Sharing content on social media sites is a great way to interact with your followers, customers, and prospects — and you don’t necessarily need to be the author in order to look like an expert on the topic. Not only can you share articles, videos, photos, and info-graphics that communicate relevant ideas with your followers, sharing content has other benefits.
Why You Should Share Content
Why share content created by someone else? Sharing content created by others signals that you are an active learner who likes to stay well informed. It also shows that you are generous in helping others who share your interests. In addition, you can also spread goodwill by sharing content created by those you follow. Some will even return the favor which could lead to additional exposure for your business.
Sharing content also builds trust and authority as well as keeps you relevant. For example, sharing the latest government report affecting your industry shows that you know what you are talking about and that you have access to the latest information.
Imagine a customer having to choose between two companies, one that constantly posts “buy now” messages but little else and one that regularly demonstrates current knowledge and authority about issues affecting customers. Which one would you feel most confident in?
The Difference between Sharing and Copying
Before you start sharing content, it’s important to recognize the difference between sharing and copying. Sharing a link that points to the original content is the right approach. It gives credit where credit is due and takes users directly to the source. There is no doubt as to who the author is.
In contrast, copying and pasting information into a post could give the false impression that you are the author. If it’s a short snippet or quote, this is permissible as long as you cite it properly. Unless you have sought permission with a valid working relationship (see notice below).
Where to Get Share-worthy Content
So, where should you get content to share with your followers? You can start right on your favorite social media networks by following thought leaders in your niche and re-tweeting or sharing their content. You can also keep your eyes on trending topics.
While you’ll often have a wealth of share worthy content at your fingertips, you may want to venture outside of your social networking sites periodically to find the latest information that hasn’t already made its rounds. Subscribe to RSS feeds relevant to your business or set up Google Alerts so that you are informed any time a given topic makes headlines. You can also use news and business aggregator sites such as Alltop, Google News, and News360.
Sharing content on your social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can position you as an authority, build goodwill, and extend your reach. Finding good sources of relevant, authoritative information and then sharing links is easy, and your followers will likely view your business favorably as a result.