40 Social Media Content Ideas for Small Businesses
Due to today’s socially driven consumer-base, Social Media has become a vital point of marketing. Most business owners have heard “you HAVE to be on social media.” While that’s true, the key to success with social media content isn’t only that you use it — it’s how you use it.
As a small business owner, you may struggle to find the time to sit and think of amazing ideas for your social media content; such as what to post and when to post it.
Along with all of the other marketing and day-to-day operations of your business, you probably feel somewhat overwhelmed by the whole thing. This is understandable. There are so many different moving parts of internet marketing these days that it can be extremely difficult to keep up.
The good news is… there are affordable ways you can also put the power of social media marketing to work for your business.
This guide will help you get a jump-start on content you can post on social media to engage your fans and followers – and ultimately, boost sales and profits.
You will get 40 thought-provoking ideas that will ignite your creativity and ultimately increase your followers, build your credibility, keep existing customers coming back, and gain new customers.
Why Social Media?
Traditional marketing (while incredibly important) tends to be a one-way conversation with your customers and prospects. Social media marketing allows you to engage in a steady conversation with them, glean insights from their comments, and make informed, real-time decisions about your business.
Social media gives your loyal customers a platform to promote your brand for you, which can entice prospects to go from leads to new customers. You’ll also be given the opportunity to hear customer feedback, test new ideas, and evolve your strategy as you learn.
Important Social Media Stats
Another important reason to deploy a smart social media marketing plan is plain old volume. Marketing 101 teaches us to be where our customers are. By the billions, they are on social media networks. These recent stats may surprise you:
- By the end of 2014, 52% of online adults used two or more social media sites weekly. That’s up 10% from 2013.
- There are nearly 900 million (of the 1.5 billion) Facebook users who access the site from their phone. Daily.
- The numbers don’t skew toward one or two demographics. People on social media sites are comprised of all ages, socioeconomic groups, genders, religions, etc. In other words, your target audience is on social media.
In addition to volume, the changing behavior trends of consumers are another key factor to consider when creating your social media marketing strategy. Customers simply aren’t paying as much attention to traditional ads as they once did:
- 86% of people skip television commercials.
- A shocking 91% of consumers have unsubscribed from corporate emails they previously opted into.
- Almost half of all direct mail goes unopened.
- Internet and social media marketing make up 25% of all ads today. That number is expected to rise rapidly in the next few years.
This may be refreshing news to you if you’re already on track and revving up your online marketing initiatives. However, it could be bad news if you still haven’t started yet. Social media marketing is far less expensive than other traditional mediums; so this will make your Return on Investment (ROI) better than most traditional methods. In other words, you can generate more business for less money.
5 Common Myths About Social Media
If you have some preconceived notions about social media marketing, you’re not alone. Some of your instincts may be dead on, but some may only be hype, generated by people who still want you to place big media buys. While you’re growing, social media can be an incredible source of leads, brand building, and, well…income. It’s true, you’ll likely need the help of experts once you get started and have taken your social media presence as far as you can, but you may be surprised how far you can take it on your own. For starters, learn the truth about some common misconceptions:
Myth: I have to have a social media department to be successful.
Truth: Not necessarily. If you have the budget for the extra bodies, that’s great. Hire a team. But in a couple of hours a week, you can create and maintain a relevant and lucrative social media presence.
Myth: I don’t have time to post.
Truth: If you have two hours a week to dedicate to networking, phone calls and traditional marketing, you can absolutely carve out the time to be effective in social media. Furthermore, simply hiring a social media consultant to handle it for you will be less expensive than dedicated employees to do the job.
Myth: Social media sites are for young people.
Truth: Please scroll up and take a look at the data. Literally everyone and their mother are on social media. With a little help from the experts and free online tools, you can reach your target audience – no matter who they are.
Myth: The sites are too complicated for me.
Truth: Each network has a quick and simple tutorial. These sites were designed with simplicity in mind. With a minimal time investment, you can learn how to post and maximize your presence on each site.
Myth: There’s just not enough good stuff to post about my industry.
Truth: This myth is precisely why this guide exists. The prospect of filling an editorial calendar for your social media sites can be daunting. The idea can be so overwhelming that you may be missing some hidden nuggets to spark your creativity. Let’s get started.
40 Social Content Ideas to Ignite Creativity & Engage Your Audience
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities, but rather it intends to kick your mind into gear and inspire ideas. Once you start reading the items, we’re confident that your own ideas will spill onto the page (or screen) and give you the fuel you need to generate some killer content.
1. Sales, Coupons & Promotions.
Why not start with the obvious? Everybody loves a deal. Definitely keep your audience excited with special offers, discounts and promotions to people who are connected with you on social media. Not only will this keep them glued to as they await your next offer, but it’s a subtle way to increase sales.
2. Industry Stats & Data.
Large companies are great at this. Insurance and Financial Services organizations use stats and data (usually scary numbers) to drive action from their audiences. The same can work for small companies. Share key stats about yours and other related industries. Sometimes, your audience just needs some facts to help them understand the impact your business could have in their lives. In other words, it’s an effective way to soft-sell them on your services.
3. Links to Your Blog Posts.
Yes, you should blog! Believe it or not, you have relevant and useful things to say. After all, you own a business, so you probably have a lot to say. Once you put the blog on your website, drive traffic to it. How? Simply post a link to your blog posts on your social media profiles. This includes both new and older posts that may need to be re-highlighted.
People love to learn about something complicated by looking at a simple picture. Search for Infographics related to your industry and share them. Take it step further, and create your own infographics to share. Your audience will love these and share them with others as well. For instance, a small daycare may post a flowchart depicting different ways to handle a three-year-old’s tantrum.
5. Product Photos.
These can either be pictures of the product itself or of your employees or customers using it. Ask your customers to submit photos of their family engaged in an activity related to your business. For instance, a restaurant may ask for photos of their customers eating at their establishment. By making your customers feel like reality stars, you’ll attract more loyal followers and impressively boost overall social engagement. Not only that, but sometimes, “seeing is believing.” So posting images of your physical products can really entice people to buy.
6. Ask for Product Feedback, Testimonials, and Reviews.
Display instant social proof by simply asking your customers to tell you what they think about your business on social media. Don’t get too caught up thinking about negative reviews. In our experience, most reviews tend to skew on the positive side. Ask your best customers to say a few words about you, your staff, your products, and your services.
7. Offer Tips, Tutorials, and How-Tos.
Post quick tips in written, picture, or video form to help your audience with specific actions related to your product or service. You can probably think of a thousand things your customers and potential customers struggle with; help them out with a series of content to make their lives easier. A yoga instructor may give some tips to help his or her customers choose the best yoga mat or best retreat destinations.
8. Share Company News.
Your customers are more interested in your company’s milestones than you may think. Be sure to choose items wisely – the key word is “news.” Make sure the item is something noteworthy. Ask yourself, “Would I write a press release for this?” If so, you definitely want to post it. If not, think about who reads your posts and what angle of the story they’d be most interested in.
9. Share Up-To-Date Industry News.
Make sure you follow the major news in your industry. You can do this by subscribing to various RSS feeds, setting up Google Alerts, and setting filters on your news apps and Twitter account. When something of note pops up, share it with your customers. You even can add your own color commentary as well. Give your take on the issues and show that you’re not just copy/pasting for the sake of having content.
10. Curate Content from Other Sources.
In order to have a well-rounded content marketing strategy and social media presence, content curation is a necessity. Not only will this keeps things exciting for your audience, but it will also alleviate you from the task of constantly creating original content, which can be exhausting to say the least. It also allows you to stay up to date with what’s going on in your industry and being a part of the conversation.
11. Make Product & Service Recommendations.
Is there another great company, product, or service out there that works hand-in-hand with yours? Tell your audience about them and what they bring to the table. Is there something in your office you can’t live without? Recommend it to your followers to make their lives easier too. Your audience will appreciate your opinion, which will build trust and loyalty with them over time.
12. Post Customer Video Interviews.
When it comes to doing business, people love to see other people who have purchased the product or service. Ask your customers to sit down for an interview about their experience with your product or service and then share the video on your social media pages. This is a fun and easy way to get one-on-one with your customer base and help others put their guards down about your business.
13. Post a Variety of Videos.
These can either be simple pieces you create with your smartphone, professional productions, or your favorite relevant video from your Twitter feed that day. People simply love watching videos online, so you can’t lose by sharing good ones with them. As part of your marketing strategy, you should aim to set specific guardrails around video. What you like and what best represents your brand can be the same, or at odds. A well-defined strategy can help you decide what to post. Also, if you find other videos out there that your audience will benefit from, post those too.
14. Give Away an eBook.
If there is a common issue in your industry, or in your company specifically, offer a free eBook on the topic. Unsolicited advice is typically welcome if delivered in a genuinely helpful, non-salesy tone. People love getting answers to their questions, concerns, and problems – especially for free. Give these away to your social media audience in exchange for their email addresses; this is a powerful way to capture solid leads and build an email list outside of social media that you can later communicate to via email.
15. Reward Your Fans and Followers.
Speaking of giveaways, give a little perk to your superfans and followers. Take notice of the customers who are actively engaged with your pages and show them that you appreciate them. For example, a San Antonio, Texas spa offered 500 points in their free loyalty program for checking in at the spa on Facebook. By appearing on customers’ Facebook walls, this promotion was a great way to create exposure for their brand while also promoting their loyalty program. Win-win.
16. Post Quotes.
A great way to fill your editorial calendar is to have a designated day of the week (or every two weeks) to post a quote. These don’t have to be business related, but should reflect your brand’s beliefs. You can also find an industry leader, entrepreneur, or business guru you admire and follow his or her blog. Post the snippets and quotes you think will be most meaningful to your customers. There are several sites on the web that specialize in quotes on various themes. For instance, Pinterest is a social media site focused on images, so it’s the perfect place to grab inspiring or complementary quotes for your social media posts. Furthermore, if your business is based on visuals, create a Pinterest account yourself and post pictures of your products – this is a simple way to get more traffic back to your website.
17. Give Sneak Peeks at Upcoming Products or Services.
Social media is a great place to introduce and build anticipation about new products. For instance, if you own a restaurant and have created a new secret recipe pizza, you can start one day by posting a “coming soon” message. Then you can follow up by revealing one topping at a time, possibly creating a guessing game for customers leading to the big launch.
18. Give a Behind-the-Scenes Tour.
Take photos and videos of how your office operates and post them on your profiles. Most of your customers would probably love to see what’s really going on in the day-to-day operations of your establishment. This is a great way to help them put their guards down and feel more comfortable doing business with you because they feel like they “know” you. So pull back the curtains and let them see how you do what you do.
19. Share Great Reading Material.
If there’s a great book out there that compliments your product or service, tell your social media audience about it. As you know, there are millions of book fans out there and they appreciate being notified about great titles that they can add to their reading list.
20. Answer FAQs.
Hold Q & A sessions where you answer your fans and followers questions related to your industry. They will appreciate the fact that you are taking out the time to give them free, valuable advice. Also, before you hold the Q & A, try to anticipate some of the questions your customers may ask and have the answers ready to go. It’s OK to be reactive and actually answer questions as they come, but customers are impressed when you proactively predict what they want to know and post the solutions for them.
21. Spotlight Your Employees.
Similar to customer interviews, try the same practice with your employees. Featuring the brains behind your brand can help put a human face on your company. It can also act as an employee incentive program whereby great performance is rewarded with a little face time on the company’s site and social media profiles.
22. Post About Events.
If you host a celebration or participate in a community event, make sure you post photos or a write up on what it was like to be there on your social media profiles. You can also promote the event leading up to the big day. If you are having an event that you want to invite your social media fans to, Facebook has an “Event” feature that allows you to create an event on Facebook and invite a select group or everyone. These invitations can reach thousands of people in minutes. They also include an RSVP feature that makes it easy for invitees to accept or decline the invitation. Creating events on Facebook can be an effective, low-cost way to market your business event.
23. Share Company History.
Did your company’s building used to be a bottling plant? Or maybe the former owner joined the circus. Even if you don’t think your history is that colorful, dig around and you may find something post-worthy. City records contain a wealth of information regarding deeds, zoning and former owners; so you can start there if you want to share this type of information with your followers.
24. Post Fun Stuff.
Sometimes, you should just post something lighthearted. If you’re not comfortable posting anything humorous, try something inspirational. Try and reserve these posts to simply fill in times in between your regular posts. For the most part, keep your content focused and related to your industry.
25. Conduct Surveys and Polls.
This is a great way to show your audience that you respect them enough to get their input on certain areas of your business. Whether you simply want some feedback on how they feel about a certain product, or you are looking to get information to help you create the perfect new product, just ask them. How would they make your products better? What kinds of products would they like to see in the future? You may be surprised with at the extremely valuable insight you get from your social media audience.
There are many different types of tools and software out there to help make this process simple. As a result, you can gain valuable insight to what your audience is thinking about any topic imaginable.
26. Reply to Your Audience.
It may be hard to believe, but some businesses don’t respond to their social media audience’s posts at all. Make sure to keep the conversation going. Reply to ALL of your customer comments. It can be time consuming, but responsiveness is critical to your brand’s reputation. Set a goal for how quickly you respond to customers. Your turnaround time should be dictated by the nature of the post. For example, you’ll want to respond to a customer grievance promptly, where you can take a little more time to respond to other comments. Some business owners are petrified by the idea of receiving real time negative feedback about their products and services on a public stage. But when you stand behind your brand and display your ability to provide world-class customer service, responding to customer headaches will actually put your business in a positive light.
27. Clear Up Myths and Misunderstandings.
Post a common industry myth and give your take. A dog breeder may debunk common fears regarding Pit Bulls and post a series of videos featuring his or her furry friends and facts about the breed. To keep this conversation going, you can do a quick search for related articles and follow-up by posting the additional content.
28. Share Before & Afters.
Everyone loves to see something change for the better. As a business, social media is a great way to pat yourself on the back and show your audience what you can do for them. Whether you’re a cosmetic dentist who gave someone that perfect smile or an interior designer who totally revamped a home, tell the story of how you made something better and why your company is the one to choose.
29. Run Contests.
If you really want to increase engagement, gain new leads, and drum up enthusiasm, social media contests are a fun and effective way to do so. It’s an affordable and measurable way to get your audience excited about doing business with you. Just be sure to set realistic goals and be creative. When implemented as part of a comprehensive social media strategy, contests will provide excellent results.
30. Feature Other Local Businesses.
Most likely, there are some other businesses in your area that are complementary to yours – not “competitors” but complementary. Try featuring these companies in your posts as a way to notify your audience about other valuable resources in the area. Not only will your audience appreciate it, but it could also lead to powerful connections between you and those businesses. Highlight their achievements, current events, and even special offers – and ask that they do the same for you. Choose companies that are related to your industry in some way and show your audience that you associate with the best.
31. Feature Your City.
Are there interesting things about the city you’re located in? Post fun facts and history about your town from time to time. This will solidify that trustworthy and “close to home” feeling, which will make more of your audience stick around.
32. Recommend Other Businesses and People to Follow on Social Media.
If there are other businesses or people on social media that you like and respect, recommend that your audience follows them. Obviously, only do so when that business or person complements your business on some level. You can also refer them to groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance, that they may find valuable.
33. Post Podcasts.
Create an audio series on a single topic and post a link to it your social media sites. Many people love having the option to listen to content vs. reading it. Turn some of your written blog posts into recorded mp3 files and make them available to your social media followers. Also, you can share other businesses’ podcasts with your audience as well.
34. Thank Your Followers and Fans.
Sometimes, a simple “thank you” can go a long ways with your social media audience. People like to feel appreciated, so every now and then, just hit them with a simple “thank you” post and tell them why you appreciate them.
35. Write Reviews.
If you’ve personally used a particular product or service that complements your business, take the time to write reviews for them. Customers and business partners alike will find them useful and appreciate that you took the time to give them your take on how good or bad the product or service is.
36. Offer Your Expert Opinions.
If there’s a debatable topic related to your industry, your audience would love to hear how you feel about it. So let them know. This is a great way to build authority status in your niche and gain more social media fans and followers along the way.
37. Interview an Expert.
If there’s another expert in your industry that could potentially bring value to your fans and followers, conduct an interview with them and share it on social media. This can be done in video, podcast, or even written format. The key is that the expert has some relevant, useful content to share.
38. Test and Learn.
Use your social media platforms to showcase product or process ideas and listen to the reactions. Record the responses and apply the feedback. Depending on what it is, you may hear some confusion and noise, but that’s OK. Any feedback you get will inevitably be nuggets of invaluable insight that you can utilize to improve your processes, products, and services.
39. Create Quizzes.
Create “buzzfeed-style” short quizzes that result in new and helpful knowledge. In order to maximize the exposure your quizzes get on social media (and to maximize traffic back to your website), you need a quiz topic that resonates with your audience. Only focus on one group of people and topic for the best results.
40. Ask Your Audience.
Sometimes, it’s OK to be lazy. Just ask your customers what kind of content they’d like to see. Take notes and in your next marketing meeting, brainstorm ideas related to your customers’ requests.
Social Media Content Ideas Conclusion
Thank you for reading this post on social media content ideas. We hope you found the social content ideas inspiring and the recommendations useful. As a small business owner, you work in one of the most challenging and admirable places in the business world. You have the freedom of being your own boss, but you also have the responsibility of making your company a success. That may entail gaining skills you’ve never had before, like social media marketing.
When it comes to growing your business and marketing your brand, it’s difficult to know all of the answers right away; especially in the case of online marketing. But have confidence that there are plenty of techniques and strategies available that can take your business to new heights when implemented properly and ran with consistency.
We help small businesses tackle the chore of getting started on social media and maintaining their efforts going forward. Contact us today at [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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