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Curation Ideas and Community Strategy From About.com: A Bufferchat Recap

4 min read Bufferchat
Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller Team Engagement Manager @ Buffer
Curation Ideas and Community Strategy From About.com: A Bufferchat Recap

VP of Social and Community at About.com, Matthew Knell, joined us for #bufferchat to discuss content and community strategy.

Check out the full Storify recap here.

#bufferchat (1)

Why is strategy so important for community?

From Matthew:

“In general, strategy is a roadmap: should always follow in form “objectives -> tactics -> goals -> results” ““It’s also important to make sure you are in sync w/your product team, vendors, providers and more. They all own key pieces.”“It’s important to set the course of your community to allow people to express themselves in ways they feel comfortable.”“The worst thing about a community is when engagement feels forced. Not all content / tools are created equal.”

Other great insights:

Community is what fuels your brand. Community creates fans, representatives, people who amplify your voice on the streets.” @Outsider_NYC
Begin with the (relative) end in mind. Establish the goal & tone.” @bldchris
A community is the backbone and mouthpiece of your brand! You want to take good care of it and be smart, active, and accessible.” @MadisonJonesHR
The conversations happen whether you develop a community or not. Developing a strategy puts you ahead of it” @ravendelana

What role does content curation play in building community?

From Matthew:

Good communities are about related topics, but they’re about people first. Content context is important but not everything.”
Topics can be fleeting, but good relationships and shared respect are why most people come back to communities for more.”“For content focused communities, content gives fuel to the conversation fire. Gives people universal topics to discuss.”
It’s no different than a cocktail party at start. What are the things you ask strangers to get them talking?”

Other great insights:

Content has to be gathered from the community. If people don’t feel included/passionate, the strategy won’t work!” @Emilyacarlton
Careful curation shows that you really know your audience. Best curation starts with listening to your community.” @moormiston
Lots of great content out there. Pointing people to the best stuff puts you in the middle of those conversations.” @30lines

What tools do you use daily for curation?

From Matthew:

  • “Personally, I use Twitter, Feedly and Buffer to curate stuff. I love how Feedly + Buffer work together.”
For trending, we use Google Analytics real-time, and watch Twitter, Facebook, Google trends closely.”
For new stuff, we have system reports that tell us what’s newly created by our network of Expert writers.”
We also use Buffer’s Feeds tool to plug RSS feeds in our content.”
For seasonal content, we rely on an editorial calendar of key historical / pop culture events that we cull every few days.”
Since we have a lot of con tent to work with, we spend a lot of time finding the “right” content in our mix.”(PLUG: Our Shareables email does this for you today for free – subscribe here: http://about.about.com/shareables ) ?

Other great tools mentioned:

What is the biggest lesson you learned in community building?

From Matthew:

“Community is a hard process. To do it well, you need to be in it for the long haul. You need to iterate on the fly.”“Repeatedly ask yourself: – “Why are we doing this?” – “Who are we doing this for?” – “How we can we make it better?” “
And always remember, these are real people. They aren’t always going to want to play by your rules. Or even be nice.”
Your community will tell you what it wants if you know how to listen to it. But core purpose should never be lost.”
The best scenarios are when “Everyone wins” – the community member, the community at large, and the org community is for.”

Other great tips:

It takes time. Be positive, be appreciative, and create/share good stuff.” @meghanmhall
You can’t force engagement and that really connecting with your audience takes effort, time, and attention to detail” @_danmessina
Take it slow. Know yourself. Choose where you want to be Create a niche. Give away valuable content. Test your results. SCALE!” @mynektur

How often do you re-evaluate your strategy?

From Matthew:

We try to look at our content strategies at least weekly – sometimes daily as things break.”
Here at About, we’ve just started to understand ways we want to foster our audiences to sharing with us. Stay tuned :)”
It’s important to note that our content strategy is shared between our homepage editor, content managers and social team.”
Building links between them through emails and physically sitting nearby has really helped.”

Other great tips:

Things can change VERY quickly on social, so it’s important to at least do it once a month IMO.” @CBarrows
I re-evaluate constantly and adjust small changes.Usually bigger ones come up in 6-12 months,but it is continuous process” @PetrPinkas

Any final advice for social media managers in curating content?

From Matthew:

“#1 – Friend test: Share content of social post you’re writing with a friend. If they don’t get the context, rewrite.”
#2 – Reuse your winners. It’s ok to reuse content if you know it works. Just give it time to breathe and change a bit.”
  • “#3 –
Understand your place in the world. If you (as brand) don’t have a real perspective in an issue, it’s ok to be quiet.”
#4 – Embrace data: It’s not as scarily as you think. Using data to tell stories is how you will be more effective.”
  • “#5 (last one) – remember you’re talking to people. You can’t teach heart. But you can always listen more.”

Other great advice:

Sometimes you’ll have a lot to share, but don’t post it all at once. Use tools (like Buffer!) to spread them out.” @TheMikeyDunn
Monitor comments, replies, reactions for new content ideas that will add value!” @ShannnonB
Have a schedule, stick to it, and don’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to your content” @richardhnewens

Thank you to Matthew for sharing such great expertise with #Bufferchat!

Catch #Bufferchat each week at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern/4 pm GMT with different guests and topics. Join the Google+ community to keep up on the latest news.

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