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10 Social Media Posts That Deserve a Place in Your Content Calendar These easy-to-customize structures can help you drive up engagement and attract a community of avid brand users.

By Andrew Raso

entrepreneur daily

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From solo entrepreneurs to Main Street businesses and multinational brands, marketers at all levels struggle with finding new ways to keep their followers' attention. I often see brands fall into the habit of posting repetitive types of content. This usually leads to a sharp drop in engagement.

Your followers need variety. If you don't mix it up a little bit, you'll risk losing their attention permanently. To inject some diversity, start working these 10 social post structures into your daily content calendar.

1. Ask a question.

Everyone has an opinion, and social media culture empowers people to share theirs. The pros at Kissmetrics tell us that "question" posts get 100 percent more comments than standard social media posts. For example, you might get people talking by asking, "What was your biggest social media fail?"

Be mindful of the type of engagement you seek. According to data from HubSpot, these types of posts will net you more comments but tend to accumulate fewer likes and shares.

2. Invite fill-in-the-blank responses.

This is a great way to boost engagement and subtly harness feedback from your audience. You could leverage that information for future content campaigns or use the insight you gain to improve processes and delight customers.

  • "The worst customer service experience I ever had was __________."
  • "If the power went out right now, I would __________ to pass the time."

3. Offer free advice and tips.

Your audience always is on the lookout for guidance they or their connections can put to use. Providing valuable content keeps your audience engaged and encourages sharing.

Advice posts are an opportunity to repurpose and promote aging content. You also can curate content from other sources, which can position you and your brand as authorities on the subject.

Related: 5 Dos and Don'ts of Thought Leadership Marketing

4. Split fans into two camps.

Want to drive up engagement? Split your followers in a head-to-head post and encourage them to pick sides.

This is a clever way to discover customers' product preferences and other areas of interest to improve your marketing strategies. In some cases, these can be fun posts that spark engagement and banter among fans.

  • "Snapchat or Instagram: Which camp are you in?"
  • "Did you know we have a Pokémon GO gym at our café? Shout out to your Pokémon team and tell "em who should claim this gym!"

5. Comment on trending topics.

Leave some room in your social calendar to occasionally cover trending topics as they crop up. It stands to reason that issues with the most relevance to your business also can have the most significant impact. For example, a food truck could create content around a new National [Food Item] Day.

Be sure to research and attach related hashtags so others easily can discover your content -- even if they weren't previously aware of or invested in your brand. Slick use of hashtags has been shown to increase engagement by as much as 21 percent.

6. Invite user-generated content.

Who really would pay attention to an average customer's photos and videos on your social media channels? A lot of people, as it turns out.

The majority of consumers (more than 90 percent) trust peer reviews and user-generated content over any company-produced material. If your fans post content that features you or your products, share it!

Recreate Yourself, Australia's largest online hair care and beauty supplier, frequently features user reviews on its Facebook page.

7. Post video.

Services such as Snapchat, Vine, Instagram and Facebook's native and live-video options mean sharing video never has been easier. It gives fans an inside look at your business and culture. It also connects them to your brand and staff on a more personal level.

Don't forget that consumers who view video are twice as likely to make a purchase. A study from Invodo also showed that 92 percent of mobile video users share with others the content they see.

Related: Here's How You Can Actually Make Money with YouTube

8. Leverage nostalgia.

This longstanding tactic is a perennial favorite in traditional marketing. Sharing content with a days-gone-by feeling captures attention within audience segments. You'll also draw subtle connections between your brand and the positive feelings your audience associates with the past. For instance, a clothing or fashion retailer could share throwback images of ripped jeans from the 1980s or JNCO jeans from the 1990s.

9. Schedule photos as content.

Did you know photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 more click-throughs on links than text-based posts? Photos enable you to tell a story visually, offer inside looks at the company, promote events or simply ask readers to caption a funny image. Share that content in right places, you you'll get quality backlinks as well.

10. Host promotions.

Statistics show that 35 percent of fans follow brands to stay updated on promotions. Another 42 percent follow for the discounts and special offers. Work these into your calendar to keep those followers engaged, but use these messages sparingly. Focus more on value than quick deals, or your posts will turn off consumers who view your content as spam.

Related: Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Must Innovate to Flourish in a Digital World

Andrew Raso

Co-founder and Director of the Online Marketing Gurus

Andrew Raso is the co-founder and director of the Online Marketing Gurus, a fast-growing, award-winning search company working with some of the world's leading brands, including Coca Cola, Salesforce and Freshbooks. Follow him on Twitter @marketinggurus3. 

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