Chances are, you've recently visited a brand's webpage and stumbled upon a visually appealing, Pinterest-like media gallery with photos of happy customers and the brand's products. Today, media galleries are all the rage as marketers attempt to capture the priceless content their audiences are generating on social networks and at live events. But before you run out and invest what's left of your 2014 marketing budget on a social content curation platform (see Figure 2 from this report) make sure social content curation will help you:

  1. Drive exploration of your offerings. Curation for curation's sake is the wrong approach, yet I see many brands burying their UGC galleries in the bowels of their websites. Consider how social content curation will help prospective buyers explore your products. The content should show your prospective buyers how your product meets your customers' needs — through your customers' eyes. It's the proof that potential buyers seek as they explore an offering and consider whether to buy it. If the content you publish is compelling, site visitors will spend more time on your website exploring your offerings. For example, for its PS4 launch, Sony curated more than 500,000 pieces of social content onto its PlayStation E3 social hub, where visitors spent an average of 4 minutes on the site.  Not bad, considering the average time over 50% of site visitors spend on a web page.  
  2. Convert your prospects into customers.  The user-generated content you curate must be organized and displayed in a way that entices prospective buyers to easily navigate from the content to a product information page that includes a "buy" button or information on where the product can be purchased. For example, New Balance linked thousands of curated Instagram photos to its eCommerce site, which drove a 39% increase in sales. More and more brands are proving that UGC can influence the path to purchase. But you need to choose the right platform with the right mix of capabilities that can optimally display UGC on your branded site.

If you have met the two criteria I have described, my latest report provides a "quick guide" for marketers who are seeking technology platforms to help them curate UGC. If you have deployed a social content curation platform, please share your experiences and the results you achieved!