It’s a given fact that for a small business to rake in a following in social media, it has to provide value beyond the products or services they sell. Providing value essentially means helping out your target audience through information that either you (as the business) or the Internet provides. What makes providing value a grand thing is that it gradually helps your business gather trust points (let’s call it that because I’m a video game nerd) which, also helps in building loyalty and street cred.

Thing is, for a small business, coming up with a case study isn’t an instantaneous thing and graphics and other things don’t come in the cheap. It takes a lot of research, a lot of effort and time and it goes without saying that it all comes at a cost. I know the price that small businesses pay just to exist – sometimes, a little help from the Internet isn’t such a bad thing.

So rather than shell out a lot of money for content production when you’re starting, you can grab content from the web (with permission and proper citation, of course) that should provide value to your audience.

Content curation (this is my definition) is the gathering of helpful information from the Internet syndicating said information through your social media channels with the authors’ permission. (I think this is a good enough definition – if you’ve got better definitions, please share in the comments!)

Content can come in many forms:

1. Blog or website links – these are links from the web that are relevant to your target audience. Make sure to mention the source in your Facebook Page and Twitter whenever you share these links – trust me. They’ll like that you’re sharing their content – and a Like, RT and Reply is always awesome.

2. Images – these are quote graphics, infographics, and any kind of images that seek to inform and help the person viewing it. It’s pretty much self-explanatory but, you know, I have to put text on this line for SEO purposes LOL. But seriously, statistically speaking, social media is getting more visual these days and the more pictures you have (that provide value), the better. Just make sure to ALWAYS mention the source of the image.

3. Videos – Videos also work very well especially if they’re put in your blog. It helps lower the bounce rates AND, since they’re videos that can potentially visually walk people through a certain task or process, it’ll help them out a lot

4. Informative tweets or status posts – these can be statistical information, a short tip or just an inspirational message that can help your audience get through the rest of the day.

The idea is to compile all these information and have them syndicated through your social media channels. Of course, depending on the content plan you have set up, the collection of such data may or may not be a challenge. But in my experience, setting up stuff for a week in just one day is totally doable. I can just add in news and updates whenever necessary and adjust the content schedule as such.

Also, there are a myriad of content compiling tools out there that you can use – but I’ll set that up for another blog post.

On a final note, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether this piece of content will be relevant and, ultimately, will provide value for your target audience:

1. Is it relevant? Will my audience relate to this?

2. Is it going to change my audience’s day and make it better?

3. What is the experience I want my audience to feel after consuming this content?

4. Is it going to HELP my audience?

At the end of the day, you get to save and create original content according to your business budget AND you get to build your relationship with your audience.

That’s about it for this blog post. Leave me your questions and comments and I’ll try to answer as much as I can. Cheers!

[Images from: League of Legends – Look, Ryze may be a rogue mage, but him carrying a book and going rogue makes me feel like he’s some sort of lore searcher – which is kind of like how I look at myself when I do content curation. Use your imagination after all, right?]