These days, social media is where your customers live, and the numbers prove it.
There are 1 billion active Instagram users and 90% of them follow a business account. On Twitter, 79% of users like to discover what’s new, and on Pinterest, 77% of users found a new brand or product every week in 2019.
Your business can use social media to develop your brand, connect with customers, and market your company. But it’s easier said than done.
Consistently posting content on social media can be time-consuming and difficult. You can spend all day writing a blog post that ends up not getting you any likes, reshares, or followers.
Fortunately, there’s a way to post a steady stream of content to your social media accounts, and you can do it without breaking your budget or overcommitting your resources. The answer is content curation.
What is social media content curation?
Social media content curation is gathering content from across the web and posting it on your social media pages.
There's a ton of high-quality content on the web that can add value to your audience, but it takes time and effort to comb through the internet to find those gold nuggets. That’s where you come in.
It’ll be your job to hunt down relevant blog posts, news, infographics, and videos, then share it with your audience. When you do that job well, the rewards for your business are significant.
Why use social media content curation?
Content curation can be a powerful means of growing your audience and increasing brand loyalty.
You’ll have to explore your options and decide what’s best for your business, but there are a few major advantages to curating content on your social media:
It’s easier than creating original content.
Creating original content like blog posts, videos, and podcasts takes up significant time, energy, and resources. You have to develop a strategy, spend time creating, then market the content. And on top of all of that, you have to keep doing it.
Curating content on social media is significantly less complex. You’re sharing content that’s already created and proven to add value to audiences.
Even if you do plan to market your own content, you can still supplement your strategy with content curation. It saves time, energy, and still accomplishes a lot of the same goals as content creation.
It establishes your expertise.
Sharing solid content shows your audience that you’re up-to-date on industry trends. By sharing interesting tips and tricks and news relevant to your business, you prove to customers that you’re familiar with their interests and the latest in your field.
Over time, followers will view you as a go-to source for news and relevant information about your industry.
It’s an easy way to network.
Part of building a business is connecting with other key members of your industry. Whether that’s vendors, influencers, contractors, and even competitors, it’s important to develop relationships with others. Curating content on social media is an easy way to network, since you’re giving other people, brands, and businesses a spotlight.
Companies and entrepreneurs love when you share their content or reshare their posts. They quickly follow your account, appreciate you, and remember your company’s name. It’s also a great way to meet future business partners. For example, if your business is looking to hire a photographer, you can reach out to a professional whose content you’ve shared before.
It keeps you updated on your industry.
It’s no secret that one of the great keys to success is to keep learning. Social media content curation is an education waiting to happen.
Since you have to read, research, and wade through content, you will naturally learn more about your industry. Without even trying, you will be up-to-date on the latest news, trends, tips, and strategies.
It’s good for your personal development to do this anyway, but what’s so cool about curating content is that you get to study while building your business. You boost your overall productivity by learning and marketing at the same time.
Curating content for your social media isn’t difficult, but it does take some strategy and effort. Here are six steps for doing so.
1. Know your audience.
Before you start sharing content, you need to understand your audience. What type of content do they regularly consume? Which social media channels do they use the most?
Without understanding your audience, you may share content they don’t care for. Or even worse, content that turns them off to your brand.
Here are a few ways you can get to know your audience before you begin a content curation campaign:
- Survey your audience. You can create free forms with Google Forms or Typeform. Ask your customers to fill out your forms and incentivize them with a free product or service. You can post the form on social media or distribute it to your mailing list.
- Study your competitors. Find a competitor who’s already doing social media content curation and analyze their strategy. Identify the content that excites users the most and share similar content to your pages.
- Monitor social engagement. Read your comments on your social media profiles and study which posts get the most likes and reshares.
- Check on your best customers. Visit the social media profiles of your best or ideal customers. Take note of the content they like and reshare.
- Visit forums and groups. Check out the places your audience likes to hang out online. For example, if your industry has a subreddit, you can see what kind of content gets shared the most.
For example, if you’re an ecommerce business that sells geek clothing, you could study Loot Crate’s Instagram account. They have 700,000+ followers and seem to have success posting memes and other comedic content not created by the brand.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Loot Crate (@lootcrate) on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:40am PDT
Try a few of these strategies and take your time when researching your audience. Once you’re confident you understand your audience’s needs and interests, you can start looking for shareable content.
2. Find content sources.
Now it’s time to actually find the content you will share on your social media.
Combing through so much content to pick out just a handful of great things to share can be difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, you can set things up to get a steady stream of content coming your way.
Instead of manually searching for content, try some of these strategies:
- Sign up for mailing lists. There are a ton of great newsletters in just about any industry. Find the best ones with a simple Google search such as “Best [your industry] newsletters.” Sign up for all of them and you’ll have fresh content in your inbox every week.
- Follow forums and groups. Find active forums or groups and sign up for notifications or add them to your browser bookmarks. If any content is getting a lot of attention, it’s likely good to share.
- Create specialized lists. Some social media sites, like Twitter, allow you to create lists that follow certain users. This will allow you to keep track of other profiles that share great content. For example, if you have a business audience, you can follow accounts like Entrepreneur or Forbes.
- Download tools. There are a few tools that specialize in aggregating content for you. Two good examples are Scoop.it! and feedly. These tools gather content and deliver it to you based on selected categories or an algorithm.
- Save good content. If you’re ever reading a great article or see an interesting infographic, save it on a note-taking app. You can use a tool like Evernote or even the Notes app built into your phone.
You may want to try all of these strategies or a combination of them. The better your content sources are, the better your social media game will be.
3. Use the rule of thirds.
Before you post all of the awesome content you find, you may want to consider a little guideline called the rule of thirds. This rule is a way to balance your social media posts so that you don’t oversell or undersell yourself.
It teaches that your social media posts should be:
- One-third promotion
- One-third shared content
- One-third engagement
Promotional posts are your opportunity to promote your business. That could be sharing a blog post, announcing a sale, or linking to a recent review.
Shared content posts are when you share other people’s work. This is a great chance to network with key people in your industry by giving them a spotlight.
Engagement posts are intended to be a two-way street. Instead of adding value or promoting yourself, you invite your audience to engage with your brand. That could be surveying your audience or resharing a customer’s question and answering it.
Sometimes you can do multiple things at the same time with one post. For example, Heinz Ketchup retweeted a video from "The Tonight Show":
— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) February 25, 2020
In a single post, the company both curated content and promoted the use of its product.
Having a good ratio of different types of posts will ensure that your audience is getting value and your business is getting promoted.
4. Develop a personable brand.
Humanizing your social media account will make it more attractive and engaging for your audience.
That means responding to comments, mentioning users in your posts, and showing a little bit of character. Even doing something as small as using emojis in your posts can make a big difference.
In turn, this creates a voice and personality for your brand. For example, the PopTarts Twitter account is known for being very humorous, while Nike’s Instagram account is more inspirational.
there is only one right response and it's ABCDEFG https://t.co/w5BZDyxCWI
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) February 21, 2020
View this post on Instagram
They wanted you to smile more. They wanted you to be more polite. They wanted you to scream a little softer. They wanted you to be less aggressive when you won. They wanted you to walk away when you made mistakes. But instead of just becoming the player the game wanted? You became the player it needed.
A post shared by nike (@nike) on Feb 26, 2020 at 7:01am PST
As you regularly post and build a following, you will have the chance to develop a relatable brand. Not just an account that shares great content, but one that has a personality.
5. Use a tool to schedule content.
Manually sharing each post is a menial task that drains valuable time from your creative staff. It’s also easy to forget or skip in the demands of daily business.
There are some instances when it simply isn’t practical to post manually as well. For example, if your primary audience is on the other side of the world, your post may not get as much traction if you share it while they’re asleep.
- Avoid task-switching by scheduling all of your posts in one session
- Never miss a day of posting
- Neatly keep track of metrics
- Share posts when you’re asleep, on vacation, or enjoying the weekend
A solid scheduling tool will make your life a lot better. Just remember to keep responding to comments and interacting with your audience.
6. Analyze and adapt.
Like all marketing strategies, it’s critical to keep analyzing results and adapting to challenges.
Keep an eye on these key metrics:
- Number of followers. Are you gaining followers over the course of weeks and months? If not, you may need to try a new approach or focus on a different platform.
- Volume of likes and shares. Does your audience like the content you post? If you have a lot of followers who never like your posts, you might need to research your audience again. Don’t be afraid to mix up the type of content you share.
- Engagement. When you invite your followers to engage with your posts, do they participate? You may need to comment more, reshare customer posts, or use hashtags.
There are also ways to analyze your curation strategy beyond metrics. Pay attention to comments on your posts or hire a professional to audit your social media.
Smart social media content curation starts with a plan, but be willing to adapt to see better results.
Social media content curation is about adding value to your audience and building your brand. And all the while you save yourself time, energy, and money.
If done correctly, it can build your customer-brand relationship, extend your network, and keep you up-to-date on the latest industry news.
And here’s the best part: it doesn’t take an expert to pull it off. Follow these simple steps and you can build a successful social media presence for your business.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Salvatore Lamborn.