaking news stories. Craft weekly or monthly roundups of your favorite blog posts. And ask customers, prospects and influencers to contribute to your blog. But don’t forget to always give proper credit to the original authors of any content that you reference.

How often should you share other people’s content versus your own? That depends on how much brand content you regularly produce. For instance, if you’re cranking out high-quality content, then use other people’s content to show it’s not only about you and to build relationships with influencers and other important content creators. On the other hand, if you’re just getting the content machine going, then most of your social activity may come from sharing other people’s content.

Now feel free to share this post with your social audience!

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  drewwt