The majority of brands that aspire to gain a significant social media footprint use content curation to establish authority and raise awareness. Although content curation became a norm with 82% of B2B marketers, I repeatedly encounter confusion among marketers when it comes to measuring the impact of third-party content on tangible metrics such as revenue. Using real life examples, I’d like to give definitive answers about the goals content curation is suitable to serve and how it impacts the bottom line.
As a part of the inbound methodology, curation fits well in the early stages of the buyer journey as you work to attract and engage your target audience. It may seem difficult or counterintuitive to estimate the monetary value of a strategy that doesn’t directly lead to conversions such as a purchase, subscription to a newsletter or a demo request on your website. However, it’s fundamental to define curation through tangible goals in order to understand the true value of your social assets and optimize the conversion funnel.
To accurately estimate the monetary contribution from content curation, it’s necessary to understand the value of a social channel where you can reach and engage your target audience. Here is a quick of definition reach, engagment and audience:
Every now and then I see brands resorting to the ample of harmful tactics such as buying followers or engagements to grow a following and imitate buzz on social media. These practices distort reality and do irrevocable damage to a brand’s ability to engage and understand their audience, correctly evaluate performance and efficiently utilize social assets.
A much more productive way to attract prospects is by focusing efforts on the people who have a genuine interest in your industry and potentially your products or services. These people are the ones likely to convert and they constitute a brand’s target audience. Companies that connect with their target audience can learn about their followers, accurately measure the reach of their social channels and build valuable acquisition channels.
Engagement is any kind of interaction an individual initiates with your brand, most often through content you share on your social channels. The better known engagement types include likes, comments, shares and URL clicks. The lesser known, but often no less important, engagement types can include media plays, click-throughs to your profile or addition to lists, among many others.
An engaged audience is continuously interacting with your content and probably fits your customer persona profile. Sharing relevant posts helps in keeping this audience engaged and tuned-in to your social channels which is likely to result in a conversion down the road. Self evidently, it’s important that engagements come from your target audience.
Reach refers to the potential number of people who might see your social media post and can be roughly summarized as the number of your contacts multiplied by the number of their contacts. The actual number of times your post gets served to social audiences is measured with impressions which directly affect the number of engagements a post gets – it’s no secret that people don’t engage with content they don’t see.
Reach is complex and consists of many factors that are responsible for the potential number of impressions your post will get. Some of them include:
All of the above are multiplying factors that can drive a post’s visibility well beyond the number of contacts you actually have.
Engagements go through the roof when a post triggers a chain reaction as demonstrated with my co-founder’s recent Twitter posts:
Yuri generated an impressive amount of engagements considering the small size and niche interests of his audience.
Curating content directly influences targeting, engagement and reach. Sharing content that is highly relevant to your customer persona is likely to attract a targeted audience. This audience is likely to engage with your content and, by doing so, help distribute your post to their contacts (who are likely to be in your target group as well).
So how much is an engaged audience worth to you? To answer this I will use a theoretical example which is based on real averages. Here are some facts to establish benchmarks:
Imagine the following scenario: You have 2 Twitter channels, one is engaging while the other is not:
|Channel 1 (Not engaging)||Channel 2 (Engaging)|
|Followers: 10,000||Followers: 10,000|
|Impressions per Tweet: 200||Impressions per Tweet: 500|
|Engagement rate: 0.3%||Engagement rate: 3%|
|URL clicks: 5%||URL clicks: 20%|
You are launching a campaign to attract people to a specific landing page where a call-to-action converts 10% of visitors (given they are well targeted). You will be sharing a link to your landing page once per working day, resulting in 22 shares over the course of a month.
Here are the results of such a campaign:
|Channel 1 (Not engaging)||Channel 2 (Engaging)|
|22 tweets * 200 impressions = 4,400 impressions||22 tweets * 500 impressions = 11,000 impressions|
|4,400 impressions * 0.3% engagement rate = 13 engagements||11,000 impressions * 3% engagement rate = 330 engagements|
|13 engagements * 5% URL clicks = 1 URL click||330 engagements * 20% URL clicks = 66 URL clicks|
|1 URL click * 10% conversion rate = 0-1 conversions||66 URL clicks * 10% conversion rate = 6-7 conversions|
Here are more factors that significantly influence the total number of conversions you get:
Due to these factors, the total number of conversions (for a B2B business) might be in the tens or hundreds at the end of a campaign that was carried out on optimized social channels. You will have to determine how much these conversions are worth to you as they depend heavily on your industry and product.
Unlike revenue, which depends on your product and industry, acquisition costs on paid channels are a relatively stable benchmark to estimate the money you saved during the acquisition process. Here’s a real-life example from our Twitter channels that we use for acquisition:
|Tweets: 8,598||Tweets: 3,475|
|Followers: 11,487||Followers: 7,719|
|Followers in target group: 10,073||Followers in target group: 6,673|
|Average impressions per post: 833||Average impressions per post: 600|
|Engagement rate: 3.2%||Engagement rate: 2.5%|
|Engagements per post: 26||Engagements per post: 15|
|URL clicks per post: 6||URL clicks per post: 3|
Every post pointing to our domain gets 9 targeted visitors to our site of which 2 convert. The last time we promoted our landing page on Twitter it brought us over 40 leads in a course of a month from these 2 channels alone. Together with other social channels, we generated a total of 68 highly targeted leads. It translated into good revenue but the really good part was the lead acquisition cost.
So, how much would it cost to get the same number of leads on a paid acquisition channel? In our case, because we are a SaaS company, it would makes sense to advertise on software comparison websites, run AdWords campaigns and reach out to individuals with InMail. On GetApp, G2Crowd, Capterra or InMail, a company pays at least $50 per lead. AdWords would be even more expensive. To get the same 68 leads on paid acquisition channels we would have to pay $3,400 (68 x $50). However, it’s much more likely that we would end up paying $100 per lead which would cost a total of $6,800. Both acquisition costs are not sustainable over a long period of time.
The reason our channels deliver leads is because they have a wide reach that is achieved by consistently posting interesting and relevant 3rd-party content. If we would rely only on our own content, we wouldn’t be able to grow reach at such a rate and would only get a fraction of the engagement.
To demonstrate the significance of steady content delivery for establishing engaging social channels, we conducted an experiment that involves 2 Twitter channels, one that uses curated content and one that doesn’t.
|Tweets: 15||Tweets: 417|
|Followers: 10||Followers: 450|
|Followers in target group: 4||Followers in target group: 387|
|Average impressions per post: 12||Average impressions per post: 207|
|Engagement rate: 0.8%||Engagement rate: 2.2%|
|Engagements per post: 1||Engagements per post: 3.7|
|URL clicks per post: 0.1||URL clicks per post: 1|
|Posts per day: 0.2||Posts per day: 3|
|URL clicks per day: 0||URL clicks per day: 3|
On inboundli_blog, we posted only our own content which was sporadic and rare. Meanwhile, on inboundli_mktg ,we posted our own as well as curated content, which kept the content flow constant. After 2 months, inboundli_mktg is far better off and was already responsible for starting 3 sales (well worth the effort).
With authority, brand-awareness and visibility, you can transform your social media channels into a cost-effective acquisition channel. At the core of such a transformation is content – and lots of it. A consistent flow of relevant content helps to grow reach and engage your target audience. However, unless you have a newsroom at your disposal, curation is the only viable way to generate the required amounts of content to build powerful broadcasting channels.