Whether you offer products or services, the key to keeping your customers happy and growing your business is to know what they want. Thanks to social media, analytics, and data mining, that has never been easier.
By observing what content customers and potential customers consume, businesses can determine what products to carry and share only the type of content that will keep them coming back.
What Is Content Curation?
TJ McCue has already provided a comprehensive definition of content curation here. As he says, the social media savvy have been curating content for years. We find, review, and share only the best content. That is curation.
How to Find Interesting Content to Share
In Smarter Marketing for the Focused Business, Mike Bal explains how businesses can see this new need for information customers want and fill it. Take that one step further, and analyze the content your customers prefer and use that to expand your sales.
The first step is to find the best content related to your business. While you can do this manually, there are many tools that will aggregate the content for you and then let you curate it. Here is an infographic showing the content curation process:
Content Curation Solutions
While SmallBizTrends offers 50+ Tools for Content Curation, everything about content can be overwhelming due to the volume created and shared every day. Most social sites have a continuous stream of content—good and bad—on every topic all mixed together, resulting in too much noise.
FrontPageit delivers 100% relevant content by letting users choose experts to follow who share only the best content specific to your chosen topics. Instead of everything that person might share, your news feed contains only quality content on that specific subject.
The screenshot above shows Breaking News curated by Asher Gibbs using FrontPageIt. It is easy to save new topics or change which expert curators you follow. Users can add topics and nominate the experts.
What makes FrontPageIt different is that they manually select curators who manually add content. As their site says:
Algorithms can aggregate content, but only people can curate it.
Get Others to Share Your Content
60-80% of content your brand shares should come from curated sources. That leaves more time to focus on creating and promoting better content of your own.
Connect with others in your niche on social networks. When you share their content, tag them in your updates so they know you are promoting them. Once you get to know them, contact them one-on-one and talk about cross-promotion.
Upgrade Your Graphics
The better your imagery, the more pleasant your site is to stay on. It also increases visibility on social media, which grows your social following, generates more retweets and shares, and drives traffic to your site.
If you don’t have colorful, interesting images, experts won’t share your content or send traffic to your site. Where stock photos were once sufficient, today you need original graphics. New research, interesting current statistics, and interactive graphics generate far more buzz, sharing, and traffic.
If you don’t need a full time graphics person, you can find a freelancer or use one of the graphic design contest sites. A new site that offers all kinds of graphic design options including interactive graphics in a drop-down box is Designhill.
When asked what makes them different than other similar sites, their Co-Founder Rahul Aggarwal replied that they offered free 24×7 support. He explains why:
85-90 percent of clients are first time users of crowdsourcing sites and if they are not guided on how to get the best out of the service it won’t be fair to anyone – not the clients or the designers; hence we focus a lot on customer support!
Even experienced social media savvy bloggers often need assistance in navigating how to use a crowdsourcing graphic design site. Businesses should take advantage of personalized service whenever they can find it.
Do not think of these types of sites as only a place to run crowdsourced contests; they can be used to discover graphic arts talent you can work with consistently over time. Use them to create your own graphic arts department on an as-needed basis.
Focus on having a consistent brand image across all your graphic images both online and off. That includes putting a small logo on the images in your blog whenever feasible.
Also consider having highly creative, interactive infographics researched and designed on topics relevant to your target audience. Then push them all through social media for a vibrant, viral brand image.
Analyze Customer Interactions with Content You Share
Once you have a consistent content marketing strategy and a process for curating and sharing content you created and sourced, the next step is to analyze how your customers and potential customers interact with that content.
Sharing content is a lot easier than making sense of content analytics. They must be analyzed to obtain actionable insights. Compare what your visitors are doing to research showing how different generations consume content online.
Learn how to measure your content marketing success. Use your analysis to really get to know your customers. What they spend time viewing can reveal everything from their age to where they live and what matters to them.
Study this data to identify trends in your niche. Consider creating analytics dashboards to display the data visually for easier pattern recognition. Look for insights into expanding your products and offerings based on your customers’ interests.
To Know Your Customers: Ask Them
Not sure of the validity of your insights gleaned from analyzing your curated and created content? Use them to craft a customer survey. Sounds easy, right? But creating effective customer surveys is not always easy.
We’ve all taken a survey and been unable to decide what the questions were asking. Often, the answer we want to give isn’t one of the choices. Just as analytics is a specialty that requires training and experience, crafting the perfect customer survey might be best left to a customer survey company like NBRI.
The challenges don’t end with writing the questions. How are you going to analyze the responses? Companies who specialize in customer surveys have software solutions to analyze even write-in comments for sentiment. Their processes include benchmarking and trend analysis.
I mention that particular company because the founders are both Ph.D.s and they employ Ph.D. organizational psychologists. This is why:
Organizational psychologists are trained to design survey questions to elicit meaningful responses, and these professionals have the skills to interpret the results in a way that provides actionable insight.
This infographic indicates that “customers choose to buy from brands and companies whose social values align with their own.” What better way to determine what your customers social values are than to collect data on what content they consume?
Strategy for Curated Content
Content curation strategy that includes the ability to measure social media ROI, analyze the data to determine what your customers want, and then apply that to what you sell is a big task requiring a lot of specialized skills.
Consider hiring qualified people or at least finding a mentor. While you could try to do it all yourself, the time you spend learning how is time you can never get back and increased sales you will miss.
Have questions? Contact me via Skype (username growmap) or send me a regular tweet @GrowMap on Twitter and I’ll do my best to answer them. If you ask something too technical or outside my areas of expertise, I will have another of my collaborators get you an answer.