With increasing competition, the best way for your brand to stand out on social media is through engagement. And for that you need content. According to the Sprout Social Index ™, 40% of consumers believe that memorable content makes a brand’s social environment best in class. And creativity is the main reason a brand’s social presence gets noticed.

With online conversations and trends moving quickly, it can be difficult to keep up with trends or post original content often enough to stay visible in followers’ feeds.

This is where content curation comes in. It helps you keep your feed fresh and engaging without having to create new content every time.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use data to curate social media content and share posts that will resonate with your audience.

What is content curation?

Content curation finds content from multiple sources that your audience would love and strategically shares it across different channels. Instead of just creating original content, you’ll be sharing and crediting others’ content as well.

An example of curating content would be collecting multiple blog posts about social media marketing and using them in a roundup post or newsletter for your readers.

Curating content for social media is a little easier, however. Find the content you want to share (think social mentions) and add it to your social media calendar. So, you can retweet posts from influential industry names in the industry, or even share user-generated photos on your Instagram stories, with the permission of the original content creator.

For SEMrush, the social media curation strategy is to share insightful and relevant blog posts from reputable names in the industry. Here is an example of a tweet where the company posted a Crazy Egg blog post:

Why curate content?

Here are a few reasons why content curation makes sense for your overall marketing endeavors:

  • Improve your brand-customer relationship – Social media content curation gives you the ability to share User Generated Content (UGC). This way you can put your customers in the spotlight and improve your relationship with them. According to the Sprout Social Index ™ XVI: Additionally, 41% of marketers plan to use more UGC in 2021.
  • Mark your products in context – By curating content, you can use UGC to highlight how your products look or work in the real world. This puts your products in context and helps reduce buyer anxiety.
  • Build value and trust your audience – When curating content for social media, you usually want to focus on content that will add the most value to your audience. Not only does this help you build brand equity with your audience, but it also helps them gain trust when they see your needs come first.
  • Adding variety to standard marketing content – Curated content on social media also helps add variety to your standard marketing content. This is a great way to keep your feed fresh and varied to appeal to your audience.
  • Build relationships with influencers – By curating social media content, you can even share content from influential names in the industry. Working with them to share their content can strengthen your relationship with these influencers.

How to curate content based on data

While content curation solves many problems, it brings its own challenges. One of the biggest challenges is finding content that speaks to your target audience. And the best way to solve this is by looking at the data.

56 percent of social marketers use social data to better understand their target audience. And 49% already use it to inform their creative content.

Likewise, you need to use data to help your audience understand what they like and what resonates with them. This can then inform your social media content curation efforts. The following content curation tools can help you identify valuable data that could influence your content strategy:

1. Sprout Social

Sprout’s own social media publishing solution has robust content curation features that can be used to find relevant and engaging posts to share with your social media audience.

The content finder tool searches social media platforms to find the most shared content on major social networks. It then uses a matching algorithm to rank the item in the most relevant category so you can find highly relevant, shared content to share on social media.

You can submit these articles to Compose in Sprout and schedule them for publication. Or you can use these as inspiration for your original content and as a backlink to the source.

Likewise, you can use the Feeds tab in Sprout to search your Twitter feed and the Instagram hashtags you are following for content. It should be emphasized that each social network has its own guidelines for social network sharing and content curation. So be sure to check them out before you publish them again.

2. BuzzSumo

You can also use dedicated content curation tools like BuzzSumo to find highly relevant and popular content for your feed. This platform allows you to search for popular content on a specific topic or keyword. If you want to share content from a specific website, you can also search for top performing content on that domain.

Screenshot of an active feed from the BuzzSumo platform

This is a great way to find trending topics and content that your audience will love. You can either share the content directly or use it as inspiration for your social media content strategy.

3. Feedly

Feedly is another great option for data-driven content curation. It uses AI content curation software to filter the best performing content based on the topics and trends that matter to you. That way, you get a personalized feed that prioritizes the most reliable and relevant sources.

Not only does it analyze data, it also identifies the most revealing content. This makes it easier to narrow down the most relevant content that would resonate with your target audience.

Screenshot of Feedly's feed of business items

Steps to curate content for social media

Now that you have the right content curation tools, follow these steps to get started:

Step 1. Decide how often to curate

Curating content for social media is a great way to share new content with your followers. Before you start sharing and republishing content, however, it is a good idea to find the ideal ratio of original content and curated content for your social media. This will likely vary depending on the network. For example, Twitter might require more content curation than Facebook.

According to a Curata study, the ideal content marketing mix is:

  • 65% of the original content created
  • 25% curated content
  • 10% syndicated content

Again, it may be wise to experiment with different ratios to see what works best for you.

Step 2. Take a look at your social media metrics

Which of your content is getting the most engagement? By looking at your social media metrics, you can see what type of content is resonating with your audience. Is your audience more responsive to video over photos? Or did the images from a particular campaign have the greatest influence? Depending on your social media goals, your impressions and engagement data will help guide the content you share.

The Sprout Engagement Report and Post Performance Reports provide the insight you need to determine how much of your social media content to curate.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's cross-channel post performance reports

Step 3. Find relevant content

Next, find content relevant to your industry or brand. This will help you take an organized approach when looking for content to curate.

We’ve highlighted this earlier, but curated images of your product or brand in context are always a great way to use UGC.

A good place to find relevant content is with social mentions and relevant hashtags. You will find that your brand is mentioned by a lot of people and your options for UGC content are endless. Just make sure what you want to share again matches your brand’s voice.

With that in mind, testimonials and reviews like tweets are also great for your social media profiles.

When it comes to original art and photography, reach out to these people and ask for permission to report on your profile as good practice and in good faith.

Step 4. Publish and analyze

Finally, it’s time to start publishing the content you’ve curated. Make sure to personalize each post with your brand. Record the topic and your brand voice. And be strategic in adding these posts to your brand’s existing release calendar. Sprinkle them with your marketing content to add variety to your feed.

Analyze the performance of your curated social media content as soon as you start publishing. See what works and what doesn’t so you can streamline your content curation efforts.

Get into curating

You’re ready to curate social media content to build better relationships and drive engagements. Use the tips and tools listed above to fuel your content curation efforts. Well-designed data metrics and an understanding of your target audience will allow you to include curated content alongside your original work. Download your copy of the Sprout Social Index ™ to learn more about customer behavior and social marketers’ strategies.