What Is Curated Content on Social Media?12 min read
You know you need social media for brand awareness. Heck, you may even be aiming for thought leadership level. But you just can’t keep up with the amount of content you need to create.
So, what is curated content for social media? And how can it help you become an expert resource for your target audience?
This short guide explains how to make filling your social media channels easy. Plus, how to look more balanced and less self-promotional in the process.
What is content curation?
We’ve all heard of content creation. If you want your articles to rank on search engines, you need to write them. Then distribute them on social media. But what is content curation?
Instead of spending time and money on your own content, curating involves sharing other people’s work.
Now, I’m not talking about copying anything here and passing it off as your own. The trick is to search for content your audience will enjoy. Then add unique insight (your own thoughts). As long as it doesn’t focus on your brand or business and isn’t there to promote you in any way – you should be good to go.
This could be a variety of things like:
- Lists of expert tips
- Industry blogs/sites
- Inspirational quotes
It’s an easy process but many businesses seem to avoid it for some reason. I kinda get it. It can seem counter-productive to share other people’s content. But it can be a powerful addition to your digital marketing strategy.
Basically, you need to find relevant content that doesn’t drive sales. It’s purely educational or entertaining. Add some of your own value to the share text. Then repost it.
Why should you use curated content on social media?
Social media management is hard. If you have an in-house team, great. If it’s just you, it can be a slog. Thinking of new ideas for social media posts takes up time you might not have.
That’s where social media content curation comes in. It has many benefits, but some of the most popular are that it:
- Keeps your content calendar full
- Makes you look less self-promotional
- Helps you connect with influencers and track industry trends
1. A full content calendar with less time and effort
A balanced social media strategy could be broken down into three parts:
- Promoting your brand with original content
- Engaging with your audience
- Sharing curated content
This is just an idea to get you started. You might find another formula that works better for you. And it’ll depend on the platform too. LinkedIn will have a much different strategy to Instagram or TikTok.
Creating your own content is time-consuming. You also don’t know if that time and effort will produce results. Sharing other people’s content takes way less effort because it already exists. You just have to put the time into finding it.
2. Makes you look less self-promotional
Social media marketing shouldn’t be shouting about how great you are. People don’t want to be sold to (it’s why indirect marketing works so well.) Constantly promoting yourself or your business can get old. Real quick.
That’s why using a range of sources for your content marketing strategy can go down really well with consumers. It can also be a great way of utilizing other people’s skills. Infographics are one of the best ways to get text-heavy information across in an easy-to-digest manner. But you might not be great at designing them.
That’s where curating other content creators’ work can come in. You can fill your social media accounts with visual content that you haven’t had to spend time making.
It just has to be value-focused. Don’t try and lure people in with clickbait or a disguised sell. Educate, entertain, or inspire your audience. And remember the golden rule of curation: always credit the original creator.
3. Helps you connect with influencers and track industry trends
Whatever social media platform you’re on, there will always be industry influencers. But we’re not talking about regular influencer marketing here—paying someone to promote your brand.
Do your research and write a list of your favorite industry bloggers and really read some of their pieces. Remember not to focus solely on someone’s follower count. Engagement is the important metric.
Repost or Tweet with your own twist and start building relationships. Tell them why you enjoyed it so much. Be genuine.
The key is to build relationships with big names in your industry. Find out what they’re writing and talking about. Then use that knowledge to create and curate your own content.
Where do you curate social media content?
So, where else can you find this kinda thing? If you have time, I’d recommend some manual searching. This will unearth content that hasn’t been shared to death already. Some places to start are:
- RSS feeds
- ‘Underground’ content
- User-generated content
1. RSS feeds
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are always a solid choice. Finding them can be as easy as signing up to your favorite site or blogger’s email newsletters. It’s a sure-fire way of never missing the types of content where you know you’ll find value. If not? Simply unsubscribe.
Twitter can be another brilliant source for curation. But because of its popularity and algorithm, you can miss a lot unintentionally. Especially if you’re looking for a specific topic.
Luckily, you can turn someone’s Twitter profile into an RSS feed. That way, the content is more easily-accessible from one place. And you can customize it to only show Tweets liked by other specific users.
This will make sure you curate pieces of content from trusted sources with high engagement.
2. Underground content
It can pay off in a big way to put in research effort. You don’t want to jump on the bandwagon of great content, you want to build the thing. Siege Media’s Ross Hudgens credits his business to curating ‘underground content’.
By taking some time each evening to research alternative content within his industry (that no-one else was really focusing on) he managed to see steady and healthy growth in his number of followers.
Another method he praises is to share content of lower relevance to your industry. Rather than posting a popular piece, stand out with something the majority won’t have seen. Then aim to impress the creator of it with your insight.
By doing this, you’ll build relationships and be the person or page that people come to when they want fresh, quality content. Think of a thought leader like an A&R rep for the content marketing world.
3. User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) can be a goldmine for your content curation strategy. But I don’t mean the content your customers make about your brand.
Consumer decisions are now based more on reviews and word of mouth marketing than ads. Because they feel more authentic and genuine.
You should know your audience on social media. So, why not search through their feeds and curate something they’ve posted? We all know the buzz of excitement when we see we’ve been mentioned or shared by our favorite brand. For your followers, it’s no different.
You don’t have to do this manually, either. Try a social listening tool like Mention to help you find relevant social media posts. Just make sure it’s not promoting you in any way. That’s a strategy for another time.
Curated content dos and don’ts
Sometimes, simple is better. So, stick to these dos and don’ts and you should be okay.
|Curating dos||Curating don’ts|
|Always make sure to add a personal touch to anything you repost||Don’t miss an opportunity to have your say and add unique insight|
|3rd party reviews are great but don’t overdo them||Don’t be promotional when curating|
|Focus on high-quality, selective content (it may sound patronizing but read all the way through and really take it in)||Don’t sacrifice quality over quantity|
|Always credit the source||Don’t accidentally repost another curator, make sure it’s the author|
|Ask for your team or network’s input on interesting things they’ve read recently||Don’t always post from the same two or three sources, mix it up|
|Use SEO to tweak keywords to optimize the content for your site or blog||Don’t simply copy and paste to a blog or site or you risk being blacklisted by Google|
Social media content curation tools
Though it’s a lot cheaper and faster to curate than create, sometimes you need extra help. These content curation tools can make finding content a whole lot easier. Because they deliver it to your dashboard:
BuzzSumo is one of those social media tools that does it all. From helping you discover high-quality content to identifying influencers in your industry and tracking trends.
By learning what the current, in-demand searches are, you can curate relevant content to answer those questions. It’s also a great way to learn from your competitors by seeing the kind of thing they’re creating that works (and what doesn’t!)
Pricing wise, it’s not cheap. But it can be a huge help for building your social networks which could be worth it.
Feedly is a really handy aggregator that rounds up stories that’ll interest you. It can help you to find new content from reputable sources and even has an in-built AI research assistant called Leo to lend a hand.
Plus, the more you use it, the more it’ll track and tune your suggestions. You can even bring your team members on board to ensure everyone is on the same page and armed with the same insights. This is especially helpful if you’ve got a big marketing team and want to keep your strategy focused.
We couldn’t blog about curated content and not mention Quuu, now could we?
With over 500 interest categories, you’ll always have relevant content to share with your audience on social media. It works with some of the biggest schedulers, like Buffer, HubSpot, Hootsuite, and SocialBee.
It can be as automated or manual as you like. This means you’ll always be sharing high-quality content consistently. Even when you’re off-duty. But you can make sure to update your share texts with that all-important unique insight when you’re around.
Okay, so this isn’t technically a stand-alone tool and it’s more manual than automated. But hashtags are a great way of discovering trending topics and user-created content. These little guys are best used on Twitter and Instagram, but you’ll find them on pretty much all social media sites.
If you’re having trouble riding solo, try Hashtagify. This tool will help you find the hashtags your audience and competitors are using. So, you can see what they’re talking about faster and join the conversation.
Curated content on social media can be so valuable. It gives your audience a wider range of interesting information from one source (your account.) And also makes it easier for you to always have something to post. Win-win!
A wee word of warning. Just because it’s handy, don’t fully rely on it. There’s still no substitute for high-quality content creation when it comes to growing your presence on social media. Yes, curated content has its place. But use it to supplement your own stuff.
That’s how you build a social media account that people want to keep coming back to.
Was there anything we missed in this guide? If you know of some other great places to find curated content or have any insights, let us know in the comments below.