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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Web Tools Wednesday: The Importance of Original Content

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Here at W.L. May, we are seeing the marketplace shift in some dramatic ways in a very short time. We have chosen to take a stance of educating our customers to help them address those challenges. That is why we so strongly support the technical and business training opportunities being offered by the United Servicers Association, as well as providing information to help your business via this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

It has been fun to watch as many of our clients have developed their own social media strategies, often with great success. We have seen some companies gaining greater prominence in their communities which is reflected in their adding technicians and growing their businesses. It is our desire that our efforts here have been helpful to you in providing inspiration or information to share with your customers, we even hope you have been having fun along the way. We do wish that for you.

As more and more companies begin their own forays into the world of social media. This seems like a good time to talk about original content. This can be a confusing issue when discussing social media because social sharing is at the core of how sites like Facebook work. For the rest of the article I will be using Facebook as my examples but the points are true for whichever social media platform you are using.

Sharing is a good thing to do when you come across an item that you think your page followers would find of interest. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it though. I have seen some companies that will go so far as to cut and past entire articles as their status posts. I have even seen posts like these that claim the were written by the poster, when a quick search shows the post to be a preexisting article. This is a really bad idea. You will be getting the information out there, but you are also exposing yourself to the potential of lawsuit for copyright infringement.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself that there is plenty of that sort of copy and paste thing happening on the internet every where you look and no one is going to notice if I just copy the text as if it were my own. You may be right, so far. The truth is, a search of Google did not lead to any stories of successful lawsuits for plagiarism in Facebook. Lawsuits have been filed against some blogs though. As a business owner, you are always the target of a certain breed of lawyers. Why give them something to work with?

The best method is either to take the article and rewrite it yourself, in your own words, and with your own opinions mixed in. The is not the most original approach but it still leaps and bounds above directly cutting and pasting. As those of you who follow W.L.May on the social networks know, we prefer to offer a link directly to the article. Best is a comment to go with the link explaining why you find it of interest. This allows the writer to recieve credit for their article being read. Since many writers are paid by the number of people who visit their page this is a way of letting them get their due for helping you with your marketing efforts.

When it comes to pictures, it is perfectly acceptable to "share" a picture that someone else has posted. However, if you choose to post a picture yourself again it is wise to make sure that you own the rights to the picture. There are numerous sources of free images you can use or you can take pictures yourself to use. Don't just copy a picture from Google images and use that. Those pictures are often copyright protected and again leave you vulnerable to lawsuit. Some photographers have been successful in suing for images being used on blogs and settlements have been fairly large. Why take the chance?

There are considerations to be made about the style of your posts: personal or business like, how often to talk about yourself or your company, whether you should talk about religion and politics. All of these things can have a huge impact on your success using social media. But that will have to wait for a future post. Have a great day and happy servicing.

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