For anyone running a social media account for professional reasons, writer’s block can be a real problem. While unbridled enthusiasm for a topic can get you started, in the long run almost everyone runs out of steam. This can be a real problem as social media marketing demands that you provide constant posts and updates to see any real success.
For people promoting something, the value in (organic) social media lies in the fact that it is a free advertising platform. However, as with all advertising it only works if people actually see the ads in the first place, meaning you have to keep posting to stay in the public eye.
Unfortunately the difficulty lies deeper than that. It’s not just that you have to post regularly or people may forget about you. It’s that social networks have algorithms working to only show people the most interesting posts, so you HAVE to be interesting ALL of the time too. Or at least most of the time.
This means that there’s no phoning it in with social media. You can’t just blah blah blah your way to success. Being interesting on your first 10 posts is easy enough. Being interesting for the majority of your first 1,000 posts is a lot tougher.
Therefore its a good idea to come up with a strategy for what you want to post, and then creating a schedule for when those types of posts make the most sense. Planning ahead can really take the pressure off to come with something interesting every single day.
As for what you should post – generally you should stick to positive stuff. You don’t want to be boring or negative. Your posts should make people want to read more of them. They should also make people like the company or person the feed is representing.
Anyway, enough with defining the problem – let’s get on with the solution! Here are 15 top tips on what you should post online.
- “Ask” Posts. Let’s start with what all small businesses instinctively want to do on social media – selling. The basic rule of thumb on social media is that you should give at least 80% of the time, and only “ask” 20% of the time. This means that around one in five of all your posts can be asking people to do something for you. This includes doing a survey, donating to a charity, buying a product, whatever. If it’s something that you want them to do, then it counts as an ask. 20% may not sound like a lot, but knowing what to say for one out of five of your posts really helps.
- Reposts. Reposting (or retweeting, or sharing) interesting things from other social media accounts can really help you to be interesting to your followers, and with a lot less work. It’s also good to do as reposts are essentially the currency of social media – if you repost someone else, they might repost you later. Also it’s just a nice thing to do. Beware though – if you aren’t posting enough of your own stuff then reposting too much just means that you are helping other people’s social media marketing rather than your own. Once a day is probably about right.
- Infographics. People love complex information broken down into a neat visual format. If you want to explain something (and for people to care about what you’re saying), then this is a great way to do that.
- Videos. If you can create good videos, then great. People love videos. So much so that videos are overtaking images or text as the dominant form of content. Make snappy little videos which are interesting to your audience. These can be explaining your product or your business, detailing an event, or saying thank you to your loyal customers. Whatever you want to say, it’s possibly best to say it in a video. Just make sure your video is the right length for your audience or you’ll be wasting both yours, and their time.
- Research. People love original research on social media. This may seem counter-intuitive considering that most people would never actually read a research paper. However producing original research, and then writing an article explaining that research means that you’ll be able to hit two audiences – both the intellectuals and the interested. People who want to look intellectual will share these sorts of posts too, so they are truly a winner.
- Polls. Most social media offers some sort of polling functionality, and these are generally pretty popular types of posts. However they do come with the caveat that you need to have an engaged social media audience for them to work. This means that you need to have either a large audience (10,000+ followers minimum), or else you must have been interacting with them a lot yourself (or both). There’s nothing sadder than a poll with only a couple of votes.
- Blog Posts. Blogging can create a lot of value for any website, and one of the benefits is giving you a steady stream of stuff to post on social media. Write regularly, write interestingly, and share it widely.
- Special Offers. People love special offers. Posting special offer codes specifically to your social media accounts is a great way to make sure your customers have a reason to follow you.
- Case Studies. Case studies are one of the main tools for good PR, and social media is a great way to spread them. If you have a way of explaining why something you did was good, then this is a good place to share it with people.
- Old Content. If you have a site full of good content, you should let people know about it. Even if it’s old, good content is good content. Considering that a tweet has a half-life of about 2 hours, it’s fine to share old things again as most people will not have seen it the first time! Just make sure you review your content before you put out there again. Also don’t post the same things too frequently. By getting into this mindset you can use your social media scheduling as a way of constantly reviewing and improving old content. This makes it a valuable part of your content marketing strategy, as opposed to just where you output the things you make. It’s also good for SEO.
- Seasonal Content. If you have content or products related to certain times of year then promote it at those times of year. Be christmassy at Christmas, be summery in the summer. Feel free to celebrate Halloween, Independence Day, St George’s Day, International Women’s Day, International Men’s Day, all the days. Use the relevant hashtags and don’t be weird about it, and you can find yourself in front of much larger audiences suddenly. Here’s my favourite calendar to help you work out what ‘day’ it is today.
- Daily Themed Content. On social media every day of the week has been chosen as the day for something. For example: #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayTips, #WednesdayWisdom, #ThursdayVibes, #FollowFriday, #SaturdayThoughts, #SundayFunday. There are a million more like these too. If you have something to say on one of these themes, go ahead! Just try to make your Tips/Vibes/Thoughts etc relevant to your business. Again, you might get your tweets put in front of a much larger audience than usual.
- Industry News. If you want to be a ‘thought-leader’ in your industry you have to earn it. By this I mean if you have a bike business and you want people to think of you as an expert on bikes, then you should post about any news on bikes that comes out. It might be big news, it might be small news, it might only be tangentially related news. However if you want people to think that you know your bikes, then you better post about bike news.
- Local News. If you are a locally based business, then it’s ok to discuss information related to your local area. It will help people think of you as an important part of the local community. If a road is closed, tell your followers. If there is a local event happening, spread the word. It’s best not to complain about local issues (or anything really), but letting people know where you are, and that you’re happy to be there is usually a win.
- Politics. Only joking. Don’t talk politics on your business accounts as you’ll be sure to alienate people. Even if you don’t alienate anyone, what are you getting from it really? Your business accounts are to promote your business, not your own personal political ideas.
This list is a good start, but it’s definitely not a list of the only things you should post. You should add to it things that you are interested in, or that make your company interesting. What you post on social media not only needs to inspire your followers, but it needs to keep you engaged enough to keep posting too!