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Let’s face it, not all of us are skilled photographers taking breathtaking photos twice a day. Not all of us have larger-than-life personas. But I guarantee that there are these over-the-top creatives out there who are content machines with a focus in your industry. And I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be them, you just have to find them.
Original content is vital to every business. I won’t devalue the power of an original post. It’s great for branding, it can drive traffic to your site, and most importantly it gives a voice to your business. But building a business and day-to-day operations is hard enough. Coming up with new original content is not easy and it takes time. Imagine you are in the middle of a project or a meeting and you realize that you haven’t posted anything yet. You have to stop what you are doing, find something to instagram beyond just the sandwich you brought for lunch and also write a post about it. Instead of forcing something that’s not there, why not share a quality post that someone else has already created? That’s where content curation comes in. Curation is the process of collecting and sharing content relevant to an area of interest. @brian_g_peters from @buffer brought to my attention the other day at philly tech week that if you look at Buzzfeed, Forbes, TNW, Quora, and TechCrunch, they all curate their content. Take a look at the brands that you follow on social media and you’ll see even more curation. There is so much of it out there because it works. Why should you curate? Well for one, it will save you time. It also builds trust with your audience. Beyond just being a representation of your company and brand, your social media account now becomes a resource of relevant information in your industry. This past year, 82% of marketers embraced sharing a mix of their own and other people’s content on their social channels (http://www.curata.com/). The more you provide valuable information, the more trust you build with your audience and the more willing they will be to take action when the time is right.
So here are my steps.
Everything is easier with the right tool. Content curation save us time and resources but still involves a few steps. The biggest step is finding the right information to share. You want the information to be engaging as well as relevant to your business and your audience. Here’s some tools I use to help streamline the process. Keep in mind that there are a bunch of tools out there that do similar things, but these are the tools that work for me (and they are free :))
Feedly- Feedly filters brand new trending articles based on a certain criteria. It has become my go to aggregator for finding related to my industry. (Pro Tip: Read through your articles completely, if it doesn’t keep you engaged, it won’t keep your audience engaged either!)
Faves- similar to Feedly, it will help you find popular trending articles. (pro tip: avoid using the articles on Faves that look like click bait articles. You are interested in building trust!)
Pocket- Once you find your articles you can click on Find your content and save it for later!
Buffer- From pocket, you can send your content to Buffer. Buffer is a great social media scheduling app. I strongly suggest getting the google chrome extension. If you are clicking around and find something you want to share you can easily click the buffer button and instantly share on all of your socials. You can also customize each platform so they don’t all say the same thing!
Gnow.it - Want a program that fuses pocket and buffer together? Gnow.it is a great app that allows you to find content from many different sources and save or post it at your leisure. Gnow.it, a newer solution, is a great program that allows you to search for content easily. save it for later or post it directly to buffer, facebook, or twitter. You can find content from Gnow.it's directory itself, google, RSS feeds that you specify interest in, and even twitter users that you'd like to curate content from. As this is a relatively new platform, they are adding more features monthly.
Snappa (this is a creative tool but thought I would include it anyway)- It’s like a drag and drop photoshop but with an included library of stock photos
Consistency is key! Post twice a day or twice a week. Whatever you can do, but don’t let a week slip by. If your industry is something you love and something you are invested in, then let people know that you live and breathe it. Use buffer to schedule your posts for the month. Doesn’t that eliminate the spontaneity of instagram and twitter? Sure it does a little bit, but you don’t have to post everything you schedule and ideally you will post more than when you will be scheduling.
Last year, Las Vegas Convention launched their snapchat and hired DJ Khaled to do an account takeover. The account brought in more than 350,000 views in its first 2 days. It was a good move for Las Vegas because DJ Khaled was well known in the club scene and also someone who already had a tremendous snapchat following. Now, you don’t have to hire DJ Khaled or any celebrity. But sharing your account with an influencer opens your brand up to their audience and also builds a sense of community. You will have far more reach when you engage directly with influencers but also just your employees and/or friends. Ask them to share your information when you post. There is strength in numbers! On the flip side, try reaching out to guest post for others too. Again, this will build community and also expose you to an audience that typically wouldn’t have seen you.
Follow your competitors and see how they address their audience in their posts and see what resources they are sharing too. It’s helpful to get into the habit of reading blog posts daily. I find that I learn the most from listening to podcasts from professionals in the industry. I keep notes short notes in my phone of what they are talking about so I can look it up later to read and share.
Don’t put a bird on everything you post. But make sure there is something compelling and visual to go along with posts. People are much more willing to interact with an image or a video.
I like to share a stock photos or modify a stock photo. There are thousands available that are free under creative commons license. You can find beautiful free images on Pexels.com, Unsplash.com, or stocksnap.io. Images are also great for SEO on your blog. Check out how images can help your SEO in a blog post that the strategist did a few weeks ago!
Social media trends change very quickly. Find a system that works and then make changes based on audience reaction. See what happens! Try using more text than usual, then use less text. Try sharing something in the morning, and then skip the next morning and post at night. Make sure the content is relevant but have some fun with it. If you have fun, your audience will too.
Something I have to note is that you will always want to make sure you are asking for permission when you are curating posts. You don’t have to go crazy writing a detailed message to the creator. 9 times out of 10 they will be thrilled to share content as long as you give credit where credit is due! If you start scheduling your content and using the curation tools you’ll see how easy it is to find relevant quality content and you’ll be surprised how you can take your campaigns to another level
For more about social media marketing check out our Facebook Marketing for Beginners blog post. Most importantly, have fun with your content curation!