The biggest problem I have with social sharing is the suckiness I see on a daily basis. Nothing irritates me more than clicking on a link and seeing something that is rehashed content and/or something that offers no value <- these two things equal ‘suckiness’.
If you are on social and your goal is get people to follow you because you are a resource, then a priority should be sharing outstanding information. In my opinion you can never be a resource unless you share information that is unique and educational/helpful to others.
So, below are my thoughts on what is required if you are hoping to share the best of the best information.
Be Ready, Time is Needed for Quality
Part of my job is to find articles that are relevant to followers and also to share articles that will be helpful in some way. I do this for my own branding and also for social accounts I am paid to run. A large amount of time is spent on this task because I have to be focused on each of the following:
Truth and Facts
Is the article accurate? If one thing is inaccurate in an article then the article cannot be shared. Why? It is a bad reflection on myself or the company I represent! If you are sharing an article you are essentially saying the facts/advice is good, so if this information is incorrect you could be contributing to the growth of an inaccurate belief.
To ensure that an article is accurate it requires that you read everything! You must read the entire article with a critical eye. If you are unsure about any aspect of the article you need to research or ask someone that knows a lot about the topic. Yes, this takes a lot of time, but it also makes you a credible resource.
Eliminating the Bad
If content is badly written or hard to read due to grammar or website design we are not sending our followers there. How can someone be a quality resource when they are sending followers to read something of bad quality? If something is hard for you to read then it will be hard for others. #Eliminate
Find the Unique
There are so many articles out there today that essentially say the same thing. The headlines might be different, but the points given are the same. Who wants to read the same thing over and over again?
While there are many articles that have the same three or four bits of advice, you will only know this if you are an active reader. You can’t eliminate rehashed articles unless you read, a lot! If you just read titles and scan headlines you will never know if the meat of the article is rehashed/spun content.
Again, time is needed and being an active reader is required if you are hoping to share quality content via social. You need to read a lot to find quality articles that offer unique information and perspectives that are factual.
Helpful / Educational
There is no reason to share an article unless it has something truly helpful to offer the reader. Remember when I said I was looking for articles that were “relevant to followers”? The only way to know if an article is helpful to your followers is to know who your followers are and what they are looking for. Understanding these things is critical for research and conversational purposes.
Know your audiences and then find what can be helpful and educational to them.
As an example, let’s say I know my followers are focused on social media marketing. I could share “5 Ways to Be Great at Social” (I am sure they have heard those tips before) or I could share something truly unique, helpful and educational like “The Big List of IFTTT Recipes: 34 Hacks for Hardcore Social Media Productivity“. Which sounds more appealing? Which is more helpful? Even if some of the followers are still in the 101 stage the IFTTT article would be far more helpful and educational.
Good Social Sharing Takes a Lot of Effort
If you want to get into the social sharing game you have to understand that a big time commitment is needed. It is not easy to find truly great content. Part of your job will be to read everything you can and explore blogs you have never heard of before. If you are sharing for a company please give this article to your boss so he/she can understand the time and effort required.
To be a great resource you have to find quality articles that are unique, factual, helpful and relevant to the audiences that you want to follow you.