ImageWhen launching The Scroll last year, I was met with a lot of confusion. ‘What does it do?’ and ‘How much time does THAT take?’ became ones I was very used to – and happy to! – answer (Scroll is my baby, of course!). The secret is: it really doesn’t take that much more work.

What makes The Scroll unique is more than the fact that it is not an aggregate of institutional accounts or hashtags. It’s curated content – a mix of institutional accounts, hashtags (across platforms), and found content from student, alumni or staff experiences.

Another step further? It’s segmented by target audience – prospective students/families, current students/staff/local community members, alumni and sports enthusiasts. By doing this, we allow units on campus to deepen engagement by highlighting their own segment – like admissions does with a touch screen in their lobby, allowing visitors to scroll through content specific to them. Social media win!

You’d think that this was either some magical script or a ton of time. But it’s neither. Just like real sentiment analysis, real curation cannot be scripted. It requires a human touch. 

That being said, if your social media person (coordinator, strategist, specialist, director, whatever!) is worth their salt, the first thing they have in place is a strong social media listening strategy. This includes not only your institutional accounts and tags, but also what’s being said about you out on the web in other formats. Those nitty gritty places. Is what you’re promoting on your social aggregator/accounts what students/alums REALLY feel/think/say? You need to know the worst to be the best.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 3.48.47 PMCuration is just one step further. You see all this great content. This #realtalk. But does anyone else? Only you are stringing together conversations, sentiment and a bigger picture of the brand based on authentic experiences. What if others could also see that? For Scroll, I’ve already seen 90% of the content before I see it in my admin screen for Scroll. I know it exists and it is not a surprise. Because I’m already curating content for use on other networks, clicking a link to the admin screen and checking off two boxes (a segmented tab designation and publish) is one extra, simple step. I can even do it via my iPhone.

Social media is not a silo. It’s an integrated part of communication with our audience, for and about us. It is content. Taking an extra minute to put content in context goes a very long way in helping showcase a conversation that we’re not only a part of but a contributor to. How are you curating content? Do you do this in more than just social ‘asks’ via unsolicited curation? How about other formats beyond social?

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