Something I learned during a recent social media presentation hit me like a ton of “likes” – a good social media practitioner “curates” as much as he or she “creates.”
In fact, the presenter recommended that your social media content be split 50-50 – with half of the material being blogs, videos, photos and other content you create, and half being relevant information you find and share.
While seemingly shifting tens of thousands of words of content off one’s shoulders, this approach requires significant effort plugging in to the broader social media community. To effectively curate, you’ve got to seek out what’s being said online about your company, your industry, your customers and so on – and relay or react to that info on your own social media platforms.
Easier said than done, right?
Well, several pay-for solutions will monitor the various social media platforms and report back to you on just about everything posted about your company, your brand, your competitors, your industry or whatever other keywords you tell it to track.
If you don’t have a budget for that, it isn’t too difficult to set up your own monitoring system via some of the free resources available.
For starters, you should already use Google search alerts to keep apprised of what’s being said about your company and industry. It typically catches news items more than anything else – you’ll need other tools to track blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Most of the social media have search functions and other tools to aid your monitoring efforts. In Twitter, you can search things like your company name or industry to see relevant “tweets.” You can also plug in certain keywords and choose to “follow” relevant Twitter accounts.
In LinkedIn, you can join groups relevant to your organization and industry, and you can use its search function to check and see what’s being said about either. Facebook allows you to create a Facebook Interest List that gives you a feed of posts from pages you care about, and you can also a “Pages to Watch” (the option appears in your Facebook admin panel) list to monitor growth of pages that interest you (e.g., a competitor’s).
Tools designed just to monitor social media include Hootsuite and SocialMention, free platforms (Hootsuite also has pay-for premium options) that aggregate information and data from various social sources. Topsy is similar, although it focuses on blogs and multimedia. Icerocket and Technorati are two other monitoring options that specialize in blogs.
Once you set up these monitoring tools, check your results daily then pick and choose blogs, tweets and posts worth sharing or linking. You might share something because it’s useful to your audience. You might share something as a means to comment with an opposing view. You occasionally can share something that’s just interesting or entertaining or positively reinforces the culture of your organization. And, you should look for opportunities to comment directly on relevant third party social media conversations to expand your reach (assuming you are approved by your organization to represent them on these forums).
Make a habit to listen, interact and respond to any follow-up from your curation efforts. Put a little time into it and your content won’t be the only thing that grows. You can accomplish a lot with social media, from garnering leads, to improving your website’s SEO (search engine optimization), to engaging and building relationships with customers and prospects. You are much more apt to be successful in these endeavors – and establishing your company as a thought leader – if your content isn’t just what you create.
Including third-party content suggests your finger is on the pulse, you are knowledgeable about the industry and you will go out of your way to find information that you think is helpful to your audience.
Those are a few of our gleanings on the topic of being a social media curator as well as creator. If you have any tips on the topic, tools to suggest or other feedback on the subject, please share it below in the Comments section.