Curated vs Created content

Help I’ve run out of ideas for content for my Facebook and Twitter pages!

For many small businesses Facebook and Twitter are viewed as ‘free’ marketing – but are they really? But the digital world and social media feeds are greedy monsters! They seem to demand fresh, new content constantly – which takes time (a lot of time!) for small business owners.

We are told time and again that ‘content is king’, but, where do you ‘get’ this content from? Conventional social media marketing etiquette suggests that company’s (brands) should avoid being overly ‘salesy’ or self-promotional. It’s a bit like meeting someone for the first time (at a networking event, date or dinner party) and ALL they talk about is themselves and how great they are! It’s just not the way to form relationships or to get to know people – and it feels awkward.

Instead, companies are seeing to become ‘part of the conversation’ and to build rapport and a relationship with their followers but sharing links that are relevant and interesting, but are often not specifically about their products and services. Finding relevant, good content and sharing it is known as ‘content curation’.

Coupled with creating content that people find valuable and interesting enough to share with the world (the pinnacle of this is it ‘trends’ on Twitter or ‘goes viral’ on Facebook), the combination of curated and created content is the way to go!

But how do you know which is the optimal proportion of each?

The answer is: it depends! Some questions to ask yourself:

1. What sort of business do you have? Is it low entry price, high demand/use?
2. Who is your target market? Are you targeting other businesses, end users, older people, millennials?
3. Are they looking for in-depth information or for interesting snippets?
4. What you want them to do as a result of engaging with you?

There are a broad range of strategies employed but it appears that more companies are tending towards content curation and linking to other’s content more frequently than they link to their own website.

Which Works Best, Curation or Creation?

The real question, though, is what should companies be doing? What is the optimal content strategy, creating or curating?

From what I have read, when looking at clicks, curation dominates. Posts linking to third-party sites generally generate more clicks than posts linking to owned sites. This makes sense — the very best content on the Internet is not going to solely exist on your website!

However, if you’re looking to drive conversions (turn visitors into buyers), content creation is the way to go. Posts that link to your website will have a higher click-to- conversion rate than posts that link to third-party websites. You need to drive people to your website and give them good content to read when they get there – and a reason to want to know more or to try you, they’re not going to convert.

But the choice shouldn’t really be between creation and curation — you should be doing both! The question is really what mix of those two strategies you should employ for maximum clicks and conversions?

Curators: Companies that link to third-party sites 75% or more of the time. Companies who focus very heavily on curation and rarely, if ever, link to their own content will probably generate a lot of clicks, but very few conversions.

Balanced: Companies that link to third-party sites 50-75% of the time.
Companies in this group employ a balanced strategy of content creation and content curation. Their clicks per post are more likely to be lower than Curators, but they generate significantly more conversions.

Self-Promoters: Companies that link to their own content 50% or more of the time. Companies in this group link to their own content a majority of the time. This can reduce their clicks per post, and this reduction isn’t likely to be offset by an increased conversion rate.

Optimal?

From what I have read, the optimal balance for most companies is to link to your own content between 25- 50% of the time, with 40% being the ideal mark.

But beware the law of averages! Just because these numbers are true of overall does not mean that they are the best numbers for you.

If you’re new to social media marketing, a 40% content creation rate is a good place to start. But make sure you measure your own efforts, compare month on month, quarter on quarter and vs last year and find out what works for your company and then adapt your strategy to maximise the return for your business.

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