What is third party content?
On social media, any content not created by the brand sharing it is referred to as “third party content.” For example, I manage a number of Twitter accounts for personal finance brands, and we regularly share content from other influencers in the personal finance space in addition to our own blog’s content.
Clients ask me all the time why, if the goal on social media is to heighten brand awareness and increase web traffic, should they direct users to another website? The answer is simple: By curating content from trusted sources, you can establish your brand as a valuable source of timely information.
Sharing third party content is a natural thing on social media. It is, after all, “social.” Just as you would in person, if you are passionate about a topic or idea, you read about it and discuss it with others who share your interest. Sharing content from other sources is part of that discussion.
Sharing someone else’s content is also an easy way to expand your network and strengthen your online community. When you promote the brands that engage with you, chances are, they’ll return the favor.
How do you distinguish what third party content is appropriate?
It’s important to share content that’s valuable to your audience, not just articles you enjoy– especially if you represent a professional brand. Identify several topics that interest your audience and share articles within those genres.
Remember to assess the credibility of the source before you share. A credible source might be a news agency, a reputable columnist or an independent expert.
When you evaluate what to share, be sure the content is timely. Any content you decide to share reflects back on your brand so read through the entire post and click around the website. Avoid sharing content from sources with poorly designed websites, outdated material, incorrect information or profanity.
What’s the best way of letting your audience know that it’s third party content?
Always mention the author, the website, or the company who wrote the content in order to give them proper credit and drive engagement. When you share third party content include the author’s name or handle in the post, using “via” or “from” to indicate their relationship to the material. (I generally use “via,” since it works well for citing the author and/or indicating where I found the content.)
How much third party content should you share?
It’s important to establish a formula for sharing other people’s content . I use a 60/40 ratio — 60 percent of what I share is third party content, and 40 percent is that particular client’s content. That way, the audience is not overwhelmed by content from one source.
Third party content should be part of your overall social media strategy. Integrate it alongside timely posting, data evaluation and social listening. Chances are, not everything you share will be a winner, but be persistent. Your brand will become more attractive the more you help your audience connect with valuable content.
Kristin Batz is the social media manager at Think Glink Media and manages social media accounts for a number of clients.