Editor’s Note: We’ve been anticipating more discussion on cutting through the noise on social media to valuable information and connections – which of course is how we develop rapport, building new and strengthening existing relationships. After all, that is why we think social media is useful in business – to stay connected in a richer way in addition to the analog business we manage offline. Jay serves as an excellent example of smart use of social media. He is often heard saying that using social is about building up digital equity with others. As he elaborates on this concept here – you will see it is about sharing content thoughtfully, be it your own or others, to build up that equity, which leads to becoming a trusted source of information for others.
I don’t know about you, but some days it feels like I’m swimming in a sea of information. Other days, it feels more like I’m drowning.
There’s more information out there than any of us can process and this presents both a problem and an opportunity for business and marketing communicators.
The problem is that information overload can cause people to tune out. Sure, you’re probably thinking (and I wouldn’t disagree) that there’s lots of noise we ought to be tuning out – especially in the financial space.
Yet, we’d all agree that knowing where to go for the best information is critical. Knowledge is power.
Therein lies the opportunity presented by too much information – finding and sharing the best content. In a word, curation.
What is content curation?
Effective content curation involves three key activities:
- finding high quality content in your area of knowledge;
- contextualizing that content to add value for your target audience; and
- distributing and sharing that content within your social networks.
Here are some compelling reasons why and how content curation should be part of your business and personal communication strategy:
1. Content curation demonstrates your expertise
In many areas of financial services, technical knowledge – of products, markets, taxes and the unique needs of specific client profiles – is an important factor in your success. By identifying and sharing the most insightful and high quality information and distinguishing it from the noise that surrounds any topic, you demonstrate your authority and credibility – regardless of whether you create the content or not.
Tips for doing it: Follow thought leaders in your industry. Monitor key websites and blogs and track new information by keywords using Google Alerts. Find other curators who you respect and pay attention to what they’re sharing. You can find some lists of influencers in financial services, wealth management and banking at https://twitter.com/jaypalter/lists.
2. Content curation creates value
A fundamental concept in any business is the creation of value from raw material and inputs. Think of the vast amounts of digital information being created every day in the form of articles, videos, reports, graphics, etc. Curating a high-quality content stream out of this sea of new information published every day is pure value creation. By helping people cut through the information clutter, you increase your value proposition.
Tips for doing it: Add value to the information you curate by contextualizing, adding commentary and/or expanding its application. Look for content that can offer practical insights to key issues or pain points in your industry.
3. Content curation is an act of giving that will be reciprocated
The concept of reciprocity is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. When you give something of value, you create an incentive for the receiver to reciprocate. Curation is a way to give your followers access to your knowledge and add value. In return, they will have an incentive to share your content with their network, effectively building your social capital.
Tips for doing it: Be consistent and focus on a handful of topics in which you already have expertise. Pay close attention to what your followers like, retweet and share – then give them more of it. Focus on giving quality, not just quantity.
4. Use content curation to reveal your personality
People do business with people they know, like and trust. Curation affords you and your business an opportunity to show a bit of your personality – not only what you know, but also what you love, what you care about and what makes you tick. After a while, sharing all business content all the time can get boring to your followers. Give your followers something that inspires or makes them smile. Give them an emotional reason to do business with you – because they like you.
Tips for doing it: Don’t be afraid to mix into your curation some great content about a sport or recreational activity you love, or a charity or community cause you support. In most situations, it’s prudent to avoid politics and religion, though there can be exceptions. And always try to be positive and respectful, even when being critical.
5. Content curation helps you to stay top of mind
Attention may be the scarcest commodity in the information age. Interrupting what people are doing in order to get their attention (also known as advertising) is becoming much less effective than giving people what they are truly interested in. When you curate great content consistently, and you focus on delivering information that people want and need, you get more attention and stay top of mind.
Tips for doing it: Invest time and resources in finding content to share at least daily or several times per day. Learn how to use your existing web browsing time to find content worth sharing. When followers respond to your shared content, don’t miss the opportunity to engage and respond meaningfully. Think of curation as a micro-marketing tactic you need to do frequently.
6. Content curation drives network engagement
Content is the coin of the realm on social networks. Sharing great content online is an inherently social act that creates opportunities for engagement with clients, customers, prospects and leads. Seize those opportunities.
Tips for doing it: Respond to Twitter mentions and retweets and reciprocate as much as possible. Initiate engagement by commenting on articles that your colleagues and peers are sharing on LinkedIn. And seek out opportunities to share influencers’ content because influencers reciprocate too.
By incorporating these basic content sharing habits into your day-to-day business life, you can more clearly define and reinforce your corporate and/or personal brand in the minds of you customers and prospects.