My Queue

Your Queue is empty

Click on the next to articles to add them to your Queue

Social Media

Get Over Your Creativity Block With These 20 Social Media Content Ideas

It's easy to get stuck in a creative rut. However, these ideas can help you out.
This story originally appeared on Buffer
Get Over Your Creativity Block With These 20 Social Media Content Ideas
Image credit: via Buffer

As a social media manager, it can be super fun to strategize and come up with multiple ways to share content with your audience.

But it’s also easy to get stuck in a creative rut.

I know I’ve certainly found myself pondering questions like:

  • What content should I share on our social media profiles?
  • How can I share a blog post on Facebook in a new, creative way?
  • How can I use the latest Instagram feature effectively?

To help you answer these questions, and countless others, we put our heads together to come up with 20 creative ways for sharing content on social media.

Related: How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Community and Increase Your Reach

The strategies included below are tried and tested -- everything we cover has worked for us at Buffer.

Let’s get right into it…

20 creative ways to share your content on social media

If you want to print this out, here’s a version with a white background.

Let’s dive in!

1. Turn a blog post into a video.

When we noticed that our videos were generating more engagement than our images and links, we started producing more videos. One way we get ideas for our videos is to look to our blog -- here!

And one way we get ideas for video content is to look back at some of our best-performing blog content.

By pulling our key ideas and data from a blog post, we can easily turn blog posts into short videos to share on our social media channels.

Animoto is great if you want to create simple videos quickly -- it’s one of Brian‘s go-to video tools. It provides many templates and stock videos and allows you to create square videos -- which we found to be more effective than landscape videos.

If you want to create more complex videos like the below example, we tend to use After Effects.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Use Animoto (or your favorite video-editing tool) to turn one of your recent blog posts into a short 30-second video.

2. Create a how-to video.

Another way to utilize video is to create a totally new piece of content from scratch.

Here are some video ideas for you:

  • Tips
  • How-to guides
  • Customer stories
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • User-generated content
  • Product announcements
  • Company announcements or milestones

You don’t need expensive, fancy tools and applications to get started either. Many of the videos we publish at Buffer are recorded using a smartphone.

As many social media platforms auto-play videos without sound, it’s great to add captions to your videos, too. This way, your followers can still understand your video even if they don’t turn on the sound.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Create a video with three tips or information that will help, educate or entertain your followers. Here’s a guide on social media video marketing to help you get started.

Once you’ve created your content, quickly and easily schedule posts for all of your social accounts and Buffer will publish them automatically, according to the posting schedule you put in place.

3. Go live.

Live videos are a great way to increase your organic reach and drive engagement.

Like our live video above, your live videos don’t have to be professionally-produced or scripted (though, it would be a good idea to plan your video a little).

Here’s another example: a short two-minute live video by Eric Fisher of Social Media Examiner about a new Instagram update.

Suitable for: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (Periscope)

An idea to try: Take your social media followers behind the scenes live. You could show them your team-bonding activities, work sessions or simply a tour of your office.

If you are feeling a little stuck, HubSpot has shared 11 cool live streaming ideas for Facebook, Periscope and more.

4. Interview someone (live).

Another fun video idea you could try is to interview someone. If you like a bit of a challenge, you could try doing it live. But if live streaming scares you (like it does to me), you could opt to do a recorded video interview for a start.

For the Facebook Live video above, we used BeLive, which allows more than one person to be on the live stream.

To edit your videos, you could use a free video-editing tool, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

Suitable for: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Record an interview with a colleague, customer or industry expert and upload it directly to Facebook (instead of uploading to YouTube and posting the link on Facebook).

5. Post 360 photos or videos.

If you are up for trying something (fairly) new, play around with 360 photos and videos for Facebook. (The 360 photo above is my attempt at taking a 360 photo of the Buffer team during our recent Madrid retreat.)

To take a 360 photo, you need to take a photo that’s wider than 100 degrees using the panaroma feature on your smartphone and Facebook will automatically convert it into a 360 photo.

Related: How to Keep Up With Social Media Updates in 10 Minutes a Day

To record a 360 video, you could try Giroptic iO, a $249 360 camera which can be used for Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter (Periscope) and YouTube Live

An idea to try: Take a 360 photo of your next event and share it on your Facebook Page.

6. Attach a GIF.

We recently found great success with using GIFs in our tweets. Instead of sharing an image with a blog post, we choose a relevant (and often funny) GIF to go alongside the blog post.

My hunch on why GIFs are working for us is this: As GIFs autoplay they stand out in the stream of tweets and catch our followers’ attention.

Suitable for: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram

An idea to try: Attach a relevant GIF to your tweet when you are sharing your blog posts (if this is in line with your brand).

Here’s our ultimate guide to GIFs which includes everything from how to create a GIF, where to find great GIFs and how to use GIFs in your marketing.

7. Curate user-generated content.

Our Instagram strategy is built on curating awesome photos from the Buffer community. And user-generated content has helped us grow our Instagram following from about 4,000 at the start of 2016 to over 29,000 followers now.

Suitable for: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

An idea to try: Experiment with a short user-generated content campaign (and you can decide if you want to continue with it after the experiment).

Here’s a guide to creating a user-generated content campaign to help you get started.

8. Use a self-explanatory image.

The use of images in social media posts has gradually become a norm. To stand out from most posts today, you’ll have to go one step further. Here’s what is working well for us: Self-explanatory images.

Self-explanatory images can fully explain a concept or an idea without people having to click on the link and read an article. On the other hand, quality stock photos are usually too abstract to convey the message.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram

An idea to try: Try answering these three questions (by Brian Peters, our Digital Marketing Strategist) the next time you want to share an image on social media:

  • Would this image make sense with no caption at all?
  • Does this image contain relevant or insightful content?
  • Would I share this content myself?

If you answer “yes” to at least two of the three questions, you have likely found yourself a self-explanatory image.

9. Use charts or graphs.

Another type of self-explanatory image is charts and graphs.

What we like to do is to find interesting social media studies and turn key findings into a chart. This way, our followers can quickly learn about the key finding from the study just by looking at the chart.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: The next time you find an interesting study about your industry, see if you can turn some of the statistics into a chart or graph. Google Sheets is a great tool to create simple charts and graphs.

10. Share a relevant, helpful infographic.

According to a blog post by HubSpot, Mass Planner found that infographics are liked and shared three times more than other any other type of content.

But just like images in social media posts, the quality bar for infographics has increased over the years. I believe the best infographics share helpful, relevant information with the audience.

For the infographic above, our followers liked that it’s something handy that they can refer to while they work.

Suitable for: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

An idea to try: Turn one of your blog posts into an infographic.

Here are seven tools to help you create amazing infographics in 30 minutes.

11. Partner with another brand.

This requires a little more planning and organization than most tactics mentioned in this post but it’ll be worth it.

Mutually-beneficial partnerships have helped us reach new audiences and grow our blog readership and our social media following over the last year.

When you work on a piece of content with a partner, you could both share it or re-share each other’s social media post about the content. That’ll help both of you reach an audience that might not have heard of you before, which can help grow your social media following.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Create a piece of content (which can be a blog post, infographic, or video) with a company which is in line with your brand and co-promote it together.

This post goes into detail about how we do this -- native un-advertising as we call it.

12. Do a social swap.

Here’s a slightly simpler tactic than working on a content partnership, that can generate similar benefits. We call it a ‘social swap.'

In a social swap, two companies exchange relevant content regularly and share the other company’s content on their own social media accounts. In the example above, Entrepreneur Magazine posted a blog post by Help Scout.

With a social swap, you get great content to share on your social media accounts and benefit from having another company share your content.

Gregory Ciotti, a former marketer at Help Scout, shared that this tactic brought in referral traffic and grew their social media following. If you want to learn more about this tactic, Gregory wrote more about this idea in his blog post on content promotion.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Find a company that has an audience you would like to reach andwould benefit from having more content on the topic you create. Reach out to the social media manager and see if she or he will be up for a social swap.

13. Organize a social contest.

Whenever we hit a milestone, such as turning six as a company or launching a new podcast, we love to give away some swag through a social contest.

We found that these posts tend to generate the most engagement from our followers.

Here are a few things you can invite your followers to do to participate:

  • Comment
  • Tag a friend
  • Share a post
  • Tweet with a hashtag
  • Post a photo and use your branded hashtag

Suitable for: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+

An idea to try: Organize a social contest by asking your followers to comment or tag a friend. The price could be a free product from you, swags or gift vouchers.

14. Poll your audience.

Another way to get your followers involved is to do a poll.

There are many ways to use polls to engage your followers, such as these 13 examples from real brands according to HubSpot.

We have used polls to engage our followersconduct (unscientific) customer research and even give away Buffer swags.

Suitable for: Twitter, Facebook (Group) and Google+

An idea to try: Do a poll asking your followers what they would love to see you share on social media.

15. Ask a question or for help.

People love to help others, especially the people or brands that they love.

We recently asked our followers for their help with a blog post we’re writing, and I was blown away by the responses. Within a day, our followers shared more than a hundred of their favorite websites and blogs.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

An idea to try: Ask your followers for feedback or suggestions on something you or your team is working on now.

16. Pull an interesting stats from a blog post.

Using a statistic in your introduction is often recommended as a way to “hook” your readers and keep them reading.

This method can be used for social media posts, too. If the statistic is relevant (and shocking) to your followers, they might be more intrigued to read your blog post or watch your video.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+

An idea to try: If some of your blog posts have interesting statistics, use them as the caption of your social media post and invite your followers to find out more in your blog post.

17. Pull a meaningful quote from a blog post.

Pulling a quote from your blog post or someone else’s article is a good way to summarize the content.

Sometimes, we like to follow-up with a question, asking our followers if they agree with the quote.

Related: 18 Ways to Use 'Social Proof' to Boost Your Marketing

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+

An idea to try: Instead of sharing the title of your blog post, pull a quote that contains the key idea of your blog post and use that as your caption. You could also add a question to encourage engagement.

18. Create a list in the caption.

If your blog post has a list of ideas or tips, you could extract the list and use it in your caption.

This way, your followers can learn something from your social media post without having to read your full blog post.

Such lists work well for giving context about the blog post and invoking curiosity. 

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest

An idea to try: Extract the key points of your recent listicle (or any other blog posts with a list) to form a list in your social media post caption.

19. Add emoji or symbols.

Here’s an easy (and fun) one to try!

As emoji have become a big part of the social media language, they offer a great way to connect and engage with your followers.

You would want to consider if using emojis is in line with your brand image, too.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn (if it’s in line with your brand image on LinkedIn)

An idea to try: Add one or two relevant emoji to the end of your social media post caption.

Here are the shortcuts for adding emojis on Mac and Windows and three ways for using emojis in your marketing.

20. Share or retweet your followers’ posts.

The last tactic is also an easy one to try: share or retweet your followers’ posts on your own timeline.

I think it is a nice gesture of showing appreciation to your followers for mentioning you or sharing your blog posts.

Suitable for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+

An idea to try: Find and retweet three mentions of your company on Twitter. You can use Buffer to schedule your retweets by not adding a message to a scheduled retweet.

This story originally appeared on Buffer