When talking to entrepreneurs and bloggers there is one question that comes up fairly often: What the heck are you posting on your social media channels all the time? How do you keep those channels active without going crazy and spending far too much of your time on social media when you really want to be busy working on other stuff? What social media posts will engage and build a relationship with my audience?
And I agree, without ideas what to post, it not only takes time to come up with a good post but it will also be a nuisance and no fun to keep your social media accounts active.
While promotional posts and your helpful content is a great start to keep your social media accounts active, for most social networks you need a little more variety of updates to inspire engagement and build a relationship with your audience.
Just think: Which accounts do you follow on Instagram? Which accounts do you notice? Which updates are you waiting for?
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My answer is: Accounts that tell stories, that have a great variety of posts and actively engage.
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Here is a variety of update ideas to not only keep your social accounts active but to also earn more reach, grow your followers and increase your engagement and interaction.
1. Share your content in your social media posts
Yes, you are not only allowed to do this. If you have a targeted audience, your audience will like your content and find it helpful. That is why you should give your audience value through your content, after all, you created this content for them.
The content that you post to social media should not be promotional – or at least not all the content that you post to our social media channels should be promotional. This means if you only have your products to talk about, be careful that you mix it up on your social media channels with other non-promotional stuff.
If you need some help to figure out how much promotion and how much other stuff you should post, check out the 80/20 rule for posting on social media.
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2. Ask a question
Are you looking for engagement? Then start a conversation. A question can be a great way to increase engagement.
Of course, this needs your social media accounts to have some followers – or no one will see your question and the engagement you were looking for will never come.
With questions on your social media channels you can also get a ton of inspiration for content creation and topics your audience is interested in. I used questions to increase engagement on social media channels.
And sometimes the answers you get will surprise you – and entertain you.
Questions that often get good engagement are questions that everybody can easily answer in short words. Questions that ask for complicated answers are often not the easiest to start a conversation.
On Twitter, you can also use Polls to ask questions. That makes engagement even easier.
3. Answer a question
I have found inspiration for blog posts, for ebooks, for conversations on Twitter. Conversations with entrepreneurs and on events have given me great stories to tell to my audience. I have built relationships and found more followers on social media – all through conversations and answering questions.
The easiest way to find questions from your niche that you may want to answer is to set up a search for keywords or keyphrases. You may need to play around with the keywords until you find the best combination that really gives you conversations from your niche.
You can then set up a feed for all tweets mentioning these keywords, for instance, in Tweetdeck. Check the feed once a day and answer all tweets that you can. Check your notifications tab for answers.
You can also follow a couple of Facebook pages from your niche that post questions and you should watch your groups (if you are part of any) for discussions and questions you can answer.
You can also pick up questions from outside the social networks and post question and answer in one post.
4. Show how/where you work
Sharing valuable information is good. But people like to picture the person talking to them. You can give them an image – and even influence the image they have from you by posting glimpses of your working life.
You can share an image of your office – or a story from your commute to work. Are you celebrating something with your co-workers? Share an image of a birthday cake. New office furniture? Put an image on your social channels.
Be creative and see what ideas you can come up. Create a story around your workplace and your co-workers.
5. Give your audience a voice
There is a reason that customer reviews are so important in marketing and sales. People do not only want to know what YOU think about you. They want to know how your customers talk about you.
You can fill this need for background information by giving your audience and customers a voice:
- You got an interesting comment on Twitter – share the tweet. If you are not sure you should mention the Twitter account, you can easily anonymize the tweet by blacking out the twitter handle.
- A customer emailed you nice feedback – ask if you can share this feedback on social media.
- You can send your customers some questions and ask for answers
- You can send questions to your subscribers – hopefully, some of them will answer
If you post a comment or feedback from any person, make sure that you ask the person if they are ok with you making it public – or make the comment anonymous.
6. Post from an event you are attending
If networking events, conferences or meetups are part of your blogging or business strategy, you can use these to spice up your social media posts.
- Did you meet a widely known person? Tell your audience about it.
- Did you listen to an interesting talk? Post some of the takeaways.
- Did someone you talked to ask an interesting question? pass the question on to your audience.
There are endless ways to get inspiration for content on social media from events. I have found ideas for articles and posts. You just have to keep your mind open – and you will get a ton of information that you can pit into social media posts.
7. Let them laugh
Humor is a great way to connect. Make your audience smile once in a while and they will keep you in mind.
If you are very creative you can create your own images, memes or even graphic stories.
But there are also great funny images and memes out there that you could share. (Always make sure that you give credit to the owner if you share from someone else).
8. Curate valuable content
Maybe I should have mentioned this earlier on in this list. Content curation is usually a big part of growing an audience when you are new to the game and do not have thousands of pieces of valuable information on your own blog.
Sharing content from others is not only a great way to provide value to your audience. It is also a way of increasing your reach. Simply mention the social media account of the owner of the content when you share some of their content. Some of the content owners will engage with you. They may like it, share it or even comment on it. All of this will help you to get more attention to your (curated) social media post and grow your followers.
9. Tell something from YOUR story
People like to connect to people – not social accounts. If you share some more personal stories, you as a person will become feasible for your audience.
That does not mean that you should flood your (business) social media accounts with unrelated content. But giving the person behind the business a face or sharing some important milestones or glimpses into your private life can help to strengthen the connection with your audience.Click HERE to get our FREE Step-by-Step Twitter Marketing Guide.
10. Share a quote
Give other people a voice on your social accounts. Some influencers and experts have given some very inspirational advice. You can put a quote on an image and share it with your audience.
These quote images can sometimes inspire many likes and even shares.
11. Give a short tip
You do not always have to share links to your content if you want to share valuable information with your audience. Sometimes a short tip of one or two sentences can be just as valuable as a link to a long blog post.
12. Share a fact or statistic
Every niche, every topic has some interesting statistics and numbers. You can easily share these on your social media accounts. Either you use a text post – or you create an image with the number.
13. Clear up a misunderstanding or misconception from your niche
One of the most popular posts on our blog is a post where I clear up some misunderstandings or statements that are shared as social media wisdom but are utterly wrong.
You can use a common “fact” from your niche that you believe is wrong and make a short explanation of why you think this is wrong.
Depending on how strongly people believe this fact, this can inspire a heated discussion. Use the chance and talk to your audience! – and no, you do not always have to convince everybody.
14. Create an ongoing story in several parts
Some information needs too many words for one quick social media post. But some tips can be split up in several parts and posted as a sequence of posts.
- You could give a series of ideas to use your product.
- You can post a series of questions and answers
- You can post a series of ideas for posts on social media ?
- You can present useful tools.
- You can present Twitter accounts from your niche that people should be following.
- You can give a present every week for a couple of weeks.
Be creative, a series is easier done than it may sound.
15. Share a memory
One year ago, I was working on …
Where were you when,…
One year ago we were about to …
There are endless possibilities for posts on social media. But whatever you do, make sure that you optimize your post for each social network. You need images in the right dimensions. You have to consider whether you make a text post or share an image or a link. Some post ideas allow you to mention another social account.
You will notice how your audience responds to your posts. If you realize that you get a lot of engagement on one type of update you may want to consider to post more of these.
Do not annoy your audience with posts they do not like to get. But be prepared that it will take a while until you can build up engagement.
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