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social media strategy

My life is lived in a sea of information. Some days, it feels like I'm swimming. Other days, more like I'm drowning.

There's more information out there than any of us can handle and this presents both a problem and an opportunity for business and marketing communicators. The problem is that information overload can produce so much noise that we fail to detect clear signals. The opportunity, on the other hand, lies in the antidote to too much noise: finding and sharing great content; in a word, curation.

Effective content curation involves three key activities:

• finding high quality content in your area of knowledge;

• contextualizing that content for your target audience

• distributing and sharing that content within your networks.

Here are some reasons why content curation makes sense strategically for your business:

1. Curation demonstrates your knowledge and expertise

In many areas of business, technical knowledge of products and the markets in which you sell them contributes to your success. By identifying and sharing the most insightful information and distinguishing it from the noise that surrounds any topic, you demonstrate your authority and credibility -- regardless of whether you create the content or not.

Follow thought leaders in your industry. Monitor key websites and blogs using Google Reader and track new information by keywords using Google Alerts. Find other curators who you respect and pay attention to what they're sharing.

2. Curating content creates value

A fundamental concept in any business is the creation of value from raw material and inputs. Curating a great content stream out of the sea of information in which we are all drowning is pure value creation. By helping people cut through the information clutter, you increase your value proposition.

Add value to the information you curate by contextualizing, adding commentary and expanding itsapplication. Look for content that can offer practical insights to key issues or pain points in your industry.

3. Make curation an act of giving

The concept of reciprocity is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. When you give something of value, you create an incentive for the receiver to reciprocate. Curation is a way to give your followers access to your knowledge and add value. In return, they will have an incentive to invest in your social capital.

Be consistent and on topic. Pay attention to what your followers like, retweet and share -- then give them more of it. Focus on giving quality, not just quantity.

4. Curation reveals your personality

People do business with people they know, like and trust. Curation affords you and your business an opportunity to show a bit of personality -- not only what you know, but also what you love, what you care about and believe in. Give your customers and clients a reason to do business with you.

Don't be afraid to mix into your curation some great content about a sport or recreational activity you love, or a charity or community cause you support. In most situations, it's prudent to avoid politics and religion, though there can be exceptions. And always try to be positive and respectful, even when being critical.

5. Curation helps you to stay top of mind

Interrupting what people are doing in order to get their attention is less effective than being what people are truly interested in. When you curate consistently, you can focus on delivering information that people want and need -- and stay top of mind.

Invest time and resources in finding content to share at least daily or several times per day. Interact and respond meaningfully with followers who respond to your shares. Think of curation as a micro-marketing tactic you need to do frequently.

6. Curation drives engagement

Content is the coin of the realm on social networks. Sharing great content online is an inherently social act that creates opportunities for engagement with clients, customers, prospects and leads. Seize those opportunities.

Respond to Twitter mentions and retweets and reciprocate as much as possible. Initiate engagement by commenting on blogs and seeking out opportunities to share influencer's content.

By incorporating these basic content sharing habits into your day-to-day business life, you can begin to more clearly define your corporate and/or personal brand in the minds of you customers and prospects.

Jay Palter is a social media strategist specializing in personal branding and content marketing. He tweets @jaypalterand blogs at

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