There are two main types of shared social media content which you can be posting to help promote your business – not including memes and videos of cats, both which you probably want to only do sporadically or not at all on your business’ social media sites.
One is good for you business. One is not so much.
Do you know how to tell the difference?
Let’s talk about the first type, because it is by far the most common.
This is when you share articles, videos and photos from around the web, curated from other trusted resources, which can provide supplemental information for your followers.
There are a few benefits of this, such as being seen as an expert resource, and getting some additional traction from the popularity of the article or item you shared. These can be a great complement to your own posts, without you having to take the time to research or write an entire article.
- I have sometimes shared content from someone like Neil Patel on my Facebook business page or in a tweet. Sometimes his articles are more involved than what my clients want to read (or understand), but this can be a great complement to the other information I am already sharing.
- A hairdresser may link to an article providing comparisons of some of the best blow dryers on the market.
- A fitness coach could post an article about the benefits of one particular type of exercise from Muscle and Fitness magazine.
- A restaurant could post something they find online with some tips for a great date night that begins with dinner.
There’s even social media groups who post curated content that you can easily share on your own social media pages. We have such a group for some industries we work with, such as real estate, fitness coaches, etc. This can be handy, you can share to your page with one click, and when your follower clicks on the article they are taken directly to the website where the article was originally posted.
As you can see, this is complementary information that can be beneficial to the followers of the business. This is a great type of shared social media content to post, and until your business becomes large enough that you have the ability to create a LOT of your own unique content like this, it’s a great addition to your page.
It can help you keep your name consistently in front of your audience without as much work on your part.
The there’s the other kind…
What I’m starting to see more of, is the types of shared social media content that doesn’t help your business in the right way.
And this is one of the reasons why it is SO important to have goals for your social media.
The biggest culprit I’m witnessing is a vendor, who provides some type of digital services to your business, who is posting your information to their own page, instead of directly on yours. And then they share it with you, which on the surface appears to make your life easier.
A very common example is with all too many of the companies I see who do photography and/or video for real estate agents and other businesses.
I can tell you what they’re doing. And in some cases I can guess why they’re doing it the way they are. The impact is something which, on first glance, appears to be meant to help your business, but is actually detracting from it.
Here’s what happens. The vendor takes photographs for your business, sends them to you, and they’re great photos. We aren’t taking anything away from this primary service they provide. Most do a superb job. They may even provide a value-added service by turning those still photographs into a video.
Then, either because they really are trying to make your life a bit easier (I hope this is the case with them all) but are misguided on their efforts, or they figured out that they can get more awareness for themselves by appearing to make your life easier (which I’m afraid may be the case with some), they post one or all of those photos/videos on their own social media page(s) and tag you.
Great! You have it handy, all you have to do is click share!
But put the brakes on for a second. You need to consider further. What were your goals for your social media? Was it to drive your followers to other business’s pages?
Was your goal to take your followers OFF of social media pages or websites owned by you? Possibly pages where they can see a whole slew of posts similar to the one you shared, and perhaps become the client of one of those other people?
When someone clicks on the post you just shared … they’re being taken OFF your social media page and to the page of the vendor. The vendor’s contact information is now most prominent – not yours. The links to websites and other social media pages are the vendor’s – not yours. They click away to see the next post, which may be your competitor, and is also not yours.
This happens if they click the image, the post link, one of the links at the top and bottom of the post, the author of the original post.
This is vastly different than making a post to do something like thank a new client and tagging them in the post – that HELPS get them traction.
Sure, maybe the photo or video has your business name and contact information included. A LOT of the time, they also have the vendor’s name and contact information included. Sometimes the vendor’s information is in a position that is shown to have better recall than your own (such as top corner, or end of video).
Some people are comfortable with this and just consider it the cost of doing business. Keep in mind, if you have paid for their service, there should be no reason that they need to co-brand the product that you paid for with their own information.
Co-branding is a benefit to both vendor and customer, and should be treated as such. If you have paid, and they have not, there is nothing “co” about it.
If you are receiving services from them completely free, at no cost for even a portion of what went into the initial service (such as photograph) that ends up as a post, then you may be willing to share the spotlight and drive more traffic to them rather than to yourself. Similarly if they give you a big discount. That would be a version of co-branding. There are completely valid reasons why you may want to allow a third-party vendor to generate this type of traffic off of your business. But the choice should be yours; it should not be automatically done by the vendor you have paid.
Some people just think “it’s not a big deal”
And having vendors hijack your traffic may not be a big deal, until you realize that maybe you’re not getting a ton of traffic right now to be able to give much away.
Having vendors hijack your traffic may not be a big deal, until you realize that several big deals can come from social media. I have signed multiple clients strictly from social media. I don’t prefer sending those people to a vendor who may have a competitor’s post right under mine!
It can be a big deal. And there are easy ways for vendors to avoid this.
I post on behalf of businesses all of the time on Facebook, Youtube, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and more. And you will not see my name, logo, or contact information anywhere on these posts – even when every piece of the post is content developed 100% by me. Because I believe when a client pays me to provide such a service, the spotlight should be on them. I received my compensation in the form of a payment; I do not also need to get compensation in the form of hijacking their traffic.
And perhaps your vendor just isn’t aware that what they’re doing is kind of not okay. This is where having someone who understands all of the ins and outs of marketing and social media, or making sure you’re using a true professional, comes in handy.
Knowing your goals for your social media can help you be aware when situations like this are happening, and have a discussion with your vendor about alternatives.
Have you encountered vendors who do this? After considering the implications, what are your thoughts on this practice now?