Social content curation is a trend made with Tumblr and YouTube and has increased due to social curation sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. The main issues marketers face in content strategy is the resources for creating unique, engaging content for their communities. In today’s world, marketers can now reach out to their most passionate fans, their community, to curate relevant, interesting content.
YouTube is an early pioneer of social content curation; brands have been using the hashtag campaign to create marketing campaigns on YouTube, encouraging its community to create and upload video responses to a brand campaign. One of the best ones that I have seen comes from down under; the Australian government posted a “best job in the world” video [check out the video below] seeking a caretaker of islands in the Great Barrier Reef. Applicants had to post a video response as to why they were the best man/woman for the job. With over 34,000 video response applications from 201 countries, user-generated content capped at 610 hours. Other brands and personalities have modeled this marketing tactic (remember P. Diddy’s Assistant campaign?) to much success. Just imagine what the Australian government could do with 600+ hours of user-generated video content.
Tumblr, another pioneer in social content curation, allows users to curate content by simply re-blogging a blog post. This was one of the first steps in the social media world to social content curation; Tumblr now has over 44 million blogs and saw 218% growth from June 2010 – June 2011 [see infographic below]. This spurred a new generation of social content curation, with newbies such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Pinterest has been the frontrunner in this social content curation trend. Launching a site where users can create virtual pinboards of interesting stuff (from things that are the color red to favorite authors to dessert recipes) has opened up a new world of possibilities for marketers and brands.
International accessories e-bazaar Cuyana created a marketing campaign to inspire its fans to create content on a platform that fit perfectly with its brand. Using collaborative boards to build an inspiration list for Cuyana’s next accessories line, Cuyana reached out to its passionate consumers who were already on Pinterest to pin to the India Inspiration Board. Using the breadth of its consumer base, Cuyana was able to curate a photographic list of Indian-inspired accessories with limited internal resources. The board in turn helps Cuyana develop its next line and gives its consumers the feeling of contribution to a favorite brand’s products.
Whole Foods has created a sea of community boards to appeal to its equally diverse consumer base. With topics ranging from “Who wants dinner?!“, “Delicious Art“, and “The Fabulousness of Fall“, Whole Foods gives its community the opportunity to express its passion in almost any niche. This multi-contributor method has resulted in very active boards, giving Whole Foods insight into its community’s likes, which can then further influence marketing campaigns, featured products, and more within Whole Foods’ stores.
Among the various cool campaigns Instagram does with its community, Weekend Hashtag Project is by far my favorite. Every weekend, Instagram asks its community to share photos of a designated theme and hashtag (some examples: #vanishingpoint, #portraitsoflove, #landmarked) and every Monday, the Instagram has a curated list of images to create its weekly blog post on the Weekend Hashtag Project. This content curation model can easily be mimicked by any brand on Pinterest to engage its community and develop a relationship with its customers. Using hashtags also allows the content to be used outside of the app, which promotes further distribution of the same content. Hashtags on Instagram are less than two years old (released in an iPhone update in January 2011) but the social media, brand, and content possibilities are endless.
Social media allows brands and marketers to develop engaging content without exhausting typically limited resources. A social media marketer’s job becomes more about discovery and selection, helping to focus the brand’s voice to ultimately provide the best and most relevant content to its community. Measuring effectiveness in the form of feedback loops, call to actions, and increases in an influence metric will bring social content curation full circle. Brands who regularly schedule content (i.e. one blog post a week, and curating three links a day on three different platforms) will be able to best measure the success of its efforts. Consistency is key; your community will begin to trust and depend upon your content and provide feedback, which in turn allows the brand to re-engage and deepen the customer relationship.