With growing competition, the best way for your brand to stand out on social media is through engagement. And for that, you need content. In fact, according to the Sprout Social Index™, 39% of consumers believe that memorable content makes a brand’s social best in class. And creativity is the top reason why a brand’s social presence stands out.

With online conversations and trends moving quickly, it can be challenging to stay up to date with trends or posting original content frequently enough to stay visible in followers’ feeds.

That’s where content curation comes in. It helps you keep your feed fresh and engaging without stressing to create new content every time.

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

What is content curation?

Content curation is the process of finding content that your audience would love from multiple sources and strategically sharing it through a variety of channels. So rather than creating only original content, you’ll share and credit others’ content as well.

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

But curating content for social media is a bit more straightforward. Find the content you want to share (think: social mentions) and add it to your social media calendar. So you may Retweet posts from influential industry names in the industry or you could even share user-generated photos on your Instagram Stories, with permission of the original content creator.

For SEMrush, its social media curation strategy involves sharing insightful and relevant blog posts from reputable names in the industry. Here’s an example of a Tweet in which the company shares a Crazy Egg blog post:

Why curate content?

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

  • Enhance your brand-customer relationship – Social media content curation gives you the opportunity to share user-generated content (UGC). This allows you to put your customers in the spotlight and enhance your relationship with them. According to the Sprout Social Index™ XVI: Above and Beyond, 41% of marketers plan on using more UGC in 2021.
  • Highlight your products in context – Through content curation, you can use UGC to highlight how your products look or perform in the real world. This puts your products in context and helps reduce buyer anxiety.
  • Build value and trust with your audience – When you curate content for social media, you typically want to focus on content that adds the most value to your audience. This not only helps you build brand value with your audience, it also helps you win their trust as they see that you’re putting their needs first.
  • Add variety to standard marketing content – Curated content on social media also helps to add some variety to your standard marketing content. So you can keep your feed fresh and varied to engage your audience.
  • Build relationships with influencers – When you curate social media content, you might even share content from influential names in the industry. When you reach out to work with them on sharing their content, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationship with these influencers.

How to curate content based on data

While content curation solves a lot of problems, it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main challenges is in finding content that would resonate with your target audience. And the best way to solve this is by looking at the data.

Sixty percent of social marketers use social data to quantify the value of social media engagement in terms of potential revenue impact and 57% are tracking conversions and sales directly resulting from social efforts.

Similarly, you need to use data to understand your audience, 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 uncover valuable data that could inform your content strategy:

1. Sprout Social

Sprout’s own social media publishing solution comes with robust content curation features to find relevant and engaging posts to share with your social media audience.

The Find Content tool crawls through social media platforms to discover the most shared content across major social networks. It then uses a matching algorithm to assign the article to the most relevant category so you can find highly-relevant, highly-shared content to share on social media.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Find Content tool

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

Similarly, under the Feeds tab in Sprout, you can search your Twitter Feed and Instagram Hashtags you’re tracking for content as well. It should be emphasized that each social network has their own guidelines for social sharing and content curation, so be sure you check these before you repost.

2. BuzzSumo

You can also use dedicated content curation tools such as BuzzSumo to search for highly relevant and popular content for your feed. This platform allows you to search for popular content on a particular topic or keyword. Or if you want to share content from a specific website, you can also search for the top-performing content within that domain.

Screenshot of an active feed of the BuzzSumo platform

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

3. Feedly

Feedly is another excellent option for data-fueled content curation. It uses AI content curation software to filter top-performing content based on the topics and trends that matter to you. This gives you a personalized feed prioritizing the most reliable and relevant sources.

It doesn’t just analyze data but identifies the most insightful pieces of content. This makes it easier to narrow down on the most relevant content that would resonate with your target audience.

Screenshot of Feedly's feed of business articles

Steps to curate content for social media

Now that you have the right tools for content curation, follow the steps below to start the process:

Step 1. Decide how frequently to curate

Curating content for social media is a great way to share fresh content with your followers. But before you start sharing and reposting content, find out the ideal ratio of original and curated content for your social media. This will probably vary by network. For instance, Twitter might call for more content curation than Facebook.

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

  • 65% originally created content
  • 25% curated content
  • 10% syndicated content

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

Step 2. Look at your social media metrics

Which of your content is getting the most engagement? Looking at your social media metrics can help you determine which type of content resonates with your audience. Is your audience reacting more strongly to video over photos? Or did a specific campaign’s imagery have the biggest impact? Depending on your social media goals, your impressions and engagement data will help guide the content you share.

Sprout’s Engagement Report and Post Performance Reports can provide the insights that you need to determine how much of your social media content should be curated content.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Cross Channel Post Performance Reports


Step 3. Find relevant content

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

We highlighted this earlier, but curated images of your product or brand in context is always a good way to use UGC.

A good place to start searching for relevant content is through social mentions and relevant hashtags. You’ll find that your brand is mentioned by many people, and your options for UGC content are endless. Just be sure what you wish to reshare is aligned with your brand’s voice.

On that same note, testimonials and reviews, such as Tweets, are great to share across your social media profiles too.

Especially when it comes to original art and photography, reach out to those individuals 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 publish the content you’ve curated. Make sure to personalize each post with your brand take on the topic and in your brand voice. And be strategic when you fit these posts into your brand’s existing publishing calendar. Sprinkle them in with your marketing content for variety in your feed.

Once you start publishing your curated social media content, be sure to analyze its performance. See what’s working and what isn’t so you can fine-tune your content curation efforts.

Get to curating

You’re all set to start curating content for social media to build better relationships and boost engagements. Make the most of the tips and tools given above to fuel your content curation efforts. Through thoughtful data metrics and understanding your audience, you can include curated content alongside your original work as well. To learn more about customer behavior and social marketers’ strategies, download your copy of The Sprout Social Index™.