Sharing Habits: A Simple Way to Keep Your Network Engaged

What’s a Sharing Habit?

One of the true benefits of reading and watching content online is that it’s easy to share articles, videos, and your ideas about them with your online networks. For busy professionals, this makes it possible to have conversations about what’s happening in your industry and the world at large—and share your unique perspective on it all—without having to find time to write lengthy original content from scratch. It also can make you a valuable partner for colleagues and clients who have information diets and networks that are different from yours.

The difference between a sharing habit and regular everyday social media activity is that a sharing habit is intentional and strategic. Of all the things you read and watch in a day, which of them will you share, and with whom? Why are you sharing those particular pieces of content? What do your sharing choices say about you to the people in your network?

In our article on information diets, we explain how to choose topics and sources of content that you’ll prioritize in order to get the most out of the time you spend online.

Sharing For Influence

You don’t have to write a book or do a TED Talk to be regarded as someone with valuable expertise or perspective. In fact, you can show your network that you’ve got great ideas without producing much original content at all. Sharing well-chosen articles and videos throughout your week shows people in your network what you’re interested in, what you’re thinking about, and how active you are in staying informed and engaged with the world beyond your office. Add your own thoughts as comments or status updates to a few shares per week to give a sense of why you’re sharing these particular things, or to give some context for how you see connections between diverse topics. All of this establishes you as someone who is paying attention to current events, is interested in discussing them, and has something valuable to offer as a conversation partner. Your colleagues, partners, and clients will have you in mind when they need a fresh perspective—or a broad, well-informed, one—on a topic that you’ve posted about. Plus, when you share high-quality content people are more likely to re-share it, which can make new connections for you in their networks as well.

Content Sharing & Sales Enablement

Sales conversations in modern businesses often demand that the "salesperson" be more of a strategic partner than a vendor. So how does an information diet and sharing habit fit in?

It’s understandable that businesses are usually focused on their specific industry, especially when it comes to thought leadership. But a lack of context about the broader environment in which the product or service exists can be a barrier to sale.

For example, if you try to sell a customer a new security technology that is based on knowledge of a particular cyberthreat, and the customer wasn’t aware of that kind of threat, they will have to learn about it before they can say yes. But if you have been scanning the environment around your customer’s business and have consistently kept them up to date on what you find, when it comes time for a sale, you will already have an informed client. And the relationship will be enhanced by them relating to you as a partner—someone who is informed and interested in their business beyond your specific product or contract.

Tools for Curating Information

Many modern social media tools allow you to both consume and curate, share and/or comment on information. For example, one of our favorites at Causeit is Flipboard. Flipboard is an online tool designed to mimic the glossy, visually-rich format of a magazine. Flipboard also  allows you to share articles you’ve read by ‘flipping’ content into your own digital magazines. Causeit curates over 20 magazines, ranging on topics from the Social Network of Things to the automotive industry to the future of robotics. Each magazine has evolved over time, and we share responsibility for curating magazines amongst our team.

Within a magazine in Flipboard, you can comment on content you flip, or just place it without commentary. Some articles speak for themselves, and others need context to be relevant. Every time you flip content, you can also push a status update (with or without commentary) to your various social media networks.

Whatever tool you use to curate content, look for the following features:

  • Easily connected to other platforms which your professional networks are using (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)

  • Integrated with web browsers for easy saving and sharing

  • Ability to add contextual comments (to note why you think this is a valuable thing to share with your network)

  • BONUS: will pull articles and videos from multiple channels into one dashboard for you

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Cover image by mkhmarketing / CC BY