Guest blogger Chase McMichael is founder, president and CEO of social intelligence company InfiniGraph. A veteran of realtime collaboration technologies at companies such as Oracle, Sprint and Chase Manhattan Bank. McMichael has been awarded numerous patents and is a frequent speaker on social media technologies.

I recently attended the book release party for “Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators” by author Steve Rosenbaum. It was mentioned at the party, and by some reports, that every two days we now create more content than was created from the beginning of time until 1993.

I’m not entirely sure of the validity of that claim but, even if it’s an exaggeration by an order of magnitude, we’re still talking about an insane amount of content being created every single day.

The major challenges are how to sort and filter through all this content to make sense of it. We’re also challenged with how to make the content drive consumers to your call to action while creating authentic engagement.

Enter crowdsourcing. The beauty of using your audience to determine what’s relevant is like a giant super human computer; working on your behalf, selecting and ranking what’s of value while kicking out what’s not. This radical approach eliminates the complexities of keyword monitoring and a large sentiment analysis problem. What’s left is pure gold. A great article by John Cole “10 Reasons Why Automated Social Media Listening Tools Fail” highlights many of these issues.

Your customers know what they like.

If your customers interact with content, that’s a big statement of intent and should be noted. Think about it. When you’re leveraging millions of interactions at scale… now you’ve got something. Consumers connect to many brands, not just yours, and this context of other brand interaction is critical to you owing your content voice. Finding those that are interacting and moving this voice for your industry is the critical “1%” mentioned often in social marketing. Tapping into the collective that’s defined by trending content — in context — provides the competitive advantage to power curation.

Many Social Media Management (SMM) tools post on Facebook as well as other feeds. However, feed automation is problematic without a way to intelligently measure effectiveness — determining what content is getting the most social interaction and how it relates to other brands in the industry. With Facebook controlling posts that are viewable from publishing apps, the main issue is your posts don’t always reach the audience and your impressions may be low if you post frequently. As you can post more frequently on Twitter than Facebook, Twitter can be used as a barometer for what’s relevant. And it’s relevance that is the critical foundation that enables real insight from social media data.

Publishing trending content will definitely increase your CTR. First, you need to understand what is trending and why. Content that’s trending on your brand is just as important as content that’s trending around your brand. Listening with the SMMs out there doesn’t provide crowdsourced social relevance — this content needs to be piped intelligently and directly into all the SMM platforms.

Dan Zarrrella’s recent webinar on The Science of Timing nailed several key factors important to curation. A major takeaway was ability to post more than once on the same topic. With Social Intelligence this process is made simple, as described in our recent ClickZ post, “Tuning Your Content: Social Media for Content Publishers” by Dave Evans

Ok! On to Top 5 ways to increase engagement around trending content.

  1. Facebook is not the same as Twitter. Post more on Twitter and analyze what content gets the most interaction. Focus those posts on Facebook.
  2. Content that trends on a brand has a low perishable nature and can be posted again on nights and weekends to further the engagement.
  3. Timing is key but, if you’re posting often, you can’t jam them out in a few hours. Spread them out to avoid feed stacking, focusing on the ones that do get traction.
  4. Be the center of discovery and own your content voice. Sharing content that’s relevant to your customers creates engagement and makes your brand more human, as opposed to just posting your product blurbs and discounts over and over.
  5. Trending content is “Crowd Approved” and integrating that content in a Facebook ad buy is like pouring social gas on a fire. A small amount of Facebook advertising can amplify the word of mouth effect, creating great social discovery and reach.

What’s trending around your brand on Twitter is more useful than the platform’s general trending topics. You won’t get what you’re looking for with social listening if you’re not listening to what your customers are saying. Knowing the content with which your consumers are interacting and segmenting based on what’s most relevant in your industry are the most powerful methods and uses of Social Intelligence. Use affinity trending content to determine what sources are getting the most action.

Are you using Facebook and Twitter now to drive traffic and what content is getting you the most traction? What is driving your customer to engage?