Every year around the end of December, I consider making the same new year’s resolution: give up social media. It’s a huge time suck, it can be distracting, and sometimes, it feels downright depressing. (Have you ever binge-read through Facebook’s curated news? Especially in an election year? #bleak) However, when January rolls around, I never actually stick to my resolution – partly because social media is more fun than working sometimes — but, also, because it’s is extremely important – especially as a writer and content marketing person. Not only is it a great way to stay engaged with current clients and customers, it’s also become the best way to attract new business – if you can come up with great social media content ideas.
Anyone who is alive today is well aware of the popularity of social media and how important it is to have a presence on social media sites if you want to gain exposure for your business. Take a look at the facts:
- More than 2/3 of American adults use social networking sites. (source)
- 73% of all Americans have at least one social network profile (source)
- Facebook adds 500,000 new users per day, or 6 new users per second. (source)
- More than 2 billion people across the globe will be using social media by the end of 2016. (source)
But merely having a social media profile isn’t enough to keep followers engaged or to attract potential new customers to your business. It’s important to post fresh, engaging content consistently to get people to pay attention – and look forward – to what your brand is doing.
As simple as that sounds – coming up with social media content ideas can actually be a huge headache. We get intimidated and shy about it. After all, we can only take so many baby pics, #tbts, and #DamnDaniel references in our feeds.
If your well of social media content ideas has runneth dry, check out the list below for a little inspiration.
This is the most straightforward type of social media post because they give a little insight into your business. If people are generally coming to your pages to learn about who you are and what you do, they are a great place to start. These posts will give your audience a better sense of what’s going on with your company and why they should be followers.
- Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Social media is a great way to give people some insight into what goes on day-to-day at your company. Take a photo of a company meeting, your products being manufactured, or the desk of your CEO. Behind-the-scenes photos give a face to your company and make it feel more personal. NYC culinary standout The Modern recently pulled back the curtain and shared a photo of its waitstaff learning how to break down and serve a fish:
- Staff Showcase
Pick a staff member and feature them on your page. Share a photo, some info about what they do, and a little bit of their personality (their favorite things, quotes, etc.) Mailchimp has a great regular series featuring their staff members:
Collect some customer testimonials and share the best ones in a post.
4. Product Photo
This is sort of a no-brainer, but one of the most effective social media content ideas is to post photos of the things you actually sell. Use photos to showcase how your products are used and what they look like when they’re out of the packaging. Here’s a good example of a new product shared on Facebook by shaving company Harry’s:
- Company Awards
Has your company gotten any awards or recognition for being awesome at something? If so, let your followers know! They’ll be proud of you. GrubHub recently tweeted about an award their CMO won:
- Company News
Company news is a great thing to share in real time via social media. People can follow your pages to keep up to date with what’s going on – whether it’s an announcement of new products and services, new investors, additions to the team, etc. San Francisco-based flower delivery company BloomThat recently let followers know they’re hiring via Facebook:
- Product Tutorial
Does your company sell a product? Post a tutorial about how to use that product for your followers. Nifty kitchen gadget company Magic Bullet often shares tutorials about using products on their social media channels:
8. Company Secret
Every company has their own secret sauce. Let your social media followers into one of your company secrets to help them get to know you better. Tell them about a secret ingredient, process, or company ritual. They’ll feel like insiders, and it can help build loyalty.
9. Company Music Playlist
Do you play music at your office? Showcase what your team is currently cranking so they can appreciate your rad taste in music and listen to the same tunes themselves.
- Company #tbt
Okay, so #tbts (Throwback Thursday for your social media newbies) might be a little cliché but everyone still loves them. On a Thursday, share a photo from when your company was just getting started. It’ll be fun for followers to see just how far you’ve come. Here’s an awesome vintage photo of Wendy’s that the company tweeted as #tbt:
One of the best things about social media is that it allows you to interact with a wide audience of customers and potential customers directly. The next type of posts actively ask your followers to be engaged, so you can start up a dialogue and make your audience feel heard.
Get your audience engaged and thinking creatively by posting a fill-in-the-blank question, then letting your followers answers. Post something related to your company like: “My favorite product from x company is _____.” Or just do something totally random to get people talking: “The best duet in history would be ______ and ______.” Target asked its followers to fill in some blanks via Facebook (and they had some pretty great answers) :
- Fan features
Your fans and followers are the reason your business exists. Thank them by doing a regular feature of loyal fans. Randomly select a fan from your followers, then get in contact with them about a feature, or you can ask fans who want to be featured to write in to you. AirBnB has a beautiful series on Instagram in which they feature their hosts from around the world:
- Ask questions
Have a pressing question about what your customers are thinking? Ask them via your social media pages. They’ll respond with their ideas, which will allow them to feel heard, and you can get some helpful insight into what your potential customers are thinking. Barnes & Noble recently asked its Facebook followers for their favorite lines of poetry for World Poetry Day:
- Hold a Contest
Hold a contest for your social media followers. Ask them to take a picture of something specific and post it with a hashtag, or come up with a clever piece of writing. Give the winner one of your products (or services) free to encourage participation. GoPro holds regular social contests to see who takes the best photos using their gadgets:
- Either-Or Debate
Everyone loves sharing their opinion. So, one of the best social media content ideas to get people to weigh in on is an either-or debate. Ask them a question about your company (e.g. The pink product vs. the blue product) or about something off the cuff: (Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears).
Set up a poll and asking them to respond. Here’s a recent punny poll GrubHub hosted around Oscar time:
- Audience Photos
Ask followers to take pictures with your product or at your store/office, then hashtag them with a designated hashtag. Then, re-share their photos for all of your followers to see. New poké hotspot in NYC -Pokéworks – asks its followers to take and hashtag photos of their customized orders on Instagram:
- Ask Me Anything
Ask Me Anythings (or AMAs), as made popular by Reddit, are a cool way to start up a dialogue. Tell your followers they ask you anything they want, and you choose which questions to answer. Idina Menzel regularly does these Q&As on her Twitter:
- Caption Contest
Post a photo, then ask your followers to come up with a caption for it. You can make this a contest and choose a winter, too. The Miami Heat has a pretty awesome and hilarious caption contest series on Facebook:
- Solicit Post Ideas
Let your followers tell you what they want to see. Then you’ll not only have more ideas – you’ll also have a bank of ideas that came straight from your customers.
You don’t want to come across like you only talk about your own company. In fact, many people advise the 8-/20 posting ratio – where you post 80% of the time about other stuff and 20% about promotional stuff. To be a leader in an industry, you have to have an expert knowledge of the WHOLE industry. These post ideas will show that you’re on top of your game when it comes to what you do – and that people can learn a lot from you.
- Industry news
Post a link to a news article that is related to your field. One good way to stay on top of news is to set up a Google alert using a relevant keyword. Autodesk, a company that makes design software and products, shares awesome news about the Maker Movement on their social media channels:
Images are one of the most effective social media content ideas – especially in terms of shares. Share some helpful info about your field by posting an infographic. You don’t need to make your own infographic – you can find pre-made infographics on sites like http://dailyinfographic.com. Here’s a tweet featuring an infographic about the cycle hunger from the World Food Programme:
23. Book Idea
Is there a book about your industry that you love? Share it with your followers – they’ll probably love it too.
24. Link to a LinkedIn Group
Many groups on LinkedIn are a great source of industry-related info. If you’ve found a group to be particularly interesting and full of awesome stuff, share the link with your social media followers. Then they can join up, too.
- Expert Blogger
Find an expert in your field, and share a link to his or her blog (or a specific blog post). If you promote their work, and let them know about it, there’s also a chance that they may mention your company in a post. More promo is always a good thing.
- Weekly Roundup
Create a list of industry news, announcements, and general awesomeness and share it with your followers weekly. Releasing this list on a regular schedule will have your followers checking your page week after week to get it. Nature.com shares a regular round-up of science news weekly via Twitter:
- Plug a Partner
Do you have a partner that helps you get business done? Someone that provides you parts for a product or partners with you to promote a service? Plug them via your social media page by linking to their website and social media page. They may just do the same thing for you in return. On-demand delivery service Postmates recently plugged their partnership with American Apparel on Facebook:
- Slideshare Presentation
People are really into Slideshare presentations these days. Find one relevant to something you do, that your followers will find interesting, and share it.
- Tool Recommendation
There are lots of useful online tools that your followers might not know about. Recommend one to them. (One of our favorites is Visage, which helps you make pretty visual content, even if you’re not a pro designer.)
- Trending Google Searches
Use Google’s Top Charts feature to figure out what the most popular searches are. Then share those topics with followers, and find a way to tie them into your business or industry.
One of the best sources for social media content ideas? Your own content that already exists. Repurposing and promoting existing content is a great way to fill your feed and get more people to look at what you’ve already put out there.
- Promote a Blog Post
Do you have your own company blog? (If not, you should!) If so, find a post that is particularly relevant or well-written, and share that with your followers. Design goods marketplace Creative Market regularly uses Facebook to promote their very useful blogposts:
- Reshare an Old Post
Find a previous social media post that performed really well, then re-share it with your audiences. Chances are new followers will love it as much as your old ones.
- Share a Case Study
Have you done a case study re: your industry or business? Case studies are a great way to share relevant, concrete info with new leads.
34. Address a Negative Review
It’s hard to avoid negative reviews on the Internet – it seems like they’re everywhere. But instead of letting them sit there and fester, one of the most productive social media content ideas is to share a negative review on your social media page, then address the points brought up in that review. That can clear up questions that customers might have and show that you’re not afraid to tackle a challenge head on. Find a negative review of your company on a site like Yelp, then take responsibility for it and explain how you’ve improved.
35. Post a Blog Excerpt
Instead of simply linking to your blog, post an excerpt from a previous article you wrote, then ask people to respond to the excerpt in the comments.
- Share Promo Videos or Ads
If you’ve uploaded promotional videos or advertisements to YouTube or Vimeo, share those on your social media channels. This will help them get seen by a lot more pairs of eyes. Apple is awesome at adding all of its videos and ads to its YouTube channel:
- Link to Product Pages
When you’re releasing a new product into the world, social media is one of the best places to promote it. Share a link to a page where people can buy your newest product, and you may just end up boosting your sales. Clothing company Anthropologie regularly links to their products on Facebook:
- Link to Your Squeeze Page
To get more people to sign up for your newsletter, one of the best social media content ideas is a link to your squeeze page. This will give people direct access to the place they can sign up to get more great content from you.
- Event Announcements
If your company is hosting an event, link to the flyer, news story, or Facebook event that you’ve created about the event to let people know that it’s happening. The Meatball Shop in NYC uses its Instagram to share flyers and announcements about their events:
- Link to a Guest Post
Have you ever written for someone else’s blog? Link to that on your social media pages. It’s possible that your followers haven’t seen the post yet.
Sometimes, to engage your followers, you just need to have a little fun. These post ideas are good ways to be entertaining, lighthearted, and show a little personality.
Everyone loves a good Meme. (You know, the images with funny text over them?) If you don’t want to or don’t know how to make one of your own, check out the great selection of premade memes here. Blowpro is on top of their Meme game on Facebook, especially when it comes to appealing to their specific audience:
- Inspirational quotes
We all need a little more positivity in our lives. Choose a thinker or leader who inspires you, then find one of their most inspiring quotes. Share it with the world, and you’ll make everyone’s day a little bit brighter. Social media superstar and fitness trainer Kayla Itsines shares daily inspiration and wisdom on Instagram:
- Funny YouTube Videos
There are some great YouTube videos out there. Find one that makes you laugh, then share it with your followers so they can laugh, too.
- Posts that Show You’re a Person
Putting a personal face on a company helps people relate to it better. Share occasional posts from your own, non-work life: pretty photos from vacations, meals you ate, la di da… Designer Marc Jacobs likes to share photos with his dog, Neville:
- Random Holiday Celebrations
You might not realize it, but every day is a holiday! (Don’t believe us? Check out this list) So, share with your followers a reason to celebrate on an ordinary day. You can add a little levity to their feed. After all, who doesn’t want to celebration National Beer Day (April 7th) or Oatmeal Muffin Day (December 19th)? Task Rabbit recently celebrated Leap Day with its Facebook followers:
- Support a Cause
Find a cause that you care about, and post a link to give to your followers. You can show what issues matter to you and help the world while you do it.
47. Post a Joke
Everyone loves to laugh. Share a joke with your followers, and you can show off your sense of humor. Don’t have a sense of humor? Try stealing one of the hilarious ecards from someecards.com.
48. Share a Pinterest Board
Find a board that inspires you on Pinterest, then share it with your followers. Explain why you are inspired by it – whether it’s the aesthetic, a list of products, or just beautiful images.
49. Share a Recipe
Have a favorite recipe? Share it with your followers. Find some way to relate the recipe to what your company does – or have your employees feature their favorite recipes in a regular series. Williams Sonoma’s Instagram is filled with awesome (and beautiful) recipes:
- Share a Deal
Finding a great deal on a product you love – or one that can be used in conjunction with your product or services – is one of the best social media content ideas. Once you find a great deal, you can share it with your followers. Not only will the other brand thank you for the promotion, but your followers will also be grateful that you helped save them some dough. Laundry Locker in San Francisco gave people a discount on tickets to the SF BBQ Festival via Facebook: