3rd party content: I couldn’t have said it better myself

3rd party content: I couldn’t have said it better myself

By Ian Robson

At TMT, we believe that a client’s brand identity should be considered as a real person, with real personality traits (such as their passions and fears). So, sharing third-party content on social media for a client can be fraught with real danger. It’s not a casual affair and needs to combine multiple stakeholders’ interests alongside the desire for long-term strategic audience growth.

First let’s define what’s meant by ‘real danger’ – after all, “no one’s gonna die” (something I often preach to my young son as a means to instil a sense of perspective in him). But in client terms, there are multiple variants of what ‘danger’ implies. For instance, if you get it woefully wrong, a social media ‘incident’ could lose you that client. Imagine posting a link to a brilliantly-written article that just happens to be hosted by your client’s main competitor?

Here are some other things you should consider:

  • How can you know how accurate or reputable the third-party post is?

  • Now that your audience has been pointed to said third-party, will they jump ship?

  • Does your client have a private blacklist of third-party sites that they’ve not told you about?

Managing a client’s social media channels requires a thorough understanding of their brand voice and personality, especially if you’re going to make decisions on their behalf. Getting those decisions right can lead to credible and growing target audience engagement.

The benefits of association

Whether putting the world to rights down the pub, gassing by the water-cooler, or feeding our own personal social media channels, we share content because we feel that it reflects or even represents our own views. We are very much defined by what we choose to share, and this will be no different to how your clients’ social media channels will be perceived through what you choose to share.

Simply piping up whenever you come across something that piques your interest, stating: “Ooooooo – read this!” is wholly unacceptable if you expect to nurture your audience. Whereas stating why its interesting, why it’s important to you, where you stand regards the points conveyed, and even what you think about the source of the content adds new and original dimensions to the content shared. And all this reflects directly upon you in potentially more positive ways for associating with the content in such a qualitative manner.

Simply piping up whenever you come across something that piques your interest, stating “Ooooooo – read this!” is wholly unacceptable

Of course, you would never want to ‘pass off’ third-party content as your own. So, be sure to be clear that your opinion and views are shared with the author. But this does also raise the question as to why didn’t you (or couldn’t you) write something similar yourself rather than point to someone else? This question could also be resonating behind closed doors at your clients’ offices, so you’ll need to head off any potential negative slur with robust arguments in favour of third-party sharing.

Why do it?

Here’s our top 10 reasons why sharing third-party content doesn’t need to undermine your authority with your target audience. In fact, it could actually re-enforce it. Consider these points:

  1. Expert curation is a valuable skill and displays your inherent knowledge of a subject as you cut through the noise to content that you feel is worthy of attention

  2. Joining in topical talking points by commenting on other people’s opinion, whether contrary or building upon it, creates associative value through displaying your own expertise

  3. The zeitgeist waits for no one. Rather than waste time authoring, gaining approval, publishing and promoting your own content, you can establish your client’s brand as a valuable source of timely information by reacting to a timely third-party post instead

  4. Sell, sell, sell! Even seeing those words here is unappealing. So, don’t just ‘sell, sell, sell’ via your social media accounts; you need to inform and entertain to be ‘social’ and engage successfully with your target audience

  5. There are only so many ways you can refer to the same content on your site before you start repeating yourself. Third-party shares will instil much needed variety in your social feeds

  6. Sharing someone else’s content is an easy way to expand your client’s social network and strengthen their online community, as very often the action is reciprocated against your content

  7. Sharing links to substantial pieces of research is again displaying expert content curation skills, but it may also supplement a content budget that doesn’t extend to such work

  8. Having your client’s finger on the pulse, in terms of sharing timely and topical talking points, provides an even greater level of authority and credibility in a market sector than just publishing and promoting their own content

  9. It can be quite a challenge to regularly post fresh content daily. Fortunately, there’s a whole world of high-quality, relevant content creators out there ready to support your social needs

  10. And finally, nobody wants to listen to somebody talking about themselves all the time – this could be construed as self-absorbed and potentially alienate customers

And if truth be told, there are certain occasions when I cannot imagine myself writing or saying something in such a clear and concise manner as someone else. In short, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”

On that note, additional ideas and musings on this subject can be found from these third-party articles:

https://www.rallyverse.com/blog/index.php/30-60-10-the-golden-ratio-for-social-media-marketing-updated/

http://thinkglinkmedia.com/2014/08/19/the-value-of-3rd-party-content/

https://business.yell.com/knowledge/social-media/sharing-third-party-content-on-social-media-six-rules/

That Media Thing provides highly skilled content marketing services to suit any budget. Why not drop us a line at contact@thatmediathing.com to see how our digital publishing heritage can transform your customer engagement.