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How to Curate Content for Your Social Media Channels

What Is Curated Content Anyway?

To put it simply, curated content is a collection of different forms of materials, often designed for a particular audience that can be shared across your company's channels. There's no limit of what "content" you can develop. That means infographics, videos, blogs, posts, presentations are all fair game.

Who's making all this stuff? That would be the content creators, these are the creative minds behind what your audiences are consuming. Their specialties can range from writing gurus, genius graphic designers, vloggers, and more. With such a wide variety of mediums and content types, there is no “cookie cutter” description of what a content creator is.

The Difference Between Content Curation and Content Creation

It should be noted, however, that there is a difference between content creation and content curation.

Content creation - creating your own content from scratch for the purpose of sharing across your channels.

Content curation - using third party materials on a specific topic from other sources or influencers to share across your channels.

Why Should Brands Curate Content?

Content makes the world go round - or at least social media anyway. With high competition fighting over space in the News Feed, it's important to get your brand noticed. And what better way to attract attention than by sharing relevant content that appeals to your audience's likes, interests, and values without having to draft something from scratch?

Here are 5 reasons why brands need to curate content consistently:

1. Increased Organic Traffic If you play your cards right you have a great opportunity to be discovered through search engines without spending a dime. To do this correctly you need to develop a content marketing plan, complete with relevant keywords you want to target. Use this as inspiration to fuel topics and reach out to thought leaders to get their opinion and publish it to your blog. Have a look at one of our best-performing curated blog posts "Top Productivity Hacks Shared by the Experts."

2. Brand Recognition 

Share of voice is an essential element of marketing. By curating content and covering topics that are valuable to your audiences you can become easily recognizable and even outshine your competitors. Curating content expands the number of pieces you can distribute across your channels. In-house resources can only go so far. Be first in your customer's minds by sharing fresh ideas and materials on the platforms they use most!

3. Community Building 

Behind every piece of content is a community. If you use your content to hit the right notes, cover the right topics, and comment on the right news, you'll be building a loyal community in no time. It's important to note however that community building can expand outside of content curation. In fact, responding to your community in a timely manner, joining group discussions, and addressing reviews on sites are all ways to create a loyal following.

4. Marketing Materials 

Curated content has many benefits - it kills a million birds with one stone. While your content can have a tremendous impact on your community building, engagement, and branding, you also have the advantage of growing your marketing materials. This means you'll have a healthy backlog of supplies you can use to repurpose content on other channels or even equip your sales teams. Say goodbye to creating things on the go and enjoy the fruits of your labor long term.

5. Influencer Marketing Content curation opens up many opportunities for you to spark relationships with influencers. Use influencer-collaborations as an opportunity to reach new audiences and prolong f your message even further. If you're ready to dive into influencer marketing, you can take our free tool for a spin to find one that will be a perfect match for your brand.

Not sure if your curated content is resonating with the right audiences? We've got your back. Use this free persona template tool to get your marketing organized.

Top 10 Content Curation Tools to Kickstart Your Social Media Marketing

By now you're likely in the social media marketing mood, meaning that you need some awesome content curation tools at your disposal.

1. Socialbakers Content Inspiration

All great content starts with inspiration. With this free content curation tool, you'll be able to search through best-performing posts across platforms. Don't just guess at what great content looks like- instead, have a look for yourself and recreate others’ successes!

Try free here!

2. Google Alerts 

Let content ideas come to you. Select topics that are relevant to your content marketing strategy and get news sent straight to your inbox without having to even lift a finger! It's an effortless way to learn what's going on in your industry so you can jump on trends while they're still hot.

3. Social Media Groups Sound too easy? Find spokespeople within your company and encourage them to participate in groups or forums on social media. Some of the most popular groups are Quora, Reddit, or Facebook and LinkedIn Groups. Establishing a presence within these groups helps build your brand in an authentic way while giving you insight into the pains and desires of your target audience so you can create content that better suits their needs.

4. Scoop.it

This content curation tool allows individuals and businesses to monitor sources globally. Discover content from third parties in a few clicks and share your findings with your community across channels.

5. ContentGems

Similar to the tools mentioned above, ContentGems scans articles across the web. You'll have a stream of relevant content daily to help you keep up to date.

6. Flipboard 

This cool tool delivers content straight to you. Take a look at a collection of social media and web content to get the full picture. Easily filter by different topics or see what's featured that day.

7. PublishThis

Have tons of content that you're not sure what to do with? PublishThis will help make sure you are making the most out of all your curated content while giving you the ability to monitor current events with curated news.

8. Publication Newsletters If you need some very specific news or content, relying on alerts or daily news may not be the right choice for you. In this case, find publications that frequently publish content relevant to your business and sign up for their newsletters so you can get caught up without constantly visiting their webpage.

9. Google Trends 

Find out what the world is searching for with Google Trends. See what's popular or search by keywords that matter to your business most.

How to Curate Content for Social Media

Now that you know what content curation is and what types of tools you should use for inspiration, it's time to address how you can curate effective content for your audiences on social media.

Identify What Type of Curated Content will Resonate with Your Audience Personas

Audiences are at the heart of all of your content. Before you can press that "Share" button, you need to identify who you are speaking to. Companies often have many different personas they need to curate content for, which is why it's vital to have audience personas on hand.

If you don't have audience personas, or would like to organize the ones you do have, you can download your free template here.

Once you've conducted your audience analysis, you'll gain better insight into what types of content your different personas will be more likely to interact with. After all, personalized marketing is innovative and can have tremendous effects on a company's bottom line.

A lack of personalized content can even hurt your business. According to an Infosys report, 74% of customers feel frustrated when brands don't provide them with individualized website content. At the same time, 63% of worldwide consumers are annoyed by seeing generic advertising messages repeatedly. Businesses need to start investing in personalized content sooner rather than later. Luckily there are ways marketers can automate this process to save time and resources.

After your audience research is complete and you've successfully put a face to your personas, you can narrow down your content search and find relevant topics faster.

How Much Curated Content Is Enough?

Curated content can be an easy way to quantify the number of pieces you are able to publish - but you have to be careful not to overdo it.

To decide how much content you should curate, take a look at your current publishing frequency and see how much content you're publishing overall. Are you at your maximum capacity? Or are you under-delivering?

For example, if you're like Reynolds Kitchens you probably won't have a lot of space for curated content. Just one look at their Instagram feed's "Endless Table" design demonstrates that they have no room for other posts since their strategy relies entirely on branded images.

If you have space for some curation in your content strategy, you should strive for balance. According to a study published by Convince & Convert, the amount of curated content correlates with the volume of clicks and conversions.

Over Curators Turns out that companies that publish curated content 75% of the time generate a lot of clicks but few conversions. It's unsurprising that curated content is more clickable that in-house content because it has a sense of authenticity and credibility that brands can never obtain. However, not publishing enough of your own content may not attract a "ready-to-buy" audience.

Self Promoters On the other end of the spectrum, companies that publish curated content up to 50% of the time generate fewer clicks and fewer conversions. Perhaps audiences tune out branded messaging over time if channels are saturated with content coming from the same source.

Curator Masters Companies that publish curated content between 50-75% of the time generate fewer clicks but more conversions. While clicks were 20% lower than Over Curators, their conversion rate was 10x higher! Turns out a healthy balance is key.

Of course, this rule doesn't have to hold true for you - you should do some testing to find the sweet spot for your own business. 

How to Build an Effective Content Curation Workflow

To curate content, at a steady and consistent speed, you need to set up a high functioning team with clear roles and responsibilities. If you need more context around how to build an all-star social media team, hop over to our blog: here. However, we detail below how you can distribute tasks among your digital marketing team:

Content Strategist - decides on the type of curated content to ensure that it aligns with the current company goals. It's their responsibility to select curated content that fits into the larger picture to avoid curating content for the sake of quantity alone. It is also their job to decide how and where the content should be distributed.

Content Curator - this person will sift through all of the curated content to find the best of the best. They will be on the lookout for content that is relevant to the industry, high-quality, and in line with their audiences' interests. For someone to do this job well, they will need to have thoroughly read through all of the content. If they are collaborating with contributors, it's their job to provide feedback to the author and commentary that corresponds to the goals of their company. This can also be in the form of adding hyperlinks, data points, images, and other branded content. 

Content Distributor - publishes curated content across channels. This person knows the ins and outs of all of the companies channels. They know how to package content for each platform and, ideally, how to publish at the optimal time to maximize its visibility and engagement.

Community Manager - monitors feedback on curated content and engages with audience members across channels.

How to Measure the Results of Your Social Media Content Curation

The beauty of social media marketing is the ability to measure every single one of your initiatives. If your adding content curation to your strategy you should set up parameters for how you plan to measure your success. Luckily, there are many different ways you can see if your curated content is hitting all of the right notes.

Which metrics should you monitor?

Overall engagement

- Your overall social media engagement is something you're probably already keeping tabs on. This can be viewed as the sum of interactions you receive over a time period (usually month is best to look at) or as an average. Looking at overall engagement of your channels will help you spot any patterns.

Engagement per 1,000 followers - This metric will give you a more accurate look at your engagement levels relative to the size of your community. Be sure to do this for all of your platforms every month for your regular reporting.

Breakdown of Interactions by Types - It's important to know how your social media audiences are reacting to your curated content. Are you getting a lot of Likes and Reactions? If the latter, you'll be able to see if they're positive or negative.

How about comments? Comments mean these posts are sparking conversations among your community. You can even take it a step further and take a look at the sentiment to see exactly how your community members feel.

Volume of Clicks - If you're posting your curated content to your website, you can see if these blogs or articles are driving social and organic traffic. Use a marketing platform like Socialbakers to easily see how many people clicked through on a curated piece. Or dive through Google Analytics data and see how your curated content stacks up against your own.

Follower Growth - Are you growing followers every month or are you losing some? Posting curated content can be a double edged sword. If you post curated content too frequently it can look spammy. If you don't post it enough, your content may look and sound too much like marketing. If this balance is off, you may be able to tell by taking a look at your follower growth.

Sound like a lot to keep track of? There's an easy way to do this! To get more work done in less time, employ a social media marketing platform that will enable you to label posts so you can monitor a campaign's performance as a whole, rather than hunting down each individual post natively. Once you've labeled your "curated content" you can easily segment your analysis to get to the bottom of what's working. Sign up for Socialbakers free to give it a try!

Content Curation Examples

Mari Smith

Mari Smith is one of the most influential social media marketers out there, so much so that she is often referred to as the "Facebook Queen." But she doesn't just rule on Facebook, she also wears the crown when it comes to curating content.

A quick look at Smith's Twitter account shows how she can easily curate up a storm. To keep up with the 24-hour Tweeting cycle, she heavily relies on sharing relevant third-party content. By tagging her content curators she is able to publicly give them credit, which can transform into a rewarding relationship over time. 

Speaking of mutually beneficial relationships, want exclusive Mari Smith tips? No problem! Get her 7 answers to questions every social media manager wants to know.

Social Media Examiner

Just because Social Media Examiner is an online publication, doesn't mean they can't share sources from others!

Social Media Examiner has tons of articles, podcasts, and interviews published daily - but it's still hard to get content out there when there's breaking news to cover! To ensure they get on the topic while it's topical, Social Media Examiner sometimes relies on third-party articles from publishers like Mashable.

hey occasionally share in the form of a link or they summarize breaking news from a third-party source in a long Facebook post. Regardless, it's a genius tactic to help the company update their fans and spark discussions around relevant topics.

Invision, a digital design platform, doesn't shy away from curating content - even on Instagram. They nicely integrate some curated content in a very specific way. Their curated content is often reposting illustrations from artists that have a key learning. Considering that Invision is all about creativity and design, it makes perfect sense that the company would share some of the most liked cartoons within their community.

They always give credit to the artists who they curate content from, which is a great way to build their brand among the design community.

Content Curation Tips and Tricks

  • Chances are, you don't need to look far for inspiration. Leverage your in-house knowledge hub to easily find out what's happening in your industry. Ask your team about the articles they've read recently, what videos they've watched, and more to get a sense of what would be relevant within your own community. 

  • The internet has a lot to offer. It's a perfect place to find interesting facts or statistics that you can easily repurpose. Don't be afraid to pull content from other sources and put your own spin on it. A great way to do this is to compile your discoveries in an easy-to-read infographic that your audience can learn from and share.

  • Get out there and discover influencers or organizations that create relevant content. If the content matches your audience's needs and isn't a conflict of interest there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to share it on your social media channels. As we've mentioned before, always tag content creators to give credit where it's due and build relationships in the process. Who knows, they may start curating content from your website in the future! 

  • Don't forget about PR. If your PR team is pitching articles, data, or tips with other publications, you have a great opportunity to share this on your own channels. Your PR team has already done the hard work getting coverage, so why not expand the content's lifetime a bit by sharing it across your social media channels. 

  • Reach out to influencers or thought leaders in your industry and ask them for quotes or tips on a certain topic. Use this information to compile a list of all the quotes or tips you've gathered and publish to your blog. This is an easy way to get free valuable content that can be used in a multitude of different ways. For example, you can Tweet the quotes on Twitter, create enticing visuals around the quotes for Instagram, and post the blog as a link for Facebook. So many ideas stemming from just one format! 

  • Create an original piece based on your favorite curated pieces. It's so easy to do, and can really help your audiences out. Simply find a topic that's relevant to your audience and whip up a list of "top X articles" your community should read. Provide a short summary after each recommendation so your readers can immediately decide if it's right for them. Check out one of our own curated lists here

  • Include your audience! Who says user-generated content can't be curated? The lines are blurry here. Use the power of social media contests and hashtags to encourage your audience to contribute their own content. Repost or share posts that are a perfect fit for social media channels, and become closer to your community in the process. You can even create content around FAQs asked by your community members! Host a live session answering these questions, create blog content, or post articles around these topics to help them find solutions to their challenges. 

The Takeaway

Social media marketing is non-stop, which means you need to have tons of content up your sleeve to compete. Creating content in-house only goes so far, and if your content team is small - the struggle can be real. To work efficiently, you need to develop a content curation strategy that will resonate with your audiences.

But before you go on a reposting frenzy, always remember to balance your curated content with original content. Keep a close eye on your engagement rate by analyzing your curated posts and benchmarking them against your own. Marketing platforms like Socialbakers make this extremely easy to do - see for yourself by accessing your free trial!

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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