Building your Profile and Network using “Affinity Content”

Posted in: Advice and ideas- Mar 18, 2013 Comments Off

When I first started using Twitter, back in January 2008, I hit the same roadblock everyone does:  “What do I say?”

In fact, some people never get past that moment and become simply consumers of Social content rather than contributors to it.  These users have become derogatively known as “lurkers”.  But that rather short-sighted opinion denies the reality that a large majority of Social users don’t say anything at all – they just read.  Research shows that in fact depending on the nature of the Social Network, anywhere between 40 and 80 per cent of members are so-called “lurkers”.  Many of these are very sophisticated users, cleverly filtering their feed based on keywords and groups of users, curating the many millions of information sources into one, highly informative and timely stream.  If knowledge is power, these people are very powerful.

Contributing valuable information is in fact the common currency of the Social web.  People do want to hear what you think, but only when they have had a chance to identify whether they like you or not and whether they have anything in common with you.  Whether or not they have any affinity for you.  In order to create affinity for you among your target audience, the fundamental strategy for any sophisticated Social user is to continuously harvest and share Affinity Content that ambiently defines your expertise and point of view.

But what is Affinity Content?  The key is not to over-think this as it shouldn’t take up too much time selecting it.  Based on a number of themes or keywords, set up feeds – using RSS or Google Alerts as well as your Social Networks – to curate interesting and well-informed third party content for sharing.  The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, The Lancer or Business Insider are a good start depending on what your chosen topic is, but the more niche you are and the more honed your searches, the more unique value you will add.  Here is a good starting list for curating classy content.

It became clear to me as I began to share blogs and articles, I was attracting a community of people with interests in my topic and content choice to my brand.  My Twitter following grew and I began to connect with more and more people on LinkedIn as well.

This loose-tie community was very targeted and centred on San Francisco and Redwood City as much as Sydney and Melbourne.  Over time, because of all the principles of the Loose Tie Network and The Mere Exposure Effect, talking to these people became much easier and seamless.  Furthermore, some of them began to form an Amplification Cohort for some of the new content I later shared too.
It emerged that the three-stage content strategy is as follows:

1. Harvest and share carefully selected “Affinity Content”
2. Begin to add commentary and thought leadership
3. Create and share your own original content for amplification

A discipline of commitment (e;g; a routine) and careful and time-efficient content curation are the keys to success in this area.  This post on Social Media Management Tools includes a review of a number of such tools, but my favourites have been TrapIt, ScoopIt, Google Reader (soon to be killed by Google in July), Digg, Reddit and Delicious (newly acquired by Yahoo.)

What Content Curation tools do you recommend?  Leave a comment if you’ve found something helpful for this.

Picture credit: seocontentadvantage.com

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