Social media is an integral part of modern marketing.
According to a survey in the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner, more than 50% of marketers said that their social media efforts led to improved sales. Social media is clearly a powerful marketing and service tool, but it also creates a seemingly unlimited appetite for content, leading to the question: What to post?
People are constantly trying to strike the right balance between their own original content and content curated from other sources. It’s a widespread dilemma and it’s impossible to prescribe the right percentages for success.
Author/entrepreneur James Altucher once wrote, “The more value you bring to the people in your network (even if it doesn’t directly bring value to you in an immediate way), the greater the value of your network. And then the greater value you will have.”
Perhaps this is the logic of those who repeatedly share outside content. Individuals and companies often scour the internet for content to share, in order to position themselves as credible influencers of their industry. Marketers can also study other content in order to improve their own.
But is there greater value in sharing original content? By providing exclusive content to followers, companies can directly maintain a consistency of quality. They can ensure that the content is directly tailored to their audiences. And most beneficially, they can promote their own products, services, and brands.
As the Chief Marketing Officer for Bankers Healthcare Group, Chris Panebianco is responsible for an array of global marketing initiatives. When asked whether companies should only share their own original content, Panebianco replied, “Nobody likes the guy in the room who talks about himself all the time. The same can be said about companies and brands that only post about themselves on social media — you’re probably going to bore or alienate people.”
He continued, “A better approach is sharing a mix of organic and curated content. First, it provides balance. Second, it shows that you know what’s happening in your industry or what’s important to your audience. Third, it can validate your credibility; for example, sharing a third-party article that mentions your company or quotes one of your experts. As far as what to share and how to split the difference, it always comes back to these questions: What’s your strategy, who’s your audience, and what kind of content is the most engaging? The key is to measure and optimize based on results.”
Panebianco also explained that professionals can become influencers by interacting with key audiences and sharing insights and valuable content with them. “Being an influencer is like any other relationship — you get out of it what you’re willing to put into it,” he added.
As VP of Marketing and Government Relations for Sutherland Government Solutions and as President of Brooks Consulting International, Chuck Brooks is one example of an influencer. LinkedIn named him as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn.” He is a leading voice on cybersecurity matters, with previous appointments at the Department of Homeland Security and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also been recognized as Cybersecurity Marketer of the Year.
When asked to comment on strategies behind content sharing, Brooks replied, “Original content is always great to bring to the table on social media because it demonstrates expertise, and showcases capabilities and solutions to issues.”
Brooks also noted that there is value in promoting other posts and content, in order to add to the discussion and build relationships. He said that if a company is less well-known, “targeted original content would be a better avenue to pursue to raise their profile” because it would distinguish them from the noise of competitors.
But there are also hazards in content sharing. Some people are wary of the potential misperception that they are endorsing other individuals or organizations by sharing their content.
“If you are doing business with or for a public sector agency there are sometimes additional considerations such as how posting may impact on fairness of procurements,” advised Brooks. “You need to be astute to the issues and controversies that can emerge if something is misconstrued in a post.”