Social media content curation will boost your audience, save money and create networking opportunities. Here's how to curate the right way.

Curated content on social media isn’t new. Many businesses do it. But how much thought do we put into it?

“That’s an interesting article.” Click share. Done.

When done right, content curation can significantly build your social channels and save money by not having to produce nonstop original content. But you need a strategy for it to be effective.

We’ll cover everything you need to create a winning growth strategy for curated social media content, including how to share content legally, “best practices” etiquette for sharing content and examples from some of the world’s top companies.

Social Media Content Curation: Why Do It?

Content curation means you’re sharing content from other people or companies instead of your own 100% original, made-this-in-Canva-at-2 a.m. content.

Obviously, you still need to produce your own content (ideally not at 2 a.m.). Keep in mind curation isn’t the only strategy you should use. It works best when paired with valuable, original content at a minimum ratio of 80% curated, 20% your own stuff.

But curated content can make your time and marketing dollars go further. Here’s how:

1. It’s High Quality and You Don’t Have to Make It

Need I say more? Creating your own content is incredibly time-consuming and, often, unnecessary. Why slave over an infographic for hours when someone else already has made one for the exact same topic or data?

You can share the work of others and get the same effect: delivering useful content to your audience, which brings us to…

2. It’s Valuable to Your Audience

Value is value: It doesn’t matter who made it first. Sure, you don’t want to be sharing your competitors’ posts about how great their food delivery app is when you have your own food delivery app.

But maybe a publication such as TechCrunch published an article ranking the best food delivery apps in your state, and you’re on it. Share it! Being mentioned by a well-known publication builds credibility with your audience.

3. It Provides Networking Opportunities

When you share someone else’s content, it’s crucial to mention or link back to them (more on this later). That person or company will see your mention and may check out your profile, leave a comment to thank you for sharing or even reshare it on their social media feed.

That can create strategic, valuable connections within your industry. Maybe you connect with a company that provides complementary services to yours. You could then discuss partnering up on a new venture or campaign. Sharing content is an easy way to open doors to future possibilities.

4. It Can Result in Backlinks or Other Exposure You Wouldn’t Otherwise Get

Even if all you get out of it is a reshare on social media, that can expose you to that company’s entire follower base — for free. If it’s the right audience, that can be incredibly valuable exposure.

When it comes to curation, the saying is true, “There’s no such thing as bad press.” Besides, quality backlinks can help your search-engine ranking. 

Dos and Don’ts of Content Curation

Most of these may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You don’t want to jeopardize your company’s reputation by improperly sharing content or being accused of plagiarism.

Here’s what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to social media content curation:

Do:

  1. Give credit to the content’s source.
  2. Link back to the original creator’s social media network or website (wherever you got the content from).
  3. Consider asking permission to share it first, although this isn’t necessary for the vast majority of cases.
  4. Add something to it. Don’t hit the share button and be done. Add your own opinion as a comment before sharing, ask your audience what they think or even make a joke. Add something useful before hitting “share.”
  5. Consider changing the format. If the original is an article, turn it into an infographic or a quiz. Again, it’s about adding value and putting your own spin on it.

Don’t:

  1. Share content without credit.
  2. Imply you created the content, even indirectly, or credit someone in really small print.
  3. Share anything with an explicit copyright notice, typically found with works of art or other material such as trademarked movie characters, etc.

Types of Social Media Content to Curate

What you curate will depend on your market, company, audience and what social channels you’re active on, but use this list as inspiration to get started creating your own curation strategy.

Video

Video content is perfect for curation because of its demand. In 2018, the average person spent 67 minutes a day watching videos online, according to a report by Zenith. In 2021, Zenith predicts that will rise to 100 or more minutes a day.

It isn’t just teens on TikTok or consumers watching home decor vlogs on YouTube. Video is big for business-to-businesses (B2B) companies, too. The most common form is a webinar, with 56% of B2B companies having hosted at least one webinar, according to a 2018 study by Demand Metric. Social media videos also are popular, with slightly more than half of all B2B companies investing in them.

Of course, you don’t want to share a competitor’s webinar and outright promote their product. But you can share content from people using your product. This works especially well for certain markets, such as website platforms (think Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, etc.).

For example, if you’re Squarespace and one of your users creates a video showing how to make a website using your product, share it.

For example, if you’re Squarespace and one of your users creates a video showing how to make a website using your product, share it.

You can shout from the rooftops how great your product is, but it’s a lot more believable to others when it comes from a third party. About 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends, according to BrightLocal.

Podcast

Another fast-growing media segment, podcasts are perfect to share on your social channels. This is especially great for networking with others in your industry. If you share their podcast episode and tag them, chances are they could at least say, “Thank you!” or perhaps even reshare your share, to continue promoting their own podcast.

It’s also powerful to share a podcast episode that your company or product was mentioned in, no matter how small the mention. This is a form of social proof: Other people talking positively about you makes a prospect more likely to trust you and buy from you.

Podcasts are perfect to share on your social channels.

Social Media Channel-Specific Content

What I mean by this is content that can only live on a particular social network. For example, an Instagram Story. You can’t take someone else’s Instagram Story and share it on your own profile, or other social networks.

Besides that, some content only makes sense on its own network.

Take Pinterest, for example. The large vertical format images look great on the network but don’t work with the image dimensions or aspect ratio of other social channels.

Take Pinterest, for example. The large vertical format images look great on the network but don't work with the image dimensions or aspect ratio of other social channels.

Articles

This is an easy one. You can share an article practically anywhere. And, find something relevant to your market practically anywhere, too.

Long-form content such as articles and blog posts make the most sense on platforms such as LinkedIn, Medium or even as links on Twitter or Facebook. These are typically networks where people will seek out longer forms of content than, say, a 15-second Snapchat video.

Long-form content like articles and blog posts make the most sense on platforms such as Medium.

Of course, at the core of it, an article needs to be relevant to your audience’s interests and your company. If you make an app design platform, you could share articles about the latest phone releases, emerging technology and the top apps created with your platform. Those are all things your audience of programmers would most likely be interested in.

Research

This only may be applicable to certain types of companies, but sharing statistics or the latest research in your industry can be a great resource to curate.

We marketers love numbers. Any time there’s a new study out about consumer behavior or the latest tech, you can bet it’s all over the internet.

Take this study from HubSpot about the most popular content types for businesses in 2019-2020. It would be a great piece to share on social media for digital marketing agencies.

Take this study from HubSpot about the most popular content types for businesses in 2019-2020. It would be a great piece to share on social media for digital marketing agencies.

There is probably something comparable in your industry, too. Statista is a great resource to find market research you can share on social media or incorporate into white papers, case studies or other content.

For example, you can search for your industry, such as “home automation,” and see all the studies and data related to that. You can also target it by country to be more relevant to your market.

For example, you can search for your industry, such as "home automation," and see all the studies and data related to that.

As a bare minimum, you can share a link directly to a study of theirs but a smarter way to incorporate this information is to create your own branded infographics or data visualizations.

It could be as simple as replicating the bar graph from Statista in an image editing app such as Canva, sizing it for the social network you want to share it on and adding your logo to it.

It could be as simple as replicating the bar graph from Statista in an image editing app such as Canva.

Events

Sharing events in your industry is another thing you can curate. This could be upcoming conferences (in person or virtual), seminars, webinars, casual meetups, fundraisers or charity events, or anything else that would be of interest to your local community or user base.

In the tech industry in Vancouver, Canada, for example, TechPong is an annual fundraising event that brings together teams from the city’s top technology companies to play ping pong and raise funds for charity.

In the tech industry in Vancouver, Canada, for example, TechPong is an annual fundraising event that brings together teams from the city's top technology companies to play ping pong and raise funds for charity.

There are a few ways to curate content about or from an event like this:

  1. Share information about the event before it happens on your social media, especially if your company is participating.
  2. If it’s a charitable cause like TechPong, share why your company chose the charity it did and details about how to donate.
  3. Share other companies’ posts from the event, even if they’re competitors. It’s about the spirit of the event, not market share or egos.
  4. Praise other teams’ efforts or how much they were able to raise. A positive shoutout could lead to a lucrative networking opportunity.

User-Generated Content

Perhaps the most powerful curated content of all is what your customers create for you.

This can be widely seen across almost every industry. Fashion brands usually create a branded hashtag and when customers post a photo of themselves wearing the company’s items with that hashtag, the company can share that on their social media (with permission).

This works well in fashion for a “real-world perspective.” Everyone knows a paper bag would look amazing on a professional model, but seeing the dress you’ve been eyeing on an average human being like yourself can go a long way toward swaying you to buy it.

In B2B, this is a powerful asset as well.

Hootsuite held a contest asking users of their platform to post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #IWorkFromHere to show that users could manage client social media accounts from anywhere. They shared 1 photo each week on their Instagram account.

Hootsuite held a contest asking users of their platform to post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #IWorkFromHere to show that users could manage client social media accounts from anywhere.

B2B user-generated content isn’t limited to contests. You can also ask people to post:

  • Testimonials
  • Question and answer format: ask your users a question and share some of the responses (great for Twitter)
  • Case studies or portfolio pieces
  • Lifestyle images of people using your product or service in their business
  • Tips or hacks for working with your product

Social Media Content Curation Is a Valuable Asset

Incorporating content curation into your social media strategy is necessary for being able to churn out high-quality content on a near-daily basis. You can’t make everything from scratch.

And there’s no reason to with so much content out there already.

Granted, your customers don’t want to follow you for 100% curated content. They expect some originality from you. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every day.

When you’re posting curated content, remember to:

  • Always give credit.
  • Offer something new: Attach a comment or question for your audience, state your opinion on the topic or share a deeper insight.
  • Keep your profiles to a max of 80% curated content and 20% original.

Does the word curation make your skin crawl? Leave building your social media following to our expert marketing team members who can produce just the right mix of high-converting original content alongside a winning curation strategy.

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