In order to engage your followers, we all know you need to share interesting content with them regularly. Of course, there are plenty of tools that help you schedule and share content, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial. But what about finding content your audience will love? You can use Google, and browse your RSS feeds, but there’s got to be an easier, faster way, right? We asked 20 experts in the social media marketing space to share their favorite sources to curate content. Here’s what they had to say:
Khaled ElAhmad – AllTop and Scoop.it
When managing brands, we start by assigning the right “keywords” for the brand, something like #Fashion #Marketing. Then we draw a brief plan on what and when to share; Brand content + Sector content + share-able/valuable/relevant content We take brand content and make it more personalized and more “social media” friendly. We search for sector content fresh article and share them. There are loads of share-able content out there, we look for something of a value and relevant to the brand.
We don’t copy paste, we copy innovate. So, we look for quotes for example and once we find one that we like, we find a matching photo and embed the quote on top of the photo and share it. We use a lot of visuals, closed end questions, polls, fill in the blank, contests and so on.
We have our own twitter & facebook lists of the top blogs with different sectors. We also use aggregators like alltop.com and content curator sites like http://scoop.it/t/sm (our page) where we curate top social media articles.
Mallorie Rosenbluth – Analyzing Past Performance
Now, more than ever, engaging content trumps branded content. Since post reach on Facebook has dropped from 26% in 2012 to just under 8% at the end of 2013, standing out in the News Feed and getting likes, shares and comments is absolutely critical. At Likeable, we have a team dedicated to creating the content our brands share across their social channels and blogs. They dig into past post performance to see what has resonated with the community recently and scour the internet on sites relevant to the target consumer to find inspiration.
We also try to use a healthy amount of user generated imagery in our content – that resonates tremendously with our social communities. Whenever we can add a special touch to UGC (like text overlay or a one-liner), fitting it into a brand’s content calendar is a mutually beneficial slam dunk. Additionally, our art team does a lot of in-house lifestyle and product shoots (we try to stay away from using too much stock photography!) and our writers are tremendous in their ability to adapt voice and tone by client so no two calendars look, sound or feel the same.
Ric Dragon – Pinterest and List.ly
I have about a dozen blogs and several major sites that I follow regularly, from the New York Times, Brainpickings, HBR, to several blogs, such as Social Media Today and Marketing Land. Perusing those sites is part of my morning ritual. The two tools I use with regularity are Pinterest and List.ly. They really appeal to different ways of thinking and presenting ideas. The great thing with List.ly is that I can create an ongoing list that I can share, and even solicit the ideas of others.
Adam Connell – Swayy, Klout, Netvibes
I don’t spend too much time searching for engaging content because I have a few sources that I have found work for me. There are tools that can be used for this like Swayy and Klout. While Klout is preferable because people can’t pay to get their content in front of me, chances are that it will end up that way. I prefer to find content using platforms where the content can stand on it’s own merit.
I was always a fan of iGoogle – I just liked how it laid RSS feeds out for me. Right now the main thing I use is a set of RSS feeds broken up by topic in Netvibes. This does mean that I miss out on content from sites that I don’t subscribe to so I use tools like Triberr to fill the gap. I also have Twitter lists setup where I have added key influencers and monitor them in Hootsuite. I’ve done a similar thing with G+ circles. By doing this I know that the quality of the content that I find is going to be really top notch.
Julio Viskovich – TrendSpottr
Finding engaging content is huge! The concept of content is king still holds true today and sharing engaging and valuable content is the best way to build thought leadership and social currency. Finding and sharing this content ranks very high on my daily priority list. I use a 4-1-1 formula when publishing my content meaning for every 6 articles or pieces of content that go out of my account, 4 of them are 3rd party non-affiliated valuable industry content, 1 is a company blog post, and 1 is a link to a landing page or monetized webpage. This formula assures you maintain value and build social currency with your audience.
I use some very awesome tools to help me find amazing content. I use HootSuite to create hashtag search and Twitter lists with thought leaders. This is where I start. The next tool I use is called TrendSpottr and is by far my favorite because it assigns a real-time trending score to tell me which articles are beginning to trend around certain topics. The trending score tells me the virality potential of sharing the article. Other tools of note are Feed.ly and HootSuite’s RSS syndicator also allow me to pull in valuable content to share.
Deirdre Breakenridge – Flipboard and Zite
When I was first thinking about content, I learned that great content can come directly from what people want and need. So, for me, I will follow certain bloggers and if they post on a particular topic, then I will often find community members commenting and uncovering new angles or different issues. Sometimes these provide a great source of inspiration. This often happens within my own social channels as well. It’s the great conversations that lead to content ideas.
I also tend to pick up ideas from Twitter and the #PRStudChat community discussions. The #PRStudChat community is comprised of PR students, professionals and educators and there is no shortage of questions and comments shared. Some other great sources for PR, marketing and social media come from blogs including Mashable, Techcrunch, SpinSucks, PR Newser, PRDaily. I also still love to read print publications such as Inc., Entrepreneur, Wired Magazine and Fast Company. The articles are more in depth and can be used to spark interesting discussions or follow up ideas that can be shared through my blog.
As much as I enjoy my magazine reading and putting aside interesting articles, I do have some curation tools set in place. These resources include Flipboard, Zite and iFlow.com. They allow me to zero in on specific topics, which is more efficient than sifting through many different publications and hand picking articles myself. When I’m short on time, having curation apps on my smartphone is also a quick way to find interesting content to share.
Liz H. Kelly – Feedly and Flipboard
Finding engaging content is about knowing your audience, and defining your brand. For example, when I started @GoodyAwards for social good, we decided to focus on 4 key areas where people are making a difference: 1) health, 2) environment, 3) education and 4) women empowerment. We’ve done cause marketing campaigns associated with these 4 areas, and have now built a loyal audience. Our tone is also positive and encouraging, and we support anti-bully campaigns. There is overlap in the 4 key areas, and this formula keeps a high engagement.
You also have to think about key influencers to follow, and add them to lists, and then start engaging with them. For example, the Goody Awards follows thought leaders such as Rich Branson, Bill Gates, Queen Noor, Heal The Bay, and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
Sites that I find most helpful for broad-based content include USA Today, Feedly, Buzzfeed, Mashable and Flipboard. By knowing your audience, that should determine what stories get shared.
James Brown – SocialBakers, and Offerpop
We use analytics to see what has worked in the past and across our multiple brands. Sometimes we try the same efforts across all platforms to see what gets people talking. There is a lot of trial and error but when you find the “sweet spot” you can run with it. Once we know what our fans will engage with us about we can plan bigger versions or similar takes on that content. We use SocialBakers Content and Analytics platform to help. We also use Offerpop to facilitate many of our efforts on our platforms.
Adelyn Biedenbach – Hootsuite, Swayy, and Linkedin Groups
There are four main locations from which I derive my content. The first is personalized twitter lists which i view in HootSuite. I’ve created some lists including industry leaders, other teams in the sports business as well as former classmates, professors and students of mine. Keeping an eye on these streams allows me to see the content that they are finding and sharing and I’ll often reply, retweet or engage.
Secondly I use services such as Swayy, Media Bistro newsletters and other curation tools to check the daily content that they pull. I’ve just begun using Swayy and I like their derived content and how easy it is to share. LinkedIN groups are another great source of activations and conversation where I can find content to reshare.
Lastly, I’m part of an alumni network from Syracuse University called the digital trade (www.thedigitaltrade.com). Graduate Student alums of the New Media Management program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications share information about their individual industries in a closed forum and a blog. This is another area where I learn about content that will hopefully shape the content that I create in my job and that I share to promote my own personal brand.
Ian Anderson Gray – Triberr, edocr and Buffer
Over the years I have built up a large number of sites and blogs that I follow. These are blogs by people I trust or businesses who consistently post fantastic content. I subscribe to all these sites using RSS in Feedly. As well as that I use Triberr, a tool for bloggers which helps me find fantastic content from people in Tribes that I am a member of.
These tribe members also have the option of sharing my content. I ocassionally use other curation tools or tools that have curation features in them such as edocr, Buffer, Klout and Commun.it.
Chris Syme – Google Alerts, Mention, Feedly
Being a curator is a big part of my agency’s persona, I spend most of my time online looking for information to share with my followers. I believe that’s the reason most of my followers are there–to get the information I glean from the internet that will help them. I rely on Google Alerts, Mention, Feedly, email subscriptions to select blogs, and tweets from people I follow (and then RT).
Kathleen Holmlund – Feedly and Google Alerts
I use a number of tools to help me find content. My first stop is my Feedly feed where I follow a number of social media, tech and business news sites. Some of my favourites are Mashable, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, Inc.com, Fast Company, Forbes, and HBR Blogs. I also use Google Alerts Scoopit to gather topical articles, and lists of influencers on Twitter to see the content they share, and BufferApp as I am surfing the web.
Craig Freeman – Swayy and Klout
I use social media so often throughout the day that content almost finds me. I rarely specifically go hunting for it, but if the right headline, stat or image grabs my attention I read further and share if I feel it is worthwhile. Until recently it was just by looking at what individuals and brands that I respected were sharing across social media. Then Swayy and Klout launched their new content curation tools and life got a lot easier! Both of those put really relevant and high quality content front and centre in a format that can be shared in seconds.
Brad Smith – BuzzSumo and Linkedin Goups
We are big consumers of content. We do use BuzzSumo to help with research. We also frequent LinkedIn Groups related to our audience and key markets to see what they are talking about and sharing. We connect on social outlets with our clients to find out what they are sharing (both business related and personal). We look at Facebook insights to find out what brands and pages they follow and interact with. We use Google Analytics to see how engaging our past topics were and use that data to make meaningful changes to our future content strategy.
Mary Thomas – Twitter Flipboard
I use Social Media Examiner and the Content Marketing Institute as primary sources for my social media. I also have trusted sources on Twitter, LinkedIn etc who I like to share. I try to share information beyond just social media so information relevant to my audience interests or information about small business growth. For clients, we share information relevant to their industry by following industry relevant accounts on Twitter or using industry relevant blogs. I like Flipboard as a content curation tool.
Stella Barnes – Buffer, ManageFlitter, Paper.Li
I use a wide variety of sites and also write my own stuff and circulate it in different ways through all my platforms. I use Buffer to schedule and ManageFlitter for followers etc and then search many different places for content including paper.li, feedly, blogspot blogs, newspapers and other social media provided by my followers.
Martin Waxman – Blogs and Daily Newsletters
I mostly curate stories about communications, social media, advertising, marketing, PR and some fun stuff too. Of course, I read the tech blogs like TechCrunch, PandoDaily, Mashable and I subscribe to a number of daily newsletters. I use these as my first moment of curation. In other words, I know their focus and trust that they’ve found stories of interest to me. Sometimes, I realize that I’ve outgrown the material they’re sharing, so I’ll unsubscribe and find other outlets. And of course the serendipity of the Twitter stream itself is a fantastic source. You wade in and never know what you’ll find!
Ray Dennis – Monitoring Social Media
Daily monitoring of my clients’ online presence, social media channels and industry is probably the most important activity of my day and finding content is one of the results of that monitoring. It’s an ongoing process throughout the day.
First, it’s important for me to understand the follower (audience) based on direct engagement with them, client and industry data, consumer insights, industry, market and cultural trends, etc. We then base our content strategy and sharing on the specific needs, interest and wants of that particular audience.
Megan McNeill – Twitter Lists
I use an SMMS to stream Twitter lists and other social news feeds. This way you can consume AND create shareable content using one platform. Well-edited Twitter lists are a crucial content-finding tool, but LinkedIn is becoming more and more important to me as well. I also have different sites I frequent depending on the topics that interest a client’s audience.
Rebecca Coleman – Hootsuite, Buffer and Delicious
My rule for curating content generally falls into the category of “If I like it and find it useful, my readers probably will, too.” I mostly post about social media marketing: how-tos, the latest information and updates, and lots on best practices.
Sites I love are many of the popular ones: Mashable, Social Media Examiner, the Constant Contact blog, Problogger, Ittybiz, Mari Smith, and Socially Stacked.
In terms of curation, I mostly use Hootsuite. I have RSS feeds running through my Hootsuite, and I’m able to go through the daily feeds quickly and queue up tweets throughout the day using the autoschedule button. I also really love Buffer, and I often use Delicious to bookmark sites and articles I want to come back to.
Danielle Lambert – Surveying Followers + Buffer
To find content that my followers will love, I generally focus on following trade magazines within my industry. I love using Buffer to then take that information and schedule strategic times to share it. In addition to that strategy, I make an effort to create a lot of my own content. By surveying the subscribers on my email list or asking my Twitter followers, I ensure that I generate content that answers the questions they have. Getting my followers feedback is very key to sharing more and more of the content they engage with best.
Mandy Edwards – RSS and Google
When I research content, I’ll spend about an hour each time I sit down. I’ll look through my normal avenues (RSS reader and Google Plus) and see what jumps out at me and then read and share appropriately.
I subscribe to several blogs through their RSS feed so I can go into my RSS reader and skim what is out there. I also use Google Plus to find great articles. There is a lot of great content shared on Google Plus. Those are my two go-tos. Occasionally I’ll use Pinterest.
Lisa Peyton – Klout and Flipboard
I don’t really SEARCH for engaging content. Almost all of the content I find is pushed to me via one tool or another. I get several GREAT newsletters directly to my in-box and I quickly scan several Twitter lists that area always filled with MORE articles than I can read.
There are a few helpful tools to find content. Klout has launched a new tool that helps users find and share relevant content. I LOVE Flipboard, as it will allow me to post an article on ALL of my social media channels at once. I also am finding Newsle helpful. This tool will email you news about people in your network and you can update your social channels directly from the email. LOVE that!
What are your favorite tools for discovering engaging content to share with followers? Share some in the comments below.