Social media is a cornerstone of any small business’ online presence. Aside from your website, your social profiles are the only other place on the web where you can share and curate the content you want your audience to see.
Leveraging the power of social is a smart way to strengthen your brand’s messaging and following.
At the center of it all is the concept of content curation. To get people paying attention to what you’re saying, you need to give them a reason to look twice.
That’s where content curation comes in. Here’s what you need to know before you start filling up your newsfeed (and your followers’) with posts.
What is Content Curation in Social Media?
Content aggregation is the idea of sharing content that’s not original—pictures, videos, blog posts and more that you didn’t produce.
You might retweet someone or share a YouTube video on your Facebook timeline that sends a message you agree with. There are tens of thousands of content aggregators out there.
Content curation is a bit different. You’re still sharing content from other sources, but you’re doing it in a very purposeful way. Curated messaging is carefully selected because it contributes to your brand in a meaningful way beyond restating an idea you agree with. It takes into consideration not only the media/message, but the company that produced it and the messaging surrounding it.
Confused? Don’t worry—it takes time to learn the nuances. Think of curation as a more mindful approach to growing your brand. You’re not sharing messages—you’re building your brand’s credibility.
Why Should You Curate Content?
Curating content is something every small business should consider. Why? Because it’s a quick way to generate content for your audience, while building the ethos (character) of your brand. Here’s a simple example:
You run a small business accounting firm and have been getting a lot of questions about payroll taxes. You don’t have the means to produce a video, but there’s a great video on Investopedia.com, a large financial education website. You choose to share this video on your Facebook profile, to help answer your clients’ questions.
This example of content curation is a great one because it illustrates the right way to do it. First, you identify the type of content your customers and followers want to see. Then, you identify an example of existing content that meets that need. You make sure the original producer of the content isn’t a competitor before sharing it on your social profile. Everyone benefits:
- Your business provides informative content for followers
- Followers engage with content that helps them and is valuable
- The original creator gets more traction and views for their content
This is the win-win-win that comes with good content curation! It’s more effective than sharing any old content, which may or may not garner the attention it deserves. In this way, curation trumps aggregation. It’s about quality over quantity.
What is the Ideal Mix of Curated vs. Original Content?
What about original content? That’s a good question. There’s no substitute for content you create and share yourself—it’s the best investment you can make. In fact, if your content is well-done, it might even be curated by another brand, putting you at the supplier end of the content curation process!
The main drawback of using 100% original content for your social platforms is the upfront investment of either time or money. Either you need to create original content or you need to pay someone else to. This is a barrier for many small businesses—one that makes content curation an appealing alternative.
So how much of your content should be original vs. curated? Is there a magic percentage? The answer is no, there’s no magic formula—but there is a good starting point and a ratio any small business can strive for. The simple answer is 60-40, curated vs. original content. This is only a rule of thumb, but it’s a good one to keep in mind as you target ideas for your social feeds. It’s also variable, depending on your business and the platform. For example, if you’re big on Instagram, that ratio may be closer to 80-20.
The other rule of thumb to consider is that the larger your business and the more followers you have, the further toward original content you should skew.
5 Tips to Take Your Social Presence Up a Notch
How can you make sure your curated content gets traction among your followers? To get the most out of curated content, make sure you’re following these five proven tips!
- The stronger the media, the more engagement it’ll get. Video is the best, infographics and unique images are next, then written content. Don’t share individual posts or basic memes you can make yourself!
- Avoid generic messaging! Curate content that has a specific meaning and objective, so you’re not adding to the clutter of someone’s newsfeed. The message should have a strong connection to your brand.
- Identify industry-leading organizations and brands and curate content directly from them. The more obscure the content, the less effective it’ll be. Think of it like citing sources—primary is best, secondary is okay, tertiary loses appeal.
- Never curate content from competitors! The last thing you want is to give competing businesses extra traction and exposure. Make sure the content you’re sharing has no links to your immediate competition.
- Always tag the original content creator in your social posts. Not only is it a good-guy move, but it’ll also link your post to their profile and correlate both brands together. A simple “@” mention should suffice across all platforms.
Follow these simple tips and always keep purpose top-of-mind. Why are you sharing this content? What message do you want to send? How do you want your curated content to reflect on your brand? It’s easy to share a news article here or a funny meme there, but ultimately, they need to be messages that resonate with your audience and strengthen your profile.
Be mindful of what you curate and you’ll find that it strengthens your brand in a meaningful way.