At its very core, social media is about conversations on relevant topics. Social media marketing therefore, is about conversations on a particular topic – your products or services and the value you are providing to others. However, no one wants to be sold to in a conversational setting. Enter the social media content strategy question. How? What? When? Etc.
Content Is King
You’ve probably heard the “Content is King” phrase before, many times, and it’s true. There has to be some meaningful content prompts for people to have conversations around, and over recent years, that content has fallen into two broad categories when it comes to generating business referrals and leads. Those categories are content marketing, which usually refers to original blogs or articles created by your staff, or content curating, which usually refers to collecting articles and blogs written by others from all across the Internet and sharing them with your audience.
We’ve said quite a bit about content marketing in the past, and we’ve spent considerable time demonstrating it with regular blogs that we hope keep you better informed on commendable social media practices to boost your business. (See a few of those articles here.) We believe this is an essential piece of defining the unique position and advantages your business holds within your industry. We strongly encourage all of our clients to consider content marketing because it is one of the purest forms of creating intellectual property for any business in our online world.
What Is Content Curation?
Content marketing takes considerable time and attention to the writing process. This can be a challenge for many business leaders. Because of this, content curation has become increasingly popular in the last several years, but like any other social media practice, it works best when you fully understand the value it provides and the best practices for curating content.
Similar to blogging, curating content allows you to distinguish yourself as a leader of trending thought in your industry. It is not as transparent as blogging, but what you choose to share with your Fans and Followers gives insight into the ideas and methods that you value. Curating content, if you’re doing it well, also keeps you attentive to the latest trends and shifts in your industry, serving as a type of continuing education tool for you. In this way, it’s a natural supplement to a content marketing strategy, and many would argue, both are needed to fully build a solid presence online.
Best Practices of Content Curation
There is a clear line between creating your own intellectual property in the form of company blogs and sharing the writing of others through content curation. One of the most obvious best practices of content curation, then, is to take great care not to plagiarize others’ work. If you share directly from their website, Retweet their content on Twitter, etc., then you will have no problems with this. If you choose to take excerpts of others’ writing and craft a response to it on your own social sites, be very careful to follow proper citation rules. Give credit where credit is due.
Other habits to follow with content curation are to stay focused on your core values and core industry topics. For instance, as social media marketers, we curate content that we deem commendable in our industry, but not on unrelated topics unless there’s a social media component to the story. Additionally, stick to the best content out there, based on your endorsement of the content you are sharing. If you don’t support the premise of the other writer’s article, don’t share it. (Every piece of curated content you share in social media can appear to come with your endorsement.) Never curate content that goes against your core philosophies in business just to have content going out from your social networks.
If you choose to add a content curation strategy to your marketing, your job is to cherry-pick the best of the best to be shared with your Fans and Followers. You owe them that!