Shares and retweets aren’t just an important element of an online marketing strategy, they’re part of what makes social media social.

But they should be kept in their place.

A content strategy which consists of nothing more than sharing other people’s content is little more than noise – and, in many cases, is just the recycling of garbage.

Yes, it saves you the time and effort of actually creating content, but it contributes little (or nothing) to your brand. Worse, it ultimately drives traffic and search optimisation benefits to the content creator – not to you.

It’s easy to mistake the social media element of online marketing for a popularity contest, where followers, connections and friends represent some kind of value by virtue of sheer numbers alone. This is little more than vanity. The quality and relevance of those connections, and how you engage with them, is what counts.

At the heart of this is the creation of your own content. Whether useful, educational or simply fun, these should be good enough for others to share, help build your brand and contribute to your marketing strategy. If you don’t create the content, you're simply gifting these benefits to others.

Sure, don’t be shy of sharing other people’s content (even that of your competitors) if it’s something your followers will be interested in or enjoy. Sharing is good. After all, you want your content to be shared.

But don’t build a content strategy around content-sharing, build it around content-creation.