One of the most common questions we receive about social media is “what should we share on our social networks?”
Although businesses understand the value of social media, they struggle with how to use it.
Last week, I talked about the reasons social media programs fail. Lack of content was at the top of the list. And, for good reason.
So many companies struggle with coming up with original content to share on their social networks. And, inevitably, those businesses end up regurgitating everyone else’s content or turn to non-stop self-promotion.
Neither of those options will help you be successful.
Social Media Content Ideas
If you want social media to work for your brand, you must create content that’s useful, interesting, informative or entertaining.
But, how do you do that?
If you’re struggling with what to share on your social networks, here are a number of social media content ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Share your own content
If you’re going to the trouble to create your own content (and you are, aren’t you?), make sure to spread the word through your social media channels. Here are some ideas of what to share.
- Blog posts. If you write a blog, it’s a no-brainer that you should share it on social networks. Here are some additional tips on promoting your blog.
- Presentations. Turn your Keynote or PowerPoint slides into engaging content by loading it to Slideshare and sending people there to take a look.
- eBooks & white papers. Dust off those ebooks and white papers and spread the word on social networks. It works even better if you create a landing page on your website where you can send people to get the goods.
- Photos & infographics. If you look through all of your marketing materials, you may have more visual content available than you realize. Think about charts, infographics, screenshots and other photos you can share.
- Videos. If you’ve got video content — testimonials, speaking engagements, a company overview, etc. — be sure to share these on occasion. Don’t just let them sit on your YouTube channel.
Create original social content
In addition to sharing the content on your blog or website, you should share additional content specifically for your social networks. This is where most businesses get hung up. Here are some ideas to help.
- Showcase your team. Introduce your team to your audience with photos and videos. This helps humanize your brand by showing off the people behind the business.
- Share what you are doing. Think back to the early days of Facebook and answer the question, “what are you doing?” and share interesting things that are happening at your business.
- Highlight new voices. Hand over the social media keys to different employees on a given day or week to showcase a different side of your brand.
- Show off your clients. Take photos of your customers and clients when they are at your business. Encourage them to tag themselves in the photos and share with their networks.
- Offer quick tips. Share one quick piece of advice or information that will be useful to your audience. You can turn this into a content series by using a hashtag for the info.
- Go behind the scenes. Give your audience backstage access to your business and show things they wouldn’t normally get to see using photos or video (Vine and Instragram video work great too). For example, you could give a tour of your back office, film your team at work or show how your product is made. Here’s a great example.
- Show your silly side. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down a bit and show off the personality of your business. That means, show photos of your Halloween costume contest or that office chair race down your hallway. Show your audience that you like to have fun!
- Show your view. Give people a glimpse into your world by showing off your work environment. For instance, you can show what your desk looks like or the view from your window. You could even encourage your audience to join the fun and show their view too.
- Get feedback. Use social media as a sounding board and ask for feedback on products or services. This works really well with visuals (do you like option A or option B?).
- Ask questions. Create engagement and learn more about your audience by asking questions.
- Answer questions. Social media can be a great opportunity to answer questions from your audience. Solving problems and offering help when someone needs it can go a long way toward building loyalty.
- Respond to others. Social media is a conversation. If someone mentions you or leaves a comment, reply to that person. Responsiveness is incredibly important.
- Host a hangout. Use Google Plus to host a hangout with your audience. You could interview an expert, introduce your team or just offer up an opportunity for your audience to ask your team questions.
- Host a Twitter chat. Host a Twitter chat with your audience to answer questions, interview experts or create a conversation about a topic in your industry. This is a great way to build engagement or establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
- Strike up a conversation. Identify people in your audience (i.e. loyal customers, valuable prospects, key influencers, etc.) that you want to know better and start a conversation with them. This is a great way to build and strengthen relationships.
- Thank people. It never hurts to be grateful for your audience. Thank people for sharing your content, leaving a positive review or simply for being loyal to your brand. Who can you thank today?
- Share user-generated content. User-generated content can be super powerful because it puts your customers in the spotlight. Encourage your audience to take photos at your business or using your product. You can then share the best ones on your social networks. This is a great way to show how other people use your products or what they like about your business.
- Create contests. People love prizes, so give them a chance to compete for a one. There are a ton of ways you can do this – photo or video submissions, caption contests, random drawings, quizzes, etc. Here’s a great guide on how to create a social media contest.
- Reward your community. Social media offers a great opportunity to reward your most loyal customers and fans. Randomly give freebies to your audience (as Chobani did for me with the case of goodies below), highlight your biggest fans or share their content (as mentioned above). There’s no greater way to build and keep loyalty than this.
Drive leads and sales.
Yes, social media can be a great way to generate more business for your brand. However, you must be careful that you don’t put on the hard sell. Overpromotion is a big turn off on the social web.
That said, here are some ways you can promote your company. Just be sure to do it in moderation.
- Offer a discount for your audience. Give your audience special attention by offering a promotion or discount only for them. This kind of thing works really well for online products where you can send them directly to the link to buy.
- Highlight new offerings. Have a new product or service offering? Let people know about it through social media. It works even better if you can point people to a landing page with more information.
- Encourage email sign-ups. If you’ve got an email list, you can use social media to spread the word. It works even better if you’ve got premium content or an offer to encourage people to join your list.
Share other people’s content
As we’ve discussed before, social media shouldn’t only be about you and your brand. You should share other people’s stuff too. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
- Industry articles. If you want to position your company as an industry expert, show that you’re on top of the trends by sharing relevant articles.
- Local news and information. If you’re a local business, share blog posts and articles about what’s happening in town to help show your investment in the community.
- Funny and interesting items. See something that’s funny, entertaining or interesting? Chances your audience will too. Don’t be afraid to share this stuff to lighten things up every now and then.
- Articles from key influencers. If you’re working on a media relations or blogger outreach campaign, it makes sense to share articles and social media posts from the bloggers and reporters you want to build relationships with.
- Retweet your fans. One way to build loyalty with your fans and followers is to retweet or share the information they post on their social networks. They’ll love knowing that you’re listening and that you value the information they share online.
What types of social media content work for you?
Certainly, this isn’t an exhaustive list of what you can share on social networks. And, what you share online will depend largely on your social media strategy.
However, this list should be a great starting point for your social media content efforts.
If you’re new to social media or struggling to gain traction, what questions do you have about creating social media content?
For those of you who are more seasoned with social media, what other types of content would you add to the list?
Image credit: nhuisman