Content curation should be part of every social media marketing strategy. In this guide, we’re going to break down what it is, why you should be doing it, and the tools and tips that will help you.
No doubt you’ve heard of this thing called content marketing. But just so we’re on the same page, content marketing is:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on curating, creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content Marketing Institute.
Basically, it’s all about using information to help people understand and solve their problems – usually with your product or service. And it works.
But note the words creating and distributing. Content marketing isn’t just writing blogs and hitting publish – although that’s a core part of it. It’s also about sharing that content.
It’s not easy though. Getting your content noticed can be tough. And sometimes you don’t have the time, knowledge, or budget to create content about everything. That’s where content curation – sharing relevant content that isn’t necessarily your own – comes into play.
Content marketing can broadly be split in two: content creation and content curation (sharing content).
What’s the difference between content curation and creation?
There’s some amazing content out there, created by people at the peak of their industry providing in-depth insight into issues your audience cares about. Sharing that content with your audience makes sense. This is content curation.
But maybe you’re also an expert at what you do, and you can provide valuable insights that can help your audience solve their problems and build trust with your own brand. That’s where content creation comes in.
Curation and creation are important ways of building trust, so knowing their value and striking a good balance between them is essential.
Social media is a powerful thing, especially when it’s used to share things with the world at large. And there are a few specific upsides of consistently sharing high-quality content with your audience.
1. Content curation builds trust and authority
We can all agree it’s bad to only talk about yourself on social media. Marketers have developed a few different frameworks to help businesses vary their content.
The Rule of Thirds dictates that you should balance out your social media content like this…
- ⅓ of your social media posts should promote your business via your own original content, driving conversions and profits
- Another ⅓ of your social media content should curate ideas, stories and resources from thought leaders in your industry
- The last ⅓ should be personal interactions, conversations and relationship building
Another is the 80/20 rule, which says only 20% of your content should be about your brand, and the remaining 80% should be content that genuinely provides value to your audience and drives conversations.
It’s up to you which framework you use, but the bottom line is that by varying the content you share and making sure it’s helpful, your audience sees it’s not all about you. Content curation shows that you’re a reliable source of information, boosting your own credibility.
2. Content curation provides context and a filter
There’s a lot of information out there. Trying to find relevant, high-quality content can be a bit daunting for people. Not to mention time-consuming.
If you’re sharing content on social media, you’re offering a valuable, helpful service. By providing a filter, as well as sharing some context, you’re making it easier for your audience to discover and understand information that’s important to them. If you’re sharing content that is consistently good (which it should be!), you’ll become a go-to source of information. And when you do share your own content, it’ll be seen as coming from a trusted source.
3. Curating content helps SEO (Search engine optimization)
Gone are the days of stuffing content with keywords to rank on Google – good content is now important. If you’re building authority on social media channels, sharing the best content and engaging your audience, your social profiles will begin to turn up in search results (more about that here).
And with AdBlockers on the rise and trust in adverts falling in general, content curation continues to play a big role in being found and trusted.
4. Content curation drives value and helps people learn
Content marketing is all about giving people the information they need to solve their problems. Simply creating content means you might not be able to provide your audience with the best answers.
Content curation opens up the expertise of everyone in your industry, meaning you can share content from others that provide information you can’t. This compliments your own creative efforts and builds trust and authority – one of the key benefits of content curation.
How to implement content curation in your social media marketing strategy
As a content curator, you should be wary of sharing content just for the sake of it – or going for a quantity over quality approach. According to Moz, you shouldn’t hoard content, you should be sharing only the best. So where do you find ‘the best’?
Where to find content sources – 5 content curation tools and platforms
Remember what we said about content curation providing context and filter? This is particularly relevant for sharing industry news. Especially with the recent controversy around ‘fake news’, you’ll gain your audience’s trust if you establish yourself as a reliable and timely source for the latest developments in your industry.
One of the best ways to stay on the pulse of industry news is to set up Google Alerts. Google Alerts monitors new and relevant content on the web. Simply set an alert for a keyword or topic that’s important to your audience (for example, ‘social media’), and you’ll be notified about new results via email.
Alongside news coverage, there are lots of other types of content you can curate – Infographics, features, interviews, tutorials, guides, case studies, trend reports, and any other content that will entertain, inform or inspire your audience.
At Quuu, we love Flipboard for discovering and saving content. Flipboard is a ‘social magazine’ that personalizes your content based on your interests. So let’s say you chose ‘content marketing’ as one of your interests, you can view a magazine that aggregates relevant content from the web. You can also create your own magazines and ‘flip’ content into them (Flipboard also has a handy Google Chrome extension). You can add other editors to your magazines (for example, you could add your teammates), as well as following other magazines. So even though you might be using Flipboard to find content to share on your social media profiles, it’s a powerful community in its own right.
- Twitter lists
These days, more and more individuals are publishing content, so you’ll also want to curate content from influencers and experts in your niche alongside articles from major publications. In fact, content curation can be as simple as retweeting an on-point tweet from an industry pro.
However, such a high volume of content is shared on Twitter that it can feel overwhelming. Twitter lists offer a solution to this. Creating themed lists means you can view a feed of the latest tweets from a selected group of profiles (for example, you might have a ‘Women in tech’ list). This way, you’re less likely to miss out on new content from your favourite content creators.
- Slack groups
Like Twitter lists, Slack groups are another great way to stay connected with thought leaders in your industry. Most Slack communities have channels dedicated to sharing content and because members are all ‘in the know’, you can discover the very best content before anyone else.
- RSS feeds
Following your favourite RSS feeds means you’ll always have trusted content to share from a variety of sources to your social channels. All be in manually… This is where Quuu comes in.
All of the content curation platforms we’ve mentioned so far are great tools to have in your social media marketing arsenal.
However, they require some time and effort on your part – even if they deliver the content, you still have to check it’s something you’d be happy to share with your audience, then go and manually publish it to social media.
Quuu can streamline the entire process for you, sending you daily content suggestions from specific topics you pick, which have been hand-curated by our in-house team to make sure it’s valuable content. Quuu is hooked up to your social media scheduler of choice (Buffer, HubSpot, Hootsuite, or SocialBee, with more integrations on the way in 2020), so you can choose to have your suggestions automatically sent to your scheduler or manually review them in your Quuu dashboard.
What’s more, content suggestions come with pre-written captions for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, which you can share as they are or edit to better suit your brand voice.
How to share content – 13 social media scheduling tools
Using the tools above, you’re going to have tonnes of great content to share. If you did this manually, logging into each social platform at the optimal times for reaching your audience – well, you wouldn’t have a lot of time left for anything else!
That’s why a good social media scheduler is an essential tool for anyone who’s serious about building and engaging their following. Scheduling posts in advance automates a big part of social media management, saving you time.
Here are some of the best social media scheduling tools in the game right now:
USP: Alongside scheduling for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, Buffer has team plans, analytics and a ‘Reply’ tool for managing social media comments and customer service.
Pricing: Buffer offers a free subscription and four paid plans: Pro ($15/month), Small Business ($99/month), Medium Business ($199/month), and Large Business ($399/month).
USP: HubSpot is a comprehensive CRM that offers scheduling for social media alongside lots of other features for sales, marketing and service teams.
Pricing: HubSpot Marketing now has a free package and 3 paid packages with the following monthly fee: $68/month, $1,050/month and $4,320/month.
USP: SocialBee lets you organise scheduled posts by category and also has a recycling feature for evergreen content.
(you can use all three of these schedulers with Quuu)
USP: PromoRepublic offers scheduling, social monitoring, customisable templates, and analytics.
USP: SproutSocial is a full suite of social media management tools, covering publishing, engagement, listening and analytics.
USP: CoSchedule helps you organise your marketing in one place. It offers publishing, monitoring and analysing for social media, as well as project management for teams.
USP: Tweetdeck is a social media management dashboard dedicated purely to (and now owned by) Twitter. You can manage your timeline, mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favourites, search results, hashtags, and more, all under one roof, as well as schedule tweets in advance.
USP: Planable is the social media scheduler designed for teams, letting you create and approve social media content in collaboration with colleagues.
USP: Ideal for scheduling a high volume of content across multiple accounts, as the Hootsuite dashboard comes with tagging, searching and usage stats.
USP: SendPilot was built for agencies, letting you manage your clients’ social media posts using a whitelabel dashboard. Using AI, it can even write social media captions for you!
Pricing: Starts at $30/month
USP: AgoraPulse offers powerful features for social media management: flexible scheduling options, social inbox, unlimited one-click reports, real-time collaboration for teams, and a built-in CRM to track followers.
USP: Mention is a social media marketing suite that combines scheduling posts with real-time media monitoring.
USP: Crowdfire lets you discover relevant content and schedule it from one dashboard.
For some expert tips on how top brands use automation in their social media marketing strategy, check out this post.
How to share content – writing social media captions
When sharing curated content on social media, there are a few best practices you should follow to play by the rules, as well as some tips that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Sharing other people’s content on social media is in no way trying to pass off someone else’s content as your own; it’s immediately clear if you’re sharing an article from BBC news, for example, that the content isn’t from your own website.
However, it’s a good idea to credit the source and/or author when possible – tagging a high profile account can also increase your reach and engagement, and help you build relationships with key players in your industry.
When we curate content for our Quuu users, we optimise all the captions for social sharing. There are a few copywriting formulas and tricks that we recommend to boost the reach and engagement of your social media posts:
- Tag the author, publication or any contributors to the content
- Use 1-3 relevant hashtags on appropriate social media platforms (e.g. Twitter)
- Summarise what the content is about (like a short blurb)
- Explain how the content will help your audience
- Pick out an interesting or shocking statistic from the content
- Pick out an inspiring quote from the content
- Ask a question to drive conversations with your followers
Rotating the different formulas will keep your content varied and interesting.
Now we’ve covered everything you need to know about content curation, let’s take a look at where content creation comes into play…
4 benefits of creating content
The advantages of creating your own content are huge.
1. It proves you know what you’re talking about
Anyone can make a website and claim to be an expert. Actually writing about something, making videos that explain key issues, or recording a podcast episode proves you’re an expert.
And much like content curation, varied content helps engage your audience. Just make sure you deliver value and help people solve their problems with your content.
2. It helps answer questions
A foolproof way of delivering value and proving you know what you’re doing is answering questions. Good content should answer questions your audience often struggles with, as well as anticipating questions they might ask in the future. But you should never try and sell to your audience through your content – you’ll only put them off.
By preemptively answering questions, you deliver a whole load of value and build a strong reputation as a trusted source of information.
3. It opens up a discussion with your audience
To answer questions, you need to talk to your audience. Creating content drives engagement and invites people to interact with you, opening up chances for discussion.
This is where you can continue building trust with your audience and find out what their real problems are. The more you know what troubles your audience, the more you know how you can help them through your content and products.
4. It builds your brand and adds a human touch
The internet can be pretty faceless. But when you’re creating content you have the chance to share your brand personality and voice, injecting an element of humanity into your online presence.
This also makes you more approachable to people. Think about it, who would you rather buy a product or service from – the toneless company or the one that you relate to?
Things to bear in mind when creating content
Creating content is half the battle. Once you’ve got it, you need to promote your content and get it out to the world. Some methods of content promotion are better than others, but a guaranteed social media reach will always get you some great results.
Content can’t be all about you. You need to show people what you can do for them. Look at examples of good content and the companies creating it, then try and emulate the basic principles.
Just remember to strike a balance between creating content and sharing it with the world, and sharing content from other people. Your audience will thank you for it.
Got some pro tips on balancing your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments!