Pins, Tweets, and Likes: Use Social Data to Inform Content Strategies

“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Pete Sheinbaum, CEO of LinkSmart, which provides text-linking optimization solutions for web publishers.

Millions of people are now pinning, tweeting, re-tweeting, hashtagging, liking, sharing, and commenting throughout the day. While the reasons each individual participates in social media may vary, it is undeniable that the way brands and corporations now curate content is evolving to capitalize on this new way of life. Just look at the presidential debates earlier this month. A political team can now watch and monitor public opinion in real time based on the sentiment pouring out across the nation’s status updates and tweets.

With this change, we’re now seeing publishers embrace an instant content curation model as they invite readers to share their online opinions and engage in the editorial conversation in real time. This can be difficult. In a recent survey from content creation company Curata, 56 percent of respondents felt that finding quality content was their greatest content marketing challenge.

Few marketers stop to think about the treasure trove of data at their fingertips, available by simply searching through aggregated data to see what’s trending online for their target demographic. With the web housing thousands upon millions of pictures, videos, text, memes and GIFs, there is an endless supply of content that exists on the open web.  With the able hands of Internet browsers and social tools, businesses can quickly find the most highlighted, shared, and talked about content.

By analyzing content and identifying trends, publishers can align the strategic direction for editorial and glean much needed insight into readers. They can look at what is being pinned to address focus groups. Or, evaluate which tweets are trending and being hashtagged to understand variances across markets. And finally, publishers can begin measuring ROI in terms of mentions in and around viral videos and articles.

Content Curation Drives New Business Models

Just as the content curation landscape changes the way brand builders interact on the web, so too must the business models that are used to promote that content. Selling advertising alongside content is just one of many ways to generate revenue. The collective power of social media alongside the availability of content drives new revenue streams.

Advertisers can now target users based on the type of content they follow and interact with, creating more targeted opportunities to deliver relevant ads and offers based on interest levels. While this approach may not be as promising as targeting ads based on real-time intent, it is a vast upgrade to traditional behavioral targeting techniques. By moving beyond page browsing history and cookies, brands can now engage with a consumer based on something that they have specifically called out in their own social media profile.

The Future of Content Curation

In the future, content will continue to be created and curated, but the people driving this evolution are not a typical in-house team of writers and marketers. The drivers of content are going to be the masses of passionate consumers of media that crowd around communities of interest. These interests can be as granular as a single story, video, or image. All while this is going on, the job of marketers, publishers and other brand builders is to watch, listen, learn, and plan. Personalization of the products and services being offered based on content graphs for each individual will be key.

Not sure where to start? A few tips:

  • Do provide fresh content on a regular basis – with search engines looking for the most updated information, allowing content to be aggregated in one place will not only keep your followers and friends interested, but will also help with your search ranking and visibility.
  • Do use the collective power of tweets, likes, pins, etc. to drive new revenue streams and product development cycles – use what you are seeing from users to help sculpt what your business targets and shares. Don’t just guess what information will be most useful, use the real-time availability of this information to find the right targets for your business.
  • Don’t use an automated curator – the great thing about content curation is that it occurs through actual people. People mean that the content being searched for and curated is up to date, meaningful to people, and current.
  • Do take advantage of what your core audience is trending on social media. Do the work to make sure that your company is staying on top of what your users are most interested in. Watch social media to look for these trends and be one of the first to jump on the topic.

Follow Pete Sheinbaum (@sheinbaum), LinkSmart (@linksmart) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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