Social media marketers today almost unanimously agree on the significance of content curation. Brands and businesses have realized that continuously creating original content is challenging, in terms of both, the creative capacity it demands and the time it requires. Content curation, on the other hand, comes with several advantages, including its ability to help you establish thought leadership within a niche.

However, curating content for social sharing is only the means to an end – that is engagement. Irrespective of the amount of content you curate and share, your business will reap little benefit from all the effort unless your audience likes, re-shares or comments on your posts. And if you’ve been managing a few social media pages you probably know that engagement can sometimes be as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

What content drives engagement?

Understanding your audience is of paramount importance in social media marketing, as it is in any other marketing tactic. The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducted a study to understand why people share content online. The three-phase study identified five key motivating factors for sharing:

– To entertain, or share valuable information
– To define their personality
– To establish relationships
– To feel involved in the world around them (self-fulfillment)
– To spread awareness about brands/causes

Your audience will engage with you only if your content adds some value to them. Also, remember that your audience is more likely to share your content if it also adds value to those who they share it with. When curating content think from the readers’ point of view – what does the content do for them? By increasing engagement, you will not only increase traffic to your website but will also eventually attract more followers to your page.

4 Ingenious Ways to Curate Content

1. Use content discovery tools and news aggregators

Running manual searches for interesting content on a regular basis is an extremely time-consuming process. Content discovery tools help you save both time and effort in gathering relevant content for your social media pages. Here are three such tools you should try:

DrumUp is a smart content curation and social media management tool that used sophisticated Natural Language Processing and machine learning algorithms to discover fresh and relevant content for your social media pages. The tool also lets you edit posts for recommended content and schedule them for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can even add custom posts along with images to the queue of scheduled posts. It also lets you connect your blog feed to your social accounts.

Feedly is a powerful RSS reader that lets you follow specific sources, including your favorite web publications and blogs. While it does not offer any social media management features, you can still share stories through the tool on Facebook, Twitter, LikedIn, and Google+.Recently, Feedly also announced a new feature, which integrates the tool with Google Now to give you access to your preferred content sources at a place and time that is convenient to you.

Flipboard is an intelligent content aggregation tool that brings you content from a wide variety of sources, including what others share on social media. The tool is particularly popular for its pleasant GUI. Flipboard presents content in a magazine-format, making it extremely easy for you to browse through the recommendations. The recommendations are offered for all content formats including videos and podcasts.

2. Subscribe to industry-leading newsletters and RSS feeds of authoritative blogs

Newsletters and RSS feeds are a great source of trending content. Both forms of subscription will deliver content right to your inbox, saving you the hassle of having to rely on a search engine. Some tools also let you connect your favorite RSS feeds to directly to your Twitter account. While doing so will save you the trouble of having tweet out those blogs individually, it leaves no scope to make any changes within the Tweet itself.

3. Conduct surveys or interviews

Surveys and interviews are helpful in getting your audience involved in your content. It’s a good idea to base your surveys around topics that are already trending in your industry. This way, you’ll be sharing content on subjects in which there already is some amount of interest. As a result, your audience will be more receptive to the findings of your survey. When publishing interviews, ensure that your interviewee holds sufficient expertise in the topic of discussion. Having an expert or a group of experts for an interview will not only help ensure the quality of your content but will also render credibility to your efforts.

4. Get influencers involved

Influencer marketing has gained much traction in recent times, and with good reason. Influencers on social media can deliver the same results as word-of-mouth marketing, but at a much, much larger scale. To identify influencers in your niche consider the 3 Rs – Reach, Relevance, and Resonance. The influencers you choose to reach out to must have a large following, and be interested in your industry/product/service, with a history of discussing topics relevant to your audience in particular

Things to Keep in Mind When Curating Content

1. Share content that’s relevant to your audience and your brand

Before you set a page and begin sharing content on social media carry out an exercise to identify your audiences’ interests and understand how that ties in with your business’ offerings. This will help you understand the scope of content you can cover. For example, say you offer social media marketing services for small and medium enterprises. There’s no point sharing social media case studies of multi-national brands with your audience because they wouldn’t have the budget or the manpower to carry out such large-scale campaigns. In essence, such content carries no value for your audience.

2. Create a schedule, and make sure you stick to it

Consistency is another important element of social media marketing. With the amount of noise across social platforms, businesses often find it difficult to catch the attention of their followers, an erratic sharing schedule will only amplify this problem. Scheduling your posts in advance with the help of social media scheduling tools will ensure that your social accounts continue to buzz with engaging content even when you need to be away. When scheduling posts in advance just remember to optimize your time of posting.

3. Use content to trigger conversations

Content curation lets you use existing material that aligns with your objective and add your insights to make it more meaningful for your audience. Alternatively, you could also share a piece of content that says something you disagree with, telling your audience why you think differently. In both cases, curated content serves as a great conversation starter. To keep the conversation going, remember to reply to all comments on your posts.

Wrapping up

Content curation can prove to be a powerful tactic in driving social media engagement. It is beyond aggregation in the sense that you must make the content your own by adding your comments on it. Curating content well in advance and scheduling them out on social media will streamline your content marketing and social media marketing efforts, while also letting you focus more on other core business activities.

This post was originally published on the DrumUp Blog.