For years, social media has been the go-to strategy for solopreneurs looking to build their businesses. But social media is a marathon. You can’t tweet an offer and watch the dollars flow in. First, you have to put in the work building trust, authority, and goodwill. Sound expensive? That’s where content curation comes in.
Content marketing – the process of posting good, credible content relevant to your business – is a powerful way to build a presence. But creating content is expensive and time-consuming. It takes time and energy that many solopreneurs simply can’t spare.
The solution lies in content curation. Through sharing powerful, relevant content, we can establish authority and build a following without having to create unique content every time.
But not all curated content is created equally. These four deadly sins of content curation are holding your social media presence back. Learn to avoid them, and you can prevent the strategy from backfiring on you.
Failing to keep it relevant
Picture this: the owner of an ice cream shop in El Paso, Texas makes YouTube videos of all his failed flavor experiments. He shares these on Twitter, along with his shop’s daily specials. After some success, he can’t dream up any more video content.
He’s considering sharing a commercial for a landscaping service located a few doors down, a 15-minute stand-up routine on lactose intolerance, or a random video from the latest YouTube trend, in which teenagers bathe in several gallons of ice cream.
Which should he share?
Any of these could be relevant to the audience he’s trying to cultivate, but each could also alienate and confuse them. His best bet may be to share the landscaping service’s commercial because of its geographic proximity and to build goodwill with a fellow small business owner, but that doesn’t necessarily provide value.
He’s better off continuing the hunt.
Don’t grasp for straws when it comes to content curation for social media. If you can’t find something relevant, choose another way to keep your feed fresh, like a promotion or a behind-the-scenes update.
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Forgetting to sell your product
Social media will always be a marathon, but it’s easy (and dangerous) to forget why we set up social media presences in the first place: to sell.
Don’t get distracted by the latest tricks to build a social media following. At the end of the day, followers don’t keep the lights on – only paying customers do.
Do not forget to sell while you’re sharing other peoples’ content. Let’s say you’re a t-shirt designer who makes sarcastic t-shirts about the realities of dating. You don’t want to write an article this week, so instead, you share a funny video you found about single people trying products for single people.
(This may or may not have been a thing I did for my design brand, Anthrapologist.)
What do you gain out of it? Maybe a few followers, if you’re lucky.
Don’t forget to give your audience a way to support your business. If your t-shirts are better than the products mentioned in the video, make sure you include that in your update.
Not reading the article
A share is an endorsement of whatever you’re linking to. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve clicked through a re-tweet only to be met with a paywall, a broken link, or just total spam.
I know that reading is time consuming, but 90% of curation crises can be avoided by simply clicking through to the article. Skimming the headline is not enough.
Consider this fair warning against using automated services that will share any content that’s been hashtagged in your niche, by the way. Beyond being risky, it’s also lazy and lacks the most important part of social media: genuine interaction.
Only using well-known sources
The first exercise you did, before you even launched your business, was to find your unique selling proposition. It’s the first step in any good marketing plan. Over time, we lose sight of that.
Following the crowd is a recipe for boring your audience. Think about it: every time you write a blog post or create a video, you’re trying to make your content unique, engaging, shareable, and entertaining. With every social media update, you’re seeking to set your brand apart from the competition. Your content curation shouldn’t be any different.
If you’re selling social media marketing services, share content that’s been released by somebody other than Buffer, HootSuite, and Moz. Yes, these are excellent services with an excellent staff who release excellent information. But you’ll also be one of the 20,000 other marketers who shared the same article. Invest the time that it takes to find smaller, unknown sources that offer value.
(Sharing this post could be a great start, by the way. You’ve already read the article.)
Your audience will thank you – and chances are, you’ll help a budding writer keep the lights on for the rest of the month.
What other content curation mistakes are costing businesses opportunities to really grow on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below!