“The wise are who they are. They work with what they’ve got and do what they can do.” – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
I don’t do yoga. “Zen” sounds suspiciously like a calculus term to me. But then I found Benjamin Hoff’s lovely little work, The Tao of Pooh. Being a bit pudgy and sometimes a “Bear Person of Very Little Brain” myself, Eastern philosophy from Winnie the Pooh’s viewpoint is something I can get behind. And when Hoff gently introduced the idea of Wu Wei, “effortlessly doing”, it made me wonder: how could I apply this to my own work?
Now, Taoist principles might seem to be a mismatch for the fast-paced, often manic world of social media, but you’d be surprised at how well they apply. Why? Because meaningful success in social media means attaining just the right balance to add value to your brand, and making it look natural and effortless while doing so.
The right balance of what, you might ask? Well, how about original versus curated content? Content curation has long been recognized as a reliable tactic for building and engaging with social audiences. However, how do you harmonize curated content with your own content? Where’s the sweet spot?
Finding that effortless balance between your original and curated content takes some consideration. What purpose does social have in your communications plan? What are you looking to gain from it? Is it merely an avenue for announcing company news and product launches? Is it a thought leadership or brand awareness vehicle? Is it a customer support channel?
Knowing exactly what it is you’re seeking to achieve is the first step toward social media enlightenment. After that, you just need to follow the path to making your social goals a reality. Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe…or maybe not so much. Tuning your social media strategy so that it delivers the value you’re seeking can be challenging and requires a deft hand. So, to help you on your journey, here are a few thoughts on harmonizing your original content with your content curation strategy:
Seek Balance Above All Else
Author and entrepreneur Jana Kingsford notes that, “Balance is not something you find; it’s something you create.” And she’s correct. Striking the right ratio of created to curated content is something entirely under your control, and depends on your social media ambitions and expected outcomes.
Here at Interprose, we recommend clients follow the 70/30 rule: 70 percent of curated content should be balanced by 30 percent original content. It’s a proven strategy enabling us to build dynamic communities numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It works well by ensuring audiences have valuable, rewarding interactions with brands.
Created content showcases capabilities and expertise, and serves as a resource for followers. By opening the door to the sharing of important messages, it also elevates brand awareness. Curated content on the other hand, provides opportunities for commentary, dialogue, and thought leadership with media, key influencers, and industry stakeholders. But, effectively uniting these two elements – the ying and yang, so to speak – is where the magic truly happens.
By offering a more holistic, fulfilling experience, the 70/30 content curation strategy encourages audiences to not only keep coming back for more, but promotes viral sharing of social posts among their own networks.
One is the Loneliest Number
What if you tuned into your favorite radio station and suddenly found that it played the same song over and over and over? How long would you stay tuned in before you turned the dial? If you’re anything like me, you’d abandon that station pretty quickly. So, why should social audiences react any differently?
Many brands fall into the bad habit of viewing their social channels as simply another 24/7 outlet for product and brand messaging. Blatting away with self-promotional posts day in and day out will drag down your audience engagement, if you even have anyone left to see them. Remember: it’s not all about you or your brand. It’s all about them – your audience.
Audiences want to be informed, entertained, provoked, and dialogued with, not pitched to ad nauseam. They want value for the time they’re investing in following your brand and reading your posts. Mixing it up with both original and curated content will help keep your followers’ attention. Sticking to self-promotional posts risks alienating social users. Going down a one-note road merely means your journey will be a lonely one, so proceed with caution.
A Time for Everything and Everything in its Time
Part of cultivating content curation harmony lies in refining your sense of timing. This doesn’t mean just posting to the right social platform at the right time. It’s also about pairing that knowledge with an understanding of the optimum times for publishing original rather than curated content.
Curating content can be accomplished at any time, especially as you’re less likely to worry about spurring traffic, comments, shares, and inbound links for content that isn’t your own. When it comes to created content though, those things carry much more weight, as they’re helpful indicators of whether your efforts are resonating with your target audiences.
The Science of Social Timing is a fantastic three-part series by the good folks over at KISSmetrics. The series breaks down optimal timing for social posts, email marketing, and blogging into gorgeous, easy-to-understand infographics. I particularly found Part III insightful, as it brings up this salient point: you have to know what it is you want.
Looking for high traffic volumes? Launch your latest blog post on a Monday. If it’s comments you’re seeking, then think about going with a Saturday morning instead. And if it’s inbound links you’re after, then Mondays and Thursdays are your best bet. It’s all a matter of recognizing what it is you’re hoping to do and then honing your timing to make it happen.
The Tao of Pooh reminds us, “You can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.” Harmonizing your created content and content curation strategies may seem daunting. However, by adopting these recommendations, and with time and practice, you’ll find that the two flow naturally and effortlessly together, turning the time spent on them into a wise investment.