Why Curate Your Social Media Content With Scoop.it ?
First, Are you asking the following questions: “What is social media curation?” and “How does it add value?” Are you like many business owners trying to get your head around curation and the associated benefits? Well I have come to realize, you are not alone!
In an earlier post I defined curation. In this post I would like us to revisit that definition and share how value can be gained by demonstrating how to curate your social media content with Scoop.it.
Reminder of What’s Social Media Curation?
With the exponential growth of social networks and blogs, the amount of information on the internet can be overwhelming and time consuming. Consequently, the role of the social media curator has become increasingly more attractive. Social media curation is when you filter, select, review and reposition quality content on the web for a specific audience and/or topic.
How Scoop.it Makes Social Media Curation Easy
First, let me share a story on my introduction to Scoop.it. I wrote a blogpost on “storytelling”. I received a trackback to Scoop.it. I followed it to find a curated post by Karen Dietz sharing her perspective and summary of my post with my link still intact. I used this new platform to thank her and started following her web-magazine (Just Story It). The outcome: Karen gained a new targeted follower and I gained new traffic to my site. Another curator, Martin Gysler did exactly the same; I really liked his posts and I started to follow him but this time I joined Scoop.it!
Scoop.it is a semi-automated curation platform. Scoop.it crawls the web according to a pre-determined criteria and then allows the curator to review and reposition the filtered material prior to publishing. This repositioning could be in the form of contextual reorganization and/or commentary of the material to provide an overall perspective. Once the material has been curated, Scoop.it allows the curator to publish the material in an attractive web-magazine by topic. This web-magazine organizes each curated article into “sticky posts” on a digital interactive interface as shown in the examples below.
With every published post, the web magazine grows into multiple pages and becomes an excellent resource for the selected topic. Readers can follow these web-magazines and in turn the curator can build another audience that supplements their existing base.
So What? Why should you consider this? Well, do you fall into any of the following categories 1) struggling to provide fresh consistent quality content for your audience; 2) cannot invest the time to write your blog; 3) looking for ways to expand your audience; 4) want to increase your service offering to your customer base; 5) want to establish yourself as a thought leader on a specific topic; 6) want to increase your social media visibility; 7) looking for other distribution channels to spread your word; and/or 8 ) looking for a curation option that is not automated so you can leave “your finger print”. If the answer is “yes” to one of any of the above, you should consider this option. Interested? The free Scoop.it plan provides a lot of functionality that can be used to curate content and develop online magazines like these. Let me show you how.
10 ways to increase your presence in social media and add business value:
Here is how to curate your social media content using Scoop.it
#1 Your Name
When you register with Scoop.it, you are required to choose a profile name for your Scoop.it url (as shown in Figure 2). Your name should align to your social media goals. For example, if you are building your personal brand, you may want to use your personal name. However, if your goal is business brand awareness, you may want to consider using your business name. Once you have chosen your name and have signed-in, your url is locked-in. This name will be visible to all the articles you curate.
Most registrants stop here. I recommend you go one step further. Although your url cannot be changed, you can add descriptors (such as a website) to your name. This additional descriptor is not clickable within this field; however it is visible on all your curated content. This small change provides significant promotion of your website of choice. In my example, the name I chose is Shirley Williams. The added descriptor I selected is: XeeMe.com/ShirleyWilliams which you can see in Figure 3 below.
#2 Your Profile Picture (Avatar)
If you are using your curated magazine to build your social media presence, you may want to consider a headshot photo. This provides a personal connection with your readers. However, if your strategy is to purely augment information in your business, then you may consider using your business logo as part of that branding effort.
#3 Your Bio
Next, you can complete a 225-character bio. Make those 225 characters count! The norm is to write a 2-3 sentence bio with just text. You should take full advantage of this section and add hyperlinks to share more information about yourself and/or business! As part of the registration process, you are asked to link to your primary social network accounts such as Twitter and Facebook. These accounts will automatically be available to your readers when they review your profile as shown in my headshot above in Figure 3 above. Therefore the links that you should add in your bio field, should complement those primary accounts. For example, I have added another Twitter account and two additional websites (see Figure 3).
#4 Topic Title and Icon
Select your topic title carefully, as it will become the url for your web magazine. Your topic title will be one of the key methods of how your new targeted readers will find you. You can also upload a topic image for your magazine icon thereby giving you another opportunity to brand.
#5 Topic Description
As suggested by Scoop.it, you should add an engaging description about your topic in this section. Again, you should not stop there; you can also add hyperlinks in this field; I have noticed that many do not take advantage of this functionality. You should. As your readers continue to read your curated articles, give them the opportunity to learn more about you. This is a very important point because the primary follow-buttons that are shown on your profile page are not visible on your topic page. However by adding hyperlinks in this field, it provides that option to your readers.
#6 Keywords and Sources
Scoop.it provides a field where you can add keywords (see Figure 4, #6). This is the field that provides the primary criterion for your web content search. The search source includes Digg, Google news, YouTube, Google blogs and Twitter.
Once you have added your keywords, you do have an advanced option, which you will find in the “Manage tab” of your topic magazine where you can add RSS feeds, Twitter lists, Specific Twitter users etc. This point is not obvious when you register, so take advantage of fine tuning your content search. There are not any filter options for your incoming feeds, so the more specific you can be in this section, the better your results.
#7 Topic Background
Under the “Manage tab” of your topic magazine, you can customize your magazine background by either color or uploading your own image. Scoop.it provides a template that you can download to aid this customization. See the examples in Figure 1.
#8 Original Post
Scoop.it does give you the option of writing your own original post within your topic. This is an excellent differentiator. You can add context and position your topic magazine for your audience. To do this, just select the tab labeled “New Post” and then click on the “Write a post without any url” button. This will open a window where you can write a mini-blog post that you can publish to your magazine.
If you want to keep the post visible, just click the “force to keep on top” button, or star button, located in the footer (shown by the red circles below in Figure 5). Using this feature regularly, gives you a platform to further establish your brand and thought-leadership.
I have used this feature to provide a useful introduction to my “Canada Goes Social” magazine for new readers. Another example is shown in Figure 1 where Karen Dietz of “Just Story It “provides a good overview on how to use her magazine.
#9 Curated Post
When curating a post from the suggested Scoop.it search, you have the option to:
a) Use the automated clip or summary provided by Scoop.it;
b) Add you own summary and context;
c) Select the suggested topic images;
d) Rate the article to indicate your perspective to your readers; and
e) Tag your post for ease of selection at a later date (you can find the tagging feature under the more “More options tab”).
This is the section where you can add additional context or share your opinion (see Figure 6). As an avid reader, you can “connect the dots” across related articles and provide the key points for your audience.
After completing your summary, you can distribute it to your multiple social media channels directly from the Scoop.it platform (see Figure 6). By regularly publishing your curated posts, you will build a multiple page web magazine that will become a valuable resource for you and your audience.
At the end of the day, social media is about a two-way communication. Scoop.it does provide the capability for your readers to:
a) Suggest a related article;
b) Comment on your curated post;
c) Say “thank you” with a like-button;
d) Rescoop the post; and
e) Follow your magazine.
The Scoop.it community is very open to sharing quality articles posted in the web magazines. So in addition to curated articles, you can also add your own original quality content to your magazine. This provides another distribution channel not only for the articles you curate but also for your own blog posts.
Scoop.it rates the quality of topic magazines (1= low quality, 100= high quality) based on audience interaction. The rating is shown on the corner of the topic icon (circled in red in the example below in Figure 7) and is a quality indicator for your readers.
There are many content curation tools on the market. I have chosen to showcase one in this post At the end of the day, the value you will gain, is totally related to how much effort you invest in curating and publishing your material.
I hope that I have given you a few pointers to think about, or better still try! What do you think? I would love to hear your experience and / or additional tips! Your turn to share.
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