If you’re spending hours every week on content curation, then you’re missing the point. The art of curation originally moved into the spotlight because it saved social media marketers valuable time and effort while allowing them to achieve great results. When optimized, your content curation plan should help you keep your audience engaged with minimal investment. It should also make them see you as a go-to resource in your industry.
It’s time to dial down the effort levels and see spikes on your result-o-meters. But we’re going to do that in an organized manner. Your initial time investment in creating organized resources will pay off by making the rest of it smooth running. Are you game?
Squirrel away for the winter
A lot of animals store food away for the winter, because trees don’t produce edible products year round. That’s smart because they not only beat the dry spell, but they also stow away things in places where they know they’ll find them when they really need them.
Social media management is a full time job and you’re often hard pressed for time. But you can’t use that as an excuse for poor quality shares or inconsistent shares on social. What you could do is take inspiration from animals and stow away some content for a rainy day.
So how do you stock up on the right stuff?
1. Create a content calendar
Let’s do this in quick definite steps.
Step 1: Understand your audience. Brands rarely entertain one specific kind of audience. So list characteristics of your ideal customer – their interests, requirements, concerns. Your brand would have, at some point, surveyed their potential market. If you have access to these surveys, they’re good for audience insights.
Results of A/B tests and general social media engagement are also good indicators of what your audience likes and doesn’t like – at a more specific level. You can figure out what formats, headlines or angles your audience responds to better.
Step 2: Make a laundry list of ideas for content formats/types – a Content Bucket if you will. Divide the list into content columns for different social platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. Make the list exhaustive, and remember to keep your audience insights in mind while you do this activity. Fill your Content Bucket with winners, posts that your audience will love.
Suppose you’re a business leadership training organization, here’s what you could have in your content bucket:
Step 3: Enter ideas from your Content Bucket onto your content calendar. Try Google’s Calendar. Works well and lets you set alerts as per your requirement. Ensure to make note of important events – global, local and company events, so you can factor them into the share you make on that date.
Here’s a cool calendar format you could use.
And voila! You have a strong and plan.
2. Use an effective curation app
Unless you’re Neil Patel, it’s hard creating top-notch content to keep up with multiple social platforms on a regular basis. The good news is that you can still deliver quality, by carefully curating content useful to your audience. While you can’t spend all your time hunting for content, you can’t afford to be extra casual about it either, because what you share reflects on you on social.
There are apps that you can use to narrow down potential shares. DrumUp is one such app that’s pretty easy to use and gives great content recommendations that don’t disappoint and Feedly is a popular means of finding industry news from around the internet. Another cool feature that DrumUp has is its content library where you can save posts you like for later, so you never lose them or forget about them. Effective squirreling!
3. Build a cool content library
This is like an extension of your content library. If you have content ideas marked on a calendar, why not have the posts themselves saved say at the beginning of every week? One thing you’ll have to be wary about here is the newsy posts, it’s probably not a great idea to save news posts to your content library unless you know it won’t be dated by the time you get to sharing it!
But go crazy with the rest of it! In my experience, I’ve found several great posts that I’ve wanted to share but forgotten about and then missed for the lack of somewhere to store them all.
Here’s one way of doing it, using DrumUp’s content library:
With a library designed specifically for content, you can draft them away and breathe easy, and have a bank of great shares to rely on when you hit a dry run, or your content manager takes a holiday!
Pick the berries loaded with essential nutrients
What kind of content should you put on the calendar and in the content library?
Some nutrients like “essential amino acids” must be consumed by us humans because they cannot be produced by our bodies. What does your audience need that they don’t have access to? Give them that and you’ll have them eating out of your hands. And of course, you’ll be truly helping them, which is really, really great.
One show fits all – won’t work. What I mean by that is that curated content can be used in almost any industry or niche, but certain types work better for some industries than others. Find those kinds of content for your industry. For instance, take a look at recipes shared by Oreo.
Oreo even creates and curates recipes that has Oreo as an ingredient, and that’s a great way to engage your audience while also making a strong sell.
So how does one figure what to store?
Step 1: Study your audience
And we’re back to Know Thy Audience. Refer to the audience characteristics list that you should have by this point (from point one).
Note: As far as their interests go, it’s good to check in with that every once in a while. For example, if there’s a trend on social media triggered by some event, and your audience is talking about that, you could make yourself useful by curating content related to the trend. To see what your audience is talking about, you could use Twitter trends or Google Trends, and adjust their filters to get a rough idea.
Twitter has tailored trends based on who you follow.
Or you could also use set keyword alerts with Mention.
View the activity on the alerts that arise from the keywords you set, and if it is high you’ll know what your target audience is talking about.
Step 2: List content topics
The ones they are likely to be interested in.
Step 3: Find relevant influencers
You can use platforms like Traackr to discover influencers to follow. Or simply search keywords on Twitter, this works well. See whose accounts or conversations show up high on your results, and view their pages, you should get a sense of whom to follow.
Step 4: Add interesting shares
Source the shares from both social and your content recommendations to your content library for easy and quick shares in the future.
“All things are difficult before they are easy,” Thomas Fuller once said. Remember that if you spent 10 hrs, one time, planning your approach and building resources, you can run content curation each day in 15-20 minutes!
Fine tune your gut feeling
Most animals have heightened senses, they are very aware their surroundings and how best to adapt to them. Social media is like a jungle, there’s chaos and noise, and a battle for survival. You’ve got to adapt to changes and work with them to consistently stay on top.
How do you do that? Even if you’ve curated content in advance, how and when you use it can make a world of difference.
Step 1: Put your feelers out
Have you ever felt a conversation flow with a friend? That’s because we take queues – both physical and mental that help us intuitively involve ourselves. On social it is hard to keep in tune with the people on the other end, but it is just as important to.
Social listening tools help, and so do social analytics tools. Google analytics for instance has features that tell you which of your blog landing pages are doing best on social, or where your referral traffic is coming from. That gives you some insight into which topics your audience is enjoying the most and the places you need to be mentioned on.
If you want to track which audience likes your content best, try using Bit.ly links, they give you interesting analytics.
But most importantly, read comments, read tweets and respond to them like you would in a conversation with a friend. Listen to what people have to say. If you’ve made a content calendar and are efficiently following content curation, you should have enough time to actually interact with your community – and this is where the real relationship building begins.
Step 2: Schedule shares at strategic times
A lot of articles tell you when to share on social. For the most part, they are based on statistics that highlight the times at which social media platforms are most active – in a general sense.
This need not necessarily be the times at which your target audience is most active. If you want to strike conversations with them, you have to find those times.
One cool way of doing this is schedule testing. Pick one article and schedule it to go out at a different time every day. Then track those posts and observe the times at which you get most engagement. Do this for each social media platform you manage and you should have your answer.
Step 3: How to manage social media best real time
This one comes with skill, there’s no work around for that. The more you participate on social, the better you learn to navigate it.
So participate more on social! Make time everyday to join conversations and you’ll slowly develop the skills you need to navigate tough social terrain.
Mia Wasikowska says something interesting as Alice in Alice in Wonderland, think 10 impossible things before breakfast. Social is all in the mind – you need to have smart answers to make the best of real-time situations ripe with potential.
Exercise your mind. Find 10 situations on social – good, bad and ugly and come up with balanced responses for them. This helps, because when it’s your turn to handle situations like those, you’ll have n idea of how to do it.
Developing that killer instinct is something that comes with practice, but if you don’t have enough opportunity, you could always take inspiration from the rock stars. See how they manage social real-time.
Spruce up your shares
Make your stuff look great before posting them online.
Volumes on social media make viewers rely heavily on visuals for gauging what’s best for them to read. So find/create stunning visuals.
There are lots of tools online with pre-designed templates that make image creation easy and less time-consuming. Canva has a drag and drop interface that could have you making images in minutes.
For instance, the image you see at the beginning of this article was created by me, and it took me 10 minutes.
If you’re sharing images ensure that they are under a Creative Commons license and always attribute it to whoever has put effort into creating it.
You could also embed gifs, videos, to convey ideas in a more interactive manner, I’ve personally seen a large increase in engagement with posts that have visuals in it.
Also, how you title your shares matter. That is the only pitch you have, apart from your featured image, to get someone’s attention, so make it count.
One of the oldest ways of generating titles is by reference to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and it still proves effective.
From the base to the tip, the pyramid reads – physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization.
While it is okay to use this knowledge to get noticed among competition, it isn’t cool to promise something that your article doesn’t deliver. So give an accurate but smartly worded headline to your article.
Finally, use relevant hashtags and keywords to help your audience find you, but never go overboard with it. Decorating a bleh article won’t help, your audience will begin to distrust you if you oversell what you’re sharing. Be genuine, try to really help, just do it the smartest way you can.
Find your wolfpack
Social media marketing is a team sport. For three reasons– credibility, visibility and reach. That’s why you need a small community online who support/share your shares, to really optimize your marketing efforts.
How do you find these people? How do you make them want to share your shares?
1. How to build relationships online
Online relationships work just like the ones offline, the only difference is the environment and you need to be accustomed to necessary features on the social platform you’re using so you can comfortably connect with people. Be yourself, be real and make like you do when you’re making friends.
It’s very important to keep in touch with your contacts on social and owing to the convenience that social media has provided us with, you can do that with likes, comments and retweets. Involve them when you can and initiate conversations once a while and you’ll make real friends on social. Influential connections can really make a difference to your marketing on social.
2. Strategic partnerships– Who should you connect with and how?
It’s crucial to make connects with people in your industry, and influencers who represent your niche’. We’ve already discussed how you can find people on social.
Here’s another important point – don’t push and sell yourself, it won’t work on a platform where people have access to so much value. The crow is in control. They won’t sit and listen to you if you’re selling like they used to in the past with TV ads.
It’s best to find opportunities or situations in which both parties can benefit. You and your potential partners. You and your audience. You can’t ask for shares, you have to earn it. Out of goodwill and great content. And back we go to 1: How to find and store great content (Squirreling away for the winter).
That’s a complete loop folks! The social media content curation cycle, with 5 steps to help you navigate the social jungle. Remember that social’s power to connect is enormous. People now have the power to pick up something from one channel and dispense it into another, instantly connecting you with so many new people and places! Play it smart, make yourself useful, and see how far you can progress.
About the Author: Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content creation firm. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the hunt for social media trends and inspiration.