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How to Balance Creation and Curation in Your Social Strategy

A social media calendar plays a key role in your social strategy. It keeps you organized, helps you plan content around events well in advance, and allows you to optimize your support of the rest of your marketing organization.

2016 Social Marketing Planning Guide

But planning isn’t the be-all, end-all. You need a way of managing curation vs. creation ratios. You need to understand if what you’re planning and executing is working. So how do you balance creation and curation, and how can you use measurement to optimize this process?

Creating and Enforcing Creation vs. Curation

Self-promotion can kill customer trust. There are a variety of philosophies on self-promotion. Creation vs. curation ratios aren’t an exact science, and you’ll need to test a bit, then measure your results over time to see what works for your brand. A great way to do this is by labeling your curated and created social content separately, then reveal which content performs better, depending on how you balance both.

This chart is one of many from Simply Measured’s Cross-Channel Label Performance Report.

But the one thing which the vast majority of marketing professional agree on is that a portion of your content needs to be shared from other sources. One good place to set an approximate benchmark is with a ratio like 5:3:2, which suggests:

  • 5 should be content from others
  • 3 should be content from you
  • 2 should be personal status updates or come from influencers 

This is a fairly moderate starting point. Its objectives are also easy to understand.

Finding Your Target Audience

What are your buyer personas? Your prospective customers have certain characteristics.

PersonaWhat gets them engaged? Does engagement based on your various target personas differ? This doesn’t only affect the topics you cover — your target personas will affect your curation vs. creation ratio.

24 Ways to Test Your Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook Content

These behaviors can only be discovered through vigilance and a bit of experimentation. The loop which connects your analytics and your calendar is vitally important. You will have to modify your calendar based on what you find out. Follow your social media audit checklist, which should include:

  • Profile information (name and URL)
  • Posting frequency
  • Follower count
  • Referral traffic
  • Channel-specific metrics

Having the ability to notice these metrics and adjust accordingly is invaluable.

Timing and Testing

This fits into the bigger discussion on social media calendars. You will have to test timing of the day and week to reach your target personas best.

This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Account Report can help you determine which are the best days and times to reach your target personas on Twitter.

For example, if you have multiple posts queued-up in your calendar and your target audience likes fishing, your posts won’t reach the right audience on opening day of fishing season.

Even if there are no events to work around, timing matters. There are analytics which give general recommendations for the best time to post.

Social Calendar Apps

There are a lot of post-scheduling and calendar apps out there. They have value because they allow you to post to many networks at a scheduled time, across all the major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. On Sprout Social, you can post to most social networks using a calendar that has all the visual characteristics of one you might see on someone’s desk or refrigerator. Percolate’s calendar is designed for collaboration and can access Vine, YouTube, and email. For larger teams, collaboration can prevent duplicate posts or missed posts.

Not quite ready for a calendaring app? No problem. If you’re reluctant to commit to an application and want to start out with something more simple, there’s nothing wrong with an ordinary spreadsheet to get you and/or your team adjusted to working from a calendar.

Even then, you won’t need to start from scratch. A little digging will reveal templates for download.

But Solid Content FTW

The foundation of any successful social media strategy starts with content. Everything related to timing and frequency is built upon that. You can come to understand when curated and created content should lean toward one another, but if your created content isn’t valuable to your audience, it will never hit — no matter what ratio you use.

Thoughtful planning, calendaring, and consistent analysis are the tools with which your social media presence can remain effective, consistent, and in-tune with those who follow you. It’s how you’ll receive the most appreciation for your original content — and get introduced to prospective customers. Need help? Download our Twitter Content Calendar guide below!

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Jonathon Ohayon

Jonathon Ohayon is the COO of and has been managing companies and motivating people since the 6th grade. As a proven business leader and gemologist, he is uniquely skilled in navigating the ever changing e-commerce landscape. When he is not answering emails into the wee hours of the night, he can be found spending time with his wife and three children.

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