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September 28, 2017

Mastering Real-time Content Curation with Twitter

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Written by: Ross Quintana
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 Mastering Real-time Content Curation with Twitter

When I first was a guest on the #TwitterSmarter chat in 2016 I talked about How to Magnetize Your Twitter Account. Me and Madalyn Sklar had a fantastic time digging into this topic. She invited me back to the show and this time we are talking about Mastering Real-time Content Curation with Twitter. This post will go live the same day we do the show. A lot has changed with social media and Twitter in the last year since we talked and I’m excited to share new insights that can help you take your content curation to a new level. Let’s get started.

Is Twitter Still Relevant? Twitter is known as the firehose of content marketing and with good reason. The way it is structured as a social platform allows content marketers to share a higher volume of content without over taxing user attention thanks to the way the feed rolls and users are not forced to read the whole feed to find what they are looking for. The brevity of the tweets also allows for faster scanning for relevance. Twitter has gotten a lot of bad press and this has caused people to falsely assume Twitter is losing relevance, but in it’s category Twitter is unmatched. With more than 328 million active monthly users 8/17, and 80% of them using mobile, Twitter is a powerhouse. Here is a great post from Dian Griesel on Twitter’s relevance. Now, let’s look at how you can use Twitter to master real-time content curation.

Twitter is Time-sensitive By Nature – Understanding a platform and its strengths is the first step to formulating a winning strategy. What separates Twitter from other social media platforms is its focus on being time sensitive. This doesn’t just mean getting the latest news either. What works on Twitter is what is new, fresh, relevant, and reactive. People go on Twitter to see what is trending to be in the know, to be first, and to join the conversation. In a recent article by Buzzsumo, they crunched data on a million headlines to see what words, phrases, and combinations got the most shares and engagement. What I found interesting in my own analysis of the information is that 11 out of 20 of the top titles used on Twitter were somehow related to time. Phrases like: for first time, is the new, as it happened, first look at, all are tied to time sensitivity. It goes beyond just time sensitivity because the fruit of that is relevance. It is finding the things people want to know about things at the time they are focused on those things. The second half of top titles seem to be the need to know pre-filtered information that can give them what they need and nothing else. This also aligns with the nature of the network. These include phrases like: this is what, things to know, and the truth about.

The Evolution of Content Curation on Twitter – For those who were using twitter from the beginning, pre-Oprah, when it was called micro-blogging and nobody knew how to use it. Twitter started as a method to broadcast an update on what you were doing to a group of friends. This was a self-centered micro broadcast network. Over time it went from tweets about what you are eating to an audience-centered broadcasting platform as celebrities and news channels provided a way for you to be informed about more than what your friends were up to. That was Twitter 2.0 and we have been in that phase for a long time. The new dawn is here now. We are moving from sharing valuable content to sharing relevant content and there is a subtle difference. Curation by nature aligns with being valuable and pre-filtered for your audience. Relevance adds the time sensitivity factor to that and you can enhance most posts to have an element of time sensitivity.

Integrating a Time-sensitive Approach to Your Twitter Strategy – If people are pulling up their Twitter, their mindset is to find relevant information that matters right now. It is the allure of social media at its finest with the what did I miss, what do I need to know mentality. This is why your title should align with this need to deliver that valuable pre-filtered information they need now. Newsjacking is where people tie into something happening right now. So many people do this poorly, because they take something not relevant and tie it to something else that is news. The key is to find the true intersection and don’t force it. If you talk about AI and something is trending on Twitter about artificial intelligence, new technology, or maybe it is a Twitter chat about technology or an event, then that is an example where you can be relevant and join the conversation. If you want to be relevant to the news you need to look for opportunities not try and create/force them.

Newsjacking or Hashjacking Starts with Social Listening. When I go on Twitter I want to know what people are talking about. It is like reading the paper, even if you don’t deep dive into topics you don’t care about, it is a great way to see what everyone else is talking about. Second thing you can do is have a list of topical hashtags relevant to your brand or industry. Check them on a regular basis and share relevant content to those hashtags daily. This allows your content to be part of a topical community. It can’t be a member if it isn’t there. Here is a great post on Newsjacking by Maggie Patterson

Here is what Businesses are Missing on Twitter – Sadly, you can be doing what looks right and be one degree away from success as a result. Fine-tuning can turn your feed, audience, and authority on like a water faucet. You build, you fine tune, you fine tune some more and you will find success. Many businesses just self-promote. Curation actually saves time and resources because you can cherry pick from the best information, professional writers, and content in the world to deliver value to your followers. That builds trust, loyalty, and engagement that you probably couldn’t do by just creating your own content. There is a mix of curated content and self promotion. I will get into that in another section.

The number one mistake businesses do is confuse sharing content with delivering value.

Engagement is a key indicator that you are delivering value. If they aren’t sharing your content and talking to you, it is hard to measure the amount of value you have delivered to them. Community often happens as a result of regular value delivery and consistent engagement. Community is the sign of momentum in value delivery and engagement.

The Type of Content and Format Matter – Twitter’s strength is brevity and value. Add to this time sensitive relevance and you cans tart to see the foundation of your content strategy and curation strategy. There are many types of content you should share: topical content, industry news, self-promotional news, anchor content, and variety content. Most people share topical content, but you have to test topics to find what your audience actually cares about. Look we all have the internet so just throwing random articles at people doesn’t make them feel you pre-filtered them for them. Industry news is smart because it is easy to be the first one who shared it to them and they will value your feed for that. self-promotional news is giving them exclusive information about your products or services that would need to know or would find valuable.

Anchor content is content that is generally long form or foundational content.

Examples would be: a complete guide to Snapchat, or email marketing 101. If you don’t have anchor content for your key topics you are missing out huge. If you are into customer experience, you should have some long form reference articles on customer experience. This is a topic you are a part of so every time there is a Twitter chat, every time a relevant hashtag or topic is trending or news comes out you can share this high value in-depth article that establishes you as an expert in your field. A growthhack I like to use also is this doubles as inspiration for additional offshoot content. When you write other pieces about customer experience you can always link back to your anchor content. Read your own anchor content and brainstorm from it things  you want to dig into further or elaborate on and that creates context for the link between the two.

Be sensitive to the formats and how to use them. Most people are on a mobile. All your content can’t be 2000 words. Mix it up and add some image quotes, infogrpahics, videos both short and long, and audio. Give them the ability to consume content on your topic to fit their time. Maybe they are driving to work and have 20 minutes to listen to your podcast, or maybe they are at their desk and have only 30 seconds to see a statistic you shared. Think format and create options.

Madalyn Sklar, host of #TwitterSmarter chat and all around awesome Twittermaster wrote:

I’m a fan of using video content on social media and especially Twitter. It’s a great way to get attention which spurs engagement. I recently started a new initiative called #VideoReplyDay where I encourage people to reply to their tweets with a video. It’s great watching people starting to use video and in turn they are seeing the power of it for themselves. They are seeing engagement go way up. And they’re having fun doing it. My recommendation is to spend some time replying to some of your tweets with a video. You’ll be amazed at the results you get.

Smart Self-promotion Integration – So you should have content that drives ROI for you and generates leads, sales, awareness, and authority. The key again is relevance. Don’t just tell people what you do or offer. Integrate that into content that delivers value to them even if they don’t buy. Content allows you to educate to create need, provide value to create trust, probe to qualify leads and segment your audience, and much more. Don’t just tell people what you do, create content around why they would need your product. Content can create demand, content can move people towards buying, establish authority, and keep you top of mind for when they may need your products or services. Your self-promotion should address all of these and you can create a variety of self-promotion pieces from articles, videos, images, and case studies.

Data-driven and Optimized Content Curation – Social listening tools like Brand24 and native twitter search as well as Twitter trends can help you keep track of what is happening and what is relevant to you and your audience. Tools like Buzzsumo can help you find what is trending on certain topics right now and what top content on your subject is proven to deliver value to your audience. From there you look at your analytics and see what worked and ask yourself why? Over time you should see a pattern of what real-time relevance means to your audience. You should see what resonates and delivered value to you audience.

Summary – Twitter curation should be structured around time-sensitive (in language and nature) content that delivers value (reflected by engagement) in a variety of formats that allow you to integrate anchor content and self-promotion.

Here is the after show livestream I did with Madalyn on the topic:

I hope you enjoyed this post, I have a course on How to use Twitter for Business (anchor content) that you can check out if you want a step by step guide on using Twitter for business successfully. Also if you found this post insightful and valuable give it a share and comment. I would love to hear your feedback and continue the conversation. What are your top tips for Twitter and content curation? What do you think people are missing in getting results from Twitter? Do you have a favorite tool to help you save time, deliver value, or research? Leave your comments below.

About the Author

Ross Quintana
Founder of SocialMagnets, I am passionate about social media, influence, innovation, strategy, and marketing. I love to help people learn and understand the digital world. I stretch people's thinking and share my analysis of information, tools, and strategies in social media. Let's connect


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