The reality is that no one ever really wants to be sold to. No one wakes up and thinks, "I'd love to hear from a telemarketer or 17 people I don't know in my email inbox!"
Regardless of whether in-house content creation is a core focus for your company, or if you simply don't have the resources to consistently meet the demands associated with it, leveraging curated content may make a lot of sense for your brand.
Recently, UpContent CEO Scott Rogerson joined a panel of experts to discuss the theme: "Amplify Your Social Media Marketing with Curated Content." In the following information, we share some key insights and quotes from that webinar that can help you to make good decisions as you incorporate curated content into your own marketing strategy. You can catch the full webinar replay here.
"Empowering your employees to be advocates for your institution, and harnessing their collective reach on social, is the secret to breaking through." — Doug Wilber, Denim Social CEO
Arming your employees with impactful, valuable social content is not as easy as it may seem. It takes time to sift through the "dirt" of poorly-written, under-researched blog posts to find those truly insightful "nuggets" of content. For companies in the financial services sector in particular, there's also the danger of non-compliance, and falling out with regulators.
That being said, there's compelling reason to involve your employees in the content creation and distribution process. Research from LinkedIn shows that employees have a 10x greater following on the platform than their respective employers — and posts from individual employees earn 2x the engagement compared to posts from official accounts. In terms of "bottom line metrics," sales reps who regularly share content on social media are 45% more likely to hit their quota, and 57% more likely to generate leads.
What's the lesson? If you want to grow your brand through social media marketing, it's vital to harness the power of your employees. With proper direction, they can be your best advocates, bar none.
"Why we focus on bringing curated content into an environment where employees are engaging and then sharing is to really achieve that idea of authenticity... We know that as an employee working with an organization, I do have a desire to share the original thought leadership of my organization. But that's not all that I'm reading, that's not all that I'm learning about. That's not all that I want to share with my networks and my connections." — Scott Rogerson, UpContent CEO
When employees want to share 3rd-party articles with their connections, they often contend with two major challenges:
The point is, sharing 3rd-party content without any real guidelines in place can feel like risky business for many employees. They see the value in those thought leadership pieces, but they don't have the tools to share that value with their peers and prospective clients.
This is where "pre-loaded" curated content really makes a difference. An effective curated content solution offers several key benefits for companies that want to empower their employees to share those 3rd-party insights with their networks:
1. Sourcing high-quality content without linking to competitors
"We realize there's a lot of different issues that kind of come up. One of... which is that, it's... really, really hard to find those places where you can get good quality financial industry information that isn't going to have a competitor's advertisement sitting right at the top of that article." — Graham Brinkert, AnnieMac Home Mortgage Creative Marketing Manager
For many companies in the financial services industry, the most difficult part of sourcing valuable 3rd-party content is avoiding pieces that come from direct competitors in the market. A content curation platform enables companies to bypass this difficulty altogether by sourcing high-quality content from non-competing institutions.
2. Eliminating "bottlenecks" that reduce the value of content
"I don't want to experience a bottleneck. Every time I put something out in public, it has to go through compliance, and that makes it less relevant, because if I'm posting something, and it's relevant to today, and I want to be the first person in their feed to post this article, I still have to wait 2 days for compliance to come back." — Nancy Vrankovic, CalPrivate Bank Director of Executive Administration
A pre-approved curated content platform that uses automated workflows and your custom compliance policies can reduce the number of lost opportunities that arise due to operational "bottlenecks" (in this case, a bank's compliance department needing to review an article before approving it). The streamlined workflows associated with curated content can empower employees to be the first to share relevant, interesting, and up-to-date with their networks — which can provide a nice boost to their reputation, as well as the brand's image. (And in many cases, the compliance department will be more than happy to have an automated solution for moderating such requests!)
3. Finding and publishing relevant, timely content across different regions
"We had so many different locations all over the place, and trying to... generate something that's regionally significant or relevant was just near to impossible, on the kind of schedule that you need to be on with social media... To keep that information relevant and timely was extremely difficult." — Graham Brinkert, AnnieMac Home Mortgage Creative Marketing Manager
A top-tier curated content solution can pull articles and videos from different states, regions, and even countries. Agents and representatives in separate branches can consume and share content uploaded to their geo-specific feed so that they stay on top of the latest news and trends for their respective markets.
4. Thinking "outside the box" in terms of topics shared
"If you have something special at your bank, which is maybe a concierge-style service where your relationship manager really knows who you are, and then that relationship manager knows that they have many sailors in their portfolio of clients, posting a sailing article around Southern California is really interesting to those people." — Nancy Vrankovic, CalPrivate Bank Director of Executive Administration
Hyper-local curated content enables client-facing employees (like relationship managers at regional banks) to be more of an "overall value-add" to their clients, instead of promoting products and services to the exclusion of everything else.
"For me, good content is going to be dependent upon the goals of the individual or the company at the time... This is an online community, right, that's what we're hoping these loan officers and employees develop... That's what gets the engagement, and at the end of the day, the engagement is what you want. The likes are great, the comments are far better — far more important, far more valuable." — Graham Brinkert, AnnieMac Home Mortgage Creative Marketing Manager
The primary goal of social media marketing is to engage with your community and start conversations. Whatever your goals are as a business, you want your social media strategy to dovetail with and complement those goals. The beauty of sharing curated content on these platforms is that you can promote your goals in an organic, authentic way. Instead of taking your USP and pushing it on your consumers, sharing curated content that's customized for your specific business objectives enables you to attract consumers to your brand in an unobtrusive way.
In the final analysis, curated content is a time-saving, compliance-friendly, systemized alternative to individual employees sharing 3rd-party content across social media. In fact, you may find that your employees will feel more confident about utilizing social media when they realize there's a library of pre-approved content at their fingertips.
In terms of business strategy, leveraging curated content can help your employees to expand your brand presence as they grow their own network. And ultimately, a curated content platform will promote engagement with your consumers on social media. When your employees are able to attract users to the company in an authentic, organic way, and open those doors to the conversation, your entire organization's bottom line will benefit as a result.
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