obama-fist-bump Getting someone who is not you to "be you" online is strange to me. It's like asking someone else to go on a date for you. Not only do you miss out on the engagement and enjoyment of the date, but it is also fake and downright creepy.

But what you say and what you share are two different things. I can get an associate to speak on my behalf and share my interests and positions, as in the case of a lawyer or a press agent, but I would never ask either one of them to actually pretend they are me and imitate my voice when talking to people. It's kind of funny when you think of it.

That's why I have resisted potential clients who have sought to just pay someone to do their social media for them. Instead, I offer them an understanding of the phenomenon so they can take the reins on their online engagement.

The content you base your conversations on

But some aspects of social media marketing need special skills and reap special benefits. For example,

  • creative agencies can come up with brilliant ways to tell your brand's stories that are compelling, entertaining, and sharable.
  • researchers can collect fantastic data that you can turn into consumable, memorable, and sharable infographics that your clients will love.
  • curators who know your brand and what interests your clientele can find great, sharable content that others have made for you to share on your social channels.

That last point, curated sharing, is the one that most businesses jump into, with varying degrees of success. Most people understand, from as far back as high school, that who and what they are associated with impacts how others see them. So finding great stuff to associate themselves with and share online is something most of us naturally start doing when we plug our businesses into social.

Although it can be time-consuming and a major distraction, you do know (or should) what content is most interesting and helpful to your clients. And the content you find (vs. content you create) is the most readily available source for your social channels.

Curate great content for a few great reasons

  1. Define your company's brand by what you associate it with. It looks good when you demonstrate you know what your customers care about.
  2. Expand the 'scope of interest' for your brand by sharing a diverse selection of topics, giving you a wider potential audience for your content.
  3. Add layers of sophistication to your brand by finding content that compliments your own content.

Of course, you need to come alongside the content you are curating with content you are creating and conversations you are sharing based on all of it. That's where the social, human element comes in and without it you're going to have a hard time gaining or keeping your target client's attention.

The point of selecting great content to share, above all, is to be helpful and interesting to the people you want to attract to your brand community. It is a discipline every company should be exercising as a basic, foundational social media investment.