12 Social Media Content Ideas for Less Predictable Posts  

By Barry Feldman

As a marketer, it’s critical to evolve along with social media.

While there’s no reason not to post about the content you create or consume, on its own, this predictable approach to social media marketing is unlikely to achieve your objectives. It’s time to get more engaging.

This year, for the first time, results from the Social Media Marketing Industry Report show the question marketers most want answered, “What are the best ways to engage my audience?” 

The report doesn’t reveal the answers, so I’ll aim to tackle the question with a collection of ideas here.

Social media marketing trends in 2019

Let’s ground ourselves with a quick sweep of some of the findings regarding social media marketing trends the annual report from Social Media Examiner offers:

Facebook is the top dog. 94% use Facebook. While it remains the most important platform to marketers, the percentage of survey participants who said as much went down significantly. Social media marketers are diversifying.

Instagram is hot. Instagram has become the second most important social platform. It leapt into the second spot with 73% usage among marketers and is the platform they most want to learn more about. The use of Instagram advertising rose 31% this year.

Twitter usage has declined. 59% report using Twitter, so it’s hardly insignificant, yet it took a hit this past year. Only 4% claim Twitter is their most important platform.

LinkedIn’s high on the B2B radar. Overall, LinkedIn ranks fourth at 58%. However, among B2B marketers, LinkedIn ranks second behind Facebook.

YouTube remains strong.  YouTube is the top video channel used by marketers. Facebook’s second. 71% of marketers plan to increase their use of YouTube.

And the others… Pinterest usage rose slightly to 28%. Snapchat declined. Interest in messenger bots has declined as well. No other platforms were included in the study.

The numbers here indicate the social media platforms marketers have deemed most important over the past five years. Facebook, the definitive leader, rose for four years but fell in 2019. LinkedIn and Twitter have declined. Instagram, while registering only 14% in 2019, is the sole platform that has steadily inclined. 

It’s time to get creative

For decades, sharing your content and curating additional content you deem valuable have been staples in the social media marketing mix. Doing so is easy, fast and free. And, if you’ve done the hard work required to earn authority in your niche, your followers probably value the recommendations you make for content consumption.

However, given the daily avalanche of “read this” posts, in the interest of increasing engagement, it’s time to get creative and experiment with different approaches.

Let’s dig in now to 12 social media content ideas that could help increase engagement on your followers’ feeds and your profile pages.

1. Shoot and share itty bitty videos

Social video generates 12 times the shares than text and images combined. 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others. (Source: WordStream)

Video continues rocking the web and every social platform has become a viable video channel. Are you avoiding video because you lack the chops to shoot and edit broadcast quality stuff? Get over it and get into it by making short and simple video clips with your phone and posting them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

2. Go live “on the air/wire”

The 15th edition of Sprout Social’s Index, titled, Empower & Elevate, reveals that two of the top four things consumers want to see from brands are live video and user-generated content. The data also shows the majority of marketers understand these social media content ideas have grown increasingly important.

What’s more, a recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) shows more than half of live streaming video viewers watch content via social platforms. You can go live with video on all the leading social media platforms—and then some.

ClickMeeting, one of the leading webinar solutions, offers a feature that enables you to livestream your webinars to Facebook and YouTube to reach a wider audience and engage followers.

3. Highlight your customers

User-generated content can give your brand some serious cred. In the “Social trends on the rise” chart above, you see 55% of marketers now recognize it will become increasingly important.

You can make your customers the focus of your social media content with customer stories, hashtag campaigns, contest entries, events and many other ways. Show your customers and audience at large you appreciate them and you’re bound to see greater engagement from them.

4. Collaborate with other brands

Check out those numbers on the top line above. In July alone, Pura Vida Bracelets earned nearly 3-million likes from the 141 new photos it posted.

After seeing this, I had to talk to someone at Pura Vida Bracelets and was fortunate enough to get the company’s co-founder Griffin Thall on the phone. When I asked him to share the secrets to the company’s success with Instagram, he credited the high-quality photos they share of beaches, beauty, and bracelets, swipe-able stories tied to promotions, and collaborative promotions, which he dubbed “brand2brand” giveaways.

Here’s a great example of the approach. The giveaway partners Pura Vida with Hydroflask, Vans, Polaroid and Hershel for the “Ultimate Back to School Giveaway.” Did the strategy work? Look closely: 187K likes and 64K comments!

5. Interact with “ask me” events

Create opportunities to interact with followers via a live chat and/or webinar-style video designed to share your expert insights. If the approach shows potential, consider creating a series. “Ask me” events will help you learn more about your audience’s issues and needs, foster goodwill and position you as an authority.

6. Give it up with “takeovers”

Inject a guest star into your social media feed by letting someone else “takeover.” Many brands have found that handing off their social account to a partner, influencer or celebrity can draw a crowd and expand reach by introducing a fresh voice and new content.

Cool example: Little, Brown and Company, a publisher with 146K Instagram followers, invites authors to take-over their account to promote new releases and engage the Insta community with thoughtful content. 

7. Make bite-sized content

Again, think small. Most content marketers are familiar with the idea and practice of repurposing content. Parlay the idea to social media and content ideas can come flying forth.

Consider any substantial piece of content you’ve created: an eBook, article, blog post, infographic, video, podcast, and so on. Then, extract a small—and provocative—slice of it to share via your social channels.

I took my own advice and shared the first tip from one of my popular infographics in a recent LinkedIn update. 

8. Take your social cause to social media

Social media’s good for social causes and if your brand’s giving back why not create content to rally the troops and foster your movement?

Boxed Water promotes environmentalism by partnering with the National Forest Foundation. They plant two trees for every tweet that includes the hashtag #ReTree.

And now for another important data-based insight…

The data below shows likes and shares mostly come by way of social posts that (1) entertain (2) inspire and (3) teach.

9. Share interviews

You can work toward accomplishing the entertain/inspire/teach trifecta with interviews of influential professionals in your industry. A number of services enable you to conduct interviews in real-time on social channels and, of course, the interviews can be repurposed in various forms across the media you choose.

10. Poll your audience

Conducting polls via social media can generate useful insights or can serve as another form of entertaining social content.

HelloFresh uses polls to ask users cooking-related questions and allows them to swipe up to discover the answers. (Source: Econsultancy)

11. Reward interaction with contests and giveaways

Promote the chance to win something of value and your audience will respond. Contests and giveaways can be very entertaining and have proven to be one of the most impactful social media ideas for inspiring engagement.

Tailwind research claims 91% of Instagram posts with more than 1,000 likes or comments are related to a contest. Accounts that run contests often grow 70% faster.

12. Take your camera backstage

One key to engagement is making a personal connection. Realize, your company is comprised of people that can help create a fun and trustworthy brand. Candid “behind the scenes” looks at your company are easy to create and help humanize your brand.

Show off your people’s interests, office antics, processes, and more. Simply pull back the curtain and have fun with it.

Adobe embraces the idea of sharing employee moments so much so they’ve created an #AdobeLife brand, which aims to give potential recruits a look at the company’s work environment. Content is shared on a blog as well as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. 

Breathe new life into your social media content mix

Again, I don’t mean to be dissing the many types of social media posts that have become mainstream, such as:

  • How-to content
  • Industry research
  • Educational resources
  • Promotions
  • Discounts
  • New product releases
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Company milestones
  • Event information
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Favorite tools
  • Holiday wishes

Each of the above has its merits and when executed with care—and compelling copy—could have magnetic properties. However, I dug into this topic for a reason…

Social media’s competitive. The top networks are crowded with brands seeking to connect but are crammed full of the same old, same old.

According to Social Media Examiner’s report, social media marketers deem the following five benefits most important:

  • Increasing exposure
  • Increasing traffic
  • Generating leads
  • Improving sales
  • Developing loyal fans

It’s unlikely you’ll achieve these lofty goals by following the pack strictly with content that’s 100% par for the course. While I may not have uncovered every possible way to zig when the general populous zags, I hope to have inspired some ideas to make your social content less predictable.

Feel free to mix, match, and veer any which way you believe might breathe life into your social media feeds. Variety is likely to serve you well.

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