One question we often hear from our social media consulting clients is, “what is content curation in social media?” and “how can I do it the right way?”
Let’s dive right in with Convince & Convert strategist, Lauren Teague.
What Is Content Curation in Social Media?
Content curation in social media is the premise that you don’t actually have to write or produce all of the content that you publish.
Curating content is finding the content that your audience will find important or useful, and repositioning that in a way that serves both your organization and your audience.
To curate content that your audience will enjoy, start by looking through your email newsletters, searching social media, following relevant hashtags or other keywords, and signing up for Google Alerts for relevant terms.
Save that content for future use — use a swipe file or your social media management system. Get it ready to add to your social media and content calendar in the future.
Why Should You Curate Content for Social Media?
One key benefit of sharing curated content, instead of only content you create, is that that curated content helps you keep up with the demands of social media algorithms and the frequency of content that you need. For example, the half-life of any tweet is less than 20 minutes. If your objective is to stay present in your audience’s Twitter feed or other feed, and your content expires within 20 minutes, then you need enough content to share every hour of the time that you want to be present in your audience’s feed.
It’s nearly impossible to create 12 or 24 pieces of content a day without taking advantage of content curation, such as retweeting content or republishing a link, a photo, a video— or another great piece of content that you found.
What Are the Keys to Successful Content Curation?
The content you curate must be useful and relevant to your audiences. While it’s fun to curate cat memes, your audience may be horse owners, and cat means won’t really speak to them—that type of content is irrelevant. Soon enough, they will tune you out, your content will be less engaging, and the algorithms will adjust how they’re showing content accordingly.
The content that you curate needs to be just as relevant and informative as any content that you would aim to publish. In addition, you don’t want to simply link to someone else’s content. You need to add context around why you are sharing it.
For example, if you’re writing content for an email newsletter, you can include an intro sentence or two that talks about why you included a certain link or why someone should click on it. The same thing goes for social media. If you’re curating and sharing, take the time to explain why it’s relevant and why it caught your interest or attention and. Use 140 characters or the caption space to explain why. That gives you a chance to put your own take or spin on the content — whether you agree or disagree with it.
What Is the Ideal Mix of Curated vs. Original Content?
The ideal mix of how much content you should produce originally vs. curate can vary.
Don’t be afraid to publish and share more curated content, especially when you’re focusing your efforts on creating longer pieces of rich, original content. It will help keep your feed up-to-date if you can curate set-it-and-forget-it content.
It is reasonable for your social publishing schedule to be 80%, 70%, or 60% curated content vs. 20 or 30% of your own, especially if you do the things that we were just talking about, like including a sentence or two of your own thoughts about why you’re sharing, retweeting or reposting a piece of content. It’s a great way to be visible, but not feel the stress of producing so much original content to keep up with the algorithms.
Curating content is a really great idea for social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, and of course, Pinterest is all about curation. As you move forward, you can bring content curation into your own website content and your email newsletters. Remember, collect and share the best of what’s on the internet and always make sure sure it’s totally relevant to your audiences.