When the topic of discourse is related to the strategic implementation of social media, it is inevitable–perhaps even inescapable–that the conversation will steer its way around the importance of sharing updates, arguments over the quantity of engagement, differences of opinion on not just the right content to post but the best time to post it and, of course, the vital significance attributed to knowing what your visitors want even better than they do.

All of which is undeniable valuable for your reputation management. All of which is also, unfortunately, not nearly enough.

Too often missing from the discussion–regardless of the specific topic at hand–is the underlying fundamental property known as value. Value enters the discourse of social media strategy in a number of guises.

Making sure you don’t miss out on a single relevant Twitter Chat, Google Hangout or live streaming event would certainly be a quick route to adding value, but at the cost of having time to do practically anything else.

A library of universally accessed content would be less time-consuming in the short run, but is fraught with the possibility of being too little too late.

One way to avoid that potential danger is build a library of curated content rather than created content.

Some if not most of that content created by others that you collect as a way to add value by exhibiting widespread grasp of the knowledge it represents will likely be showing up in your follower’s feeds as part of the content curated by your competitors. What you gain in the value of posting the right content, you likely lose in the value of engagement.

If you are looking for hard data on social media engagement constructed upon a solid foundation of scientific studies…look elsewhere. The following is instead based upon solid, old-fashioned anecdotal evidence collected and by those who have been there before you and are kind enough to share their own personal experiences.

Share Opinions on Shared Content

Make no mistake: value can be added merely by sharing content, whether that content is a densely packed article, a silly video or a meme. The question is whether you can be satisfied with being merely another in the ever-expanding network of those broadcasting the most popular content created by others or do you want to mine more value from that broadcast.

All social media outlets utilize their own algorithm to decide which shared content shows up in the feeds of their users. Suffice to say that the algorithms differ more substantially than the content.

Adding value as a broadcaster of curated content is therefore more effective engaged by seeking out interesting information to share from less popular websites. The real value here is the content, after all, and not the source from which you share it.

Look at it from the perspective of mining for gold. Where are you going to find the biggest and most valuable nuggets? In a ground before the gold rush or after?

Besides being the first to find gold in a lesser known website, value is also to be added by sharing an opinion. Even if you are sharing content already shared by millions, it won’t hurt to toss in a few sentences establishing your own opinion.

If you are one of the first to share content that is about to go viral, your opinion could be instrumental in its achieving that popularity. If people have already committed to following your social media presence, it stands to reason that they already value what you think.

Taking the time to express an opinion–whether in a few quick words or with a link to an entire article piece you have written on the topic–is an effective way to add real value to your role as broadcaster.

Share Visual Content and Add Your Spin

Sharing visual content is an incredibly effective means of capturing the attention of social media followers. You must always remember that you are engaged in a war of constant against the inevitable effects of attrition.

With so much textual information bombarding them every day, even the most committed follower of social media is bound to become immune eventually. Hence, the absolutely indispensable need to shake things up every once in a while with an image that can’t be ignored.

That graphical stimulant is just the first step, however. If you don’t bring something to the table, visual content will just be a slap upside their head that sends them on to the next.

Value is achieved by providing them with a reason to stay a little longer. This reason could come in the form of a cheeky little bit of snark that makes them laugh. Or a provocative question that gets them to think. Or even just a generic comment asking for their opinion. The aim is to stir up the pot of discourse.

If necessary, leave a comment that even you actually disagree with just to give that pot a really firm shake.

Always remember that engagement begins with you reaching out to others…not your waiting for others to reach out to you.

Share Your Life…Share Your Brand

Debate continues over whether you should share personal things like pictures and videos and information as part of your business’ social media engagement. Many will disagree, but the line between business interests and personal interests have long since blurred to the point where it’s impossible to find distinction.

The important thing to remember is sharing your personal life as part of your business brand does not necessarily mean sharing pictures of your family and videos and your vacation.

Personal sharing that is capable of adding value to your social media marketing strategy could mean sharing information about your record collection, the movies you watch, the teams you root for, the books you recommend.

In short, anything that makes you more interestingly personally to your followers. Would you want to keep an uninteresting person who has nothing to share but things about work?

It really doesn’t take much time or effort to produce this kind of stuff for social media sharing.

In fact, with the tools, software and apps freely available to use on your computer, tablet and phone, you could probably add this kind of value to your social media strategy in less than half an hour a day.

Personal Influence is Business Branding

Curated content may influence followers, but it is not your influence.

No matter how many times your followers may see your name in their social media feed on any given day, if you haven’t personalized it in some way, you gain no value from having influenced others.

Content you created and shared provides the greatest value when it comes to personal influence, of course, but stamping shared content with your own branded sense of self also carries some influence.

Your opinions, your observations, your unique perspective and even your goofy pun on a piece of content all have the potential to personalize even the most viral of content for your followers.

Most people will offer a penny for your thoughts, so make it a bargain by giving them two cents worth.