Content is hard. Sure, we have moments of inspiration, but consistently coming up with high quality and engaging content ideas to post on social media for a business is challenging—especially when social media never sleeps. And truthfully, even your best social media post ideas can outgrow their shelf life after a handful of impressions. With the pressure to stay top of mind and entertain your audience with frequent posts, the well of social media content ideas can quickly run dry.
- How to decide on the type of content to post on social media
- Original Content
- Curated Content
- Engagement Content
- What content should your business be posting on social media?
In order to spark inspiration, help you create a diverse variety of content, and fill out your social media calendar, this list of post ideas includes suggestions across each of the three different categories of social media content that social managers should be including on their brands’ platforms, and will help you refresh your business’s social media profiles to keep followers entertained and engaged with your brand.
The best part about this list?
Some post ideas are still meant to provide more robust information to your followers, but many of these ideas you can whip up in a matter of minutes - leaving you ample agility to try out a few new ones, test the results, and repeat the ones that work well with your followers.
How to decide what to post on social media
First, you’ve hopefully built a framework deciding which platforms, posting cadences, and, ultimately, which social media posting schedule you’ll be filling with this content. If not, use this guide to build your schedule template.
Within that schedule, there’s a time and a place for each type of social media post idea. When deciding which types of posts to execute, it’s helpful to stay mindful of achieving content balance through the social media "rule of thirds." Just like in normal conversation, no one wants to hear someone talk exclusively about themselves, so the rule of thirds suggests that a well-balanced social media profile will post across all three of these categories:
1. Original content creation
This is content that your business owns, such as anything that lives on your website or anything related to your own goods and services, or anything published by an employee for your business.
- Drive traffic to your business’s content or site
- Drive conversions and sales
- Increase brand awareness
Effort versus value:
This content category can be a bit lower effort than the others, because you most likely already have any blogs, case studies, or other materials you would promote planned out or created. When sharing information about your own business or products, you probably also possess a higher level of expertise that doesn’t require quite as much research. Caveat: If you don’t already have initiatives like webinars or infographics planned out, that may be a bigger resource pull before it reaches the social promotion stage as you create those internally.
If done well and highly educational, it can help achieve your social media marketing goals, but this type of content has a hard time standing alone in terms of value because it can seem “sales-y” and may not provide your profile with the same authority as supplementing with third party materials would.
How to do it right:
- Plan well ahead of time for seasonal campaigns and automate these posts as far in advance as you’re aware of them.
- Conduct an audit of your content that is “evergreen,” or general enough to always be relevant for extended periods of time. For example, the blog you wrote for your tourist excursions company about the best times of year to visit Hawaii will probably never be irrelevant—at least until the next Ice Age occurs. These evergreen posts can also be scheduled out far in advance when you know you have the downtime to do it.
- Don’t forget to add metadata when you upload your content to your site. This will populate the link preview in your post with more text that you can use to entice a user to click—and maybe to get around those pesky character limits.
- Curate a short and sweet nugget of text that explains what value the reader can expect to gain from the post. Try not to simply repeat the title or the meta description, since that will already show in the link preview of the social post.
- Use hashtags. Adding a hashtag that names the industry that will find the content relevant or names the subject that the content falls under will help users who don’t follow you find your post.
2. External content curation
This is sharing content that your business didn’t create, such as news articles or blogs written by other companies, that followers from your industry would probably still be interested in.
- Position your business as an industry expert
- Increase engagement
- Accrue followers beyond just customers
- Network with industry influencers
Effort versus value:
Posting this type of content requires more research and a higher level of industry expertise. It can take a while to determine which sources, authors, and information are not only reputable, but interesting to your target audience. Adding a little extra difficulty, it’s harder to schedule these posts out in bulk ahead of time because you should be finding timely content that stays on the cutting edge of industry happenings.
However, posting this type of content can establish you as an expert in your space as well as grow a following that considers your business’s profile a one-stop-shop for news from many publications around the web. Bonus: These pieces also give you the opportunity to tag and mention the published authors and influencers who wrote them and will motivate them to interact with your profile in front of their large following.
How to do it right:
- Find a few favorite sources you trust that pump out a lot of articles that are relevant to your industry and ideally feature articles from the movers and shakers of your industry. Where do you get your own news when you’re trying to stay up to date for work? Those sites are a great place to start. If you liked it and found it noteworthy, chances are your followers will too.
- What if you don’t already have a few favorite sources for content? Try these four ways of being alerted to new content sources:
- Set a Google alert for a few industry buzzwords.
- Follow LinkedIn hashtags. For example, if you follow the LinkedIn hashtag #socialmediamarketing, every post sharing content and using that hashtag will populate in your newsfeed.
- Some good old fashioned research. Start off by searching “[your industry] news” and check out the first few publications that come up.
- Get inspiration from your competitors. Publications that they choose articles from will likely have copious articles for you to curate and post as well.
- Tag relevant people involved in creating the content to boost authentic engagement. This is usually the author of the post, but can also be the site that published it. While the extra likes and retweets from the tagged parties can be a good boost for your post performance, the real value comes from networking with these industry heavy hitters and building up that good will.
- Just as you would with your original content, curate that nugget of text that explains what value the reader can expect to gain from the post.
3. Authentic engagement
This is having direct interactions with followers and industry influencers on the platform.
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Increase Engagement
- Network with influencers
- Take the pulse of your followers
- Monitor competitors
- Provide customer service
Effort versus value:
This undertaking requires a little more effort because you can’t automate it and you have to organically stay on top of opportunities to join conversations or help followers solve problems. It can also take a while to build up a list of most valuable influencers to follow and comment on, similar to how it will take you some time to become advanced enough in your space to offer original takes on posts you see in the newsfeed.
However, these types of posts will pay dividends for your brand as you network with influencers, grow your ability to access their extended reach, improve your online reputation, and stay competitive in your changing market landscape.
How to do it right:
- People come to social media to (duh) be social. Inc.com says “45% of Millennials expect more engaging experiences with brands than with retailers. In other words, they expect brands to build relationships with them, to listen to them, and to engage with them.” Engage directly with users by responding to comments, retweeting when they mention your business, and creating posts that invite them to get involved, such as open questions or polls. Last but not least, if you see a trending topic taking your newsfeed by storm, don’t be afraid to jump in and post about it.
- Provide quick and personalized customer service. Did you know the average response time for companies on Facebook is one day, three hours, and 47 minutes? Yet, 85% of customers on Facebook expect a response from companies within six hours. Social media managers, we can do better. Set aside times throughout each day to respond to customers (even if it’s just saying thanks for a positive comment), and if you have a department that’s responsible for customer support, sit down and document a process with them for how you will triage to them what you’re seeing on the front lines.
- The high expectations for customer support make an excellent case for automating other types of social media content. If you don’t schedule out other posts ahead of time when you know you have room in your schedule to do so, you may not be agile enough to handle a customer service problem immediately when it arises—resulting in you having to choose between retaining a customer and promoting your traffic-worthy blog on schedule.
- Find and follow industry influencers or important businesses, and then retweet, share, or add comments to their content. For example, if your industry is social media marketing or marketing agencies, you might report important updates from the official Facebook corporate account. Inserting influencers and thought leaders into your followers’ newsfeeds helps expose your followers to content and learning opportunities that you haven’t produced yet. Bonus: It helps you network in your industry and build up good will with power players. If you get to know them and engage in regular social interactions with them, a guest contributor to your blog or a link to your content might be in your future.
Making sure that you come up with post ideas across all 3 of these content types will allow you to provide the most value to your audience, as well as ensure that you don’t fall into a rut of posting content that’s too similar to the rest of your posts. For example, if you already have a schedule you meticulously planned out to post your company’s original content 10 times a day, you might want to skip to “Social Media Post Ideas for Content Curation” and “Social Media Post Ideas for Authentic Engagement” and challenge yourself to add some variety to your strategy.
What to post on social media for a business
You’ve got your posting schedule, you know what types of posts you’re looking for to round out your business’s social media profiles, now you just need a few post ideas that will spark some creativity. Try a few of the ones on this list, test and make adjustments, and ultimately, you may find a few new methods that have a more permanent place in your social media strategy.
Social media post ideas for content creation
1. New Blog
2. Customer Quote or Case Study
From Cook Smarts
3. Photos of your office
4. How-to article or screenshare video
5. Upcoming webinar promotion
6. Webinar replay video
7. Introduction of your newest employee
8. Posts about individual features of your products
9. New product announcements
10. Company awards, recognition, or milestones
11. Create an infographic to explain a concept
From Visual Capitalist
12. Updated old content
13. The results of a survey or research study you conducted in your industry
14. Interview an influencer in your industry, then share the video or write a recap
15. Quick pro-tips relevant to your industry
16. A statistic relevant to your industry
17. Answers to common questions about your company or products
18. A contest
19. Your reviews shared from a review site
20. Open positions at your company that you’re hiring for
21. Upcoming deals or discounts
22. Content relating to a little-known (or well-known!) holiday
23. Promote an AMA with a company employee or member of leadership
Social media post ideas for content curation
24. News articles
25. Industry podcasts
From Andrea Jones
26. New research published by others
27. Upcoming webinars hosted by others in your industry
From Anita Kirkbride
28. Blog posts from other businesses in your industry
29. Infographics created by other companies
Social media post ideas for authentic engagement
30. Go to an influencer’s profile and retweet a post
From Lilach Bullock
31. Go to the profile of an impactful business in your space (Facebook, Google, etc.) and retweet an update
a. Bonus: Quote tweet the update and add your own sentence about the impact the update might have
32. Share/retweet a post that includes your original content
From Gabrielle Sadeh
33. Share/retweet a post that mentions your company in a positive way
From Madalyn Sklar
34. Respond to a customer service issue
From Alaska Airlines
35. Create a poll
36. Ask an open-ended question and respond to or share the responses
From White Wall Review
37. Create a unique branded hashtag for your content, like other posts that use the hashtag
38. Go live
From Martha Stewart
People continue to flock to social media in droves because they want to be entertained, and followers expect their favorite brands to provide that entertainment through variety and creativity in their posts. They stay with certain social media profiles because those profiles continue to find new and diverse ways to educate them, keep them on the cutting edge of news, and help them be successful at their jobs.
As for those times when you have difficulty convincing potential followers that your posts would benefit them? Periodically including new, unique types of posts that stoke audience participation or grab an influencer’s attention can be a quick win that allows you to enact the “foot in the door” policy, and gain followers that are then more receptive to your tried-and-true content.
Keeping in mind that different types of posts are tied to different goals, and that it’s important to both grab new followers in a flashy way and find when they tend to click through to your site and make purchases, bookmark this page until you’ve tried and tested all 38 post ideas to find your favorite, most successful strategies —or just until you need another wave of content inspiration.
As you map out all of your content ideas, once you're ready to start scheduling your posts, make sure you have the right software at your fingertips. Learn more about the powerful features that Social Report has to offer.
Anna Dievendorf is the Marketing Manager at Social Report (and the other brands in the ASG Martech family) focused on bringing you valuable content and social media marketing news through blogs, emails, and social media. Read more about her experience in connecting leads with the right information at the right time on her LinkedIn or connect directly at Anna@grade.us