hausmann blog

How to Curate Content on Social Media and Do it Well: Part 1

Content is only effective if it’s reaching the audience you want it to reach. Since you can’t go down to the skatepark with your laptop and force the kids there to see your new skateboard sales site, you need to make them come to you.

You can do this by what’s known as ‘curating’ your own content. Content curation involves assessing huge amounts of data, like blogs, news feeds, websites, images, and so on, and choosing the most appropriate to connect to your potential audience from your social media feed.

For example, sports apparel retailers can post sports links, photos, and stats that they think their customers might find interesting. The goal here is to provide your followers with content that will keep them coming back for more.

The key is getting the right content out to the right pair of eyeballs. Here’s how to do that.

1. Identify your target audience and their interests

You have to know your audience, and you have to know the audience you’re trying to attract. Newsflash: the two are probably pretty similar. Knowing your audience will let you figure out their interests and what kind of content they like to consume. If you’re selling skateboards, for example, then your followers probably won’t respond too well to cute cat videos… Unless the cats are riding skateboards, of course. If you’re a swimwear company, post pictures of the beach, cool surfboards, quotes from famous athletes, or even the new Jack Johnson video – if he still makes music…

2. Know what to share

You should always give your brand a voice on social media. The ‘voice’ should be a natural extension of your brand, and be relevant. A specialty coffee seller shouldn’t use dude in their posts, or if they must, at least use it as little as possible. The content you share should also reflect this brand. This means sharing and posting content that has the same tone, big ideas, and overall fit as your originally created content.

On Instagram, for example, you can share behind the scenes images, works in progress, and finished product shots. Your aesthetic should align with your branding and vice versa. Use similar tones and familiar shots, or deliver a specific theme, colour, and common composition. Curate relevant, user-generated photos from Instagram and regram them from your account. Not only would that get the user excited, but also other users who may want to see their photos shared on your page as well. Make sure that you always credit the original owner of the content – you don’t want to be stealing from anyone else! And worse, you don’t want everyone else to hear about it.

Keywords aren’t just buzzwords that don’t make sense to anyone but marketing professionals. Use them, but use them creatively. If you’re that coffee seller, don’t use coffee as a keyword. Use longer phrases like “the benefits of coffee” or “how is coffee made?” These are questions that your audience asking. You should be the one to answer them.

3. Incorporate both original and quality content

The goal of content curation is to entertain your audience enough so that they tell their friends. It’s the ultimate word of mouth. If your content is fun and interesting, it will get shared around to other like-minded people who will hopefully then become your followers as well. Set your brand up as an expert in your field or in a certain topic, so that readers keep coming back and following what you post.

You should also include your own, or your organisation’s, original content. Show that you are creative and fun on your own terms as well. Being more than just a sharer can really help your brand.

4. Be organised

Content comes from all different kinds of online sources, so you’ll need systems for finding and reading great content to save time. Set up RSS feeds and search for good content every day. You can set up alerts for certain keywords or follow influential and popular people and brands on social media.

Try some of these sources to keep yourself up-to-date on content that your audience might be into:

  • Feedly – Create folders for the various content you create, and then add RSS feeds for different accounts or topics,
  • Alltop – Create a MyAlltop page to see the blogs you pull in to review when you curate from this platform,
  • Pinterest – You can use this to find great content that your target audience is interested in,
  • BuzzSumo – Customise alerts by keyword, link, author, and domain. You can get an email for these each day,
  • Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer, and Bundlepost – These can help you curate more content in less time, as well as automate the delivery of your content. Facebook and Twitter also have their own scheduling systems in their analytics section, and
  • Google Alerts – Searches the web for specific preset terms and keywords.

5. Credit the curated content’s creator

Content curation gives credit where credit is due. It’s not plagiarism or theft, so let your readers know who curated the content.

6. Brand your content

All of this is to help your brand be successful, right? No matter how you curate your content or what channel you use to distribute it, you should always dress it for success. Use a consistent, well-designed format that uses colours, fonts, or imagery that reinforces your brand. Do this whether it be a blog post, Pinterest tiles, or even email.

If you have an Instagram account, have a clearly defined and consistent feed that expresses a clear representation of what kind of account it is. This way people can relate to your brand and know what content they can expect to see, making them more likely to ‘follow’ you if you have something of interest on offer. Don’t be the skateboard seller who occasionally posts cat videos. You’ll confuse your audience and get lots of useless feedback like “stick to skateboards” or “what happened to the cat videos?”