Churning out blog posts is a good way to generate lots of content that you can post on social media, but at some point it’s good to start diversifying. To prevent you from trying to reinvent the wheel, we’ve put together a list of seven different types of content that you can start using right away as part of your social media marketing strategy.
1. How-to guides
Some might consider how-to guides as a sub-section of blog posts, but the difference is they can serve as an excellent anchor for other pieces of content. Not only are they valuable and able to stand the test of time, how-to articles are the perfect place for people to link to when talking about your site.
Try and avoid creating guides that explain really obvious skills. You want to show off your expertise, help customers complete a particular task, or learn a new skill. If you make your how-to guides valuable, people will share them far and wide, whereas a second-rate article is unlikely to get a second look.
We’ve posted about what type of content works best with what social network in the past, but it’s worth noting that images can offer a welcome break from an onslaught of purely textual blog posts. You could try sharing an image that features an inspiring quote, or something funny from a recent company event.
The possibilities are limitless, but just make sure the image is suited to your business. A company selling financial software might not be able to get away with posting hilarious cat pictures, whereas a clothing label aimed at mothers and toddlers will. If you’re feeling adventurous, remember that rules were made to be broken – just so long as you have a way to measure the results.
Infographics are an extension of images, expect for the fact they usually include lots of data and valuable information. Their popularity is growing by the day, especially on social networks that focus on visual elements like pictures and videos.
If you’ve got an in-house designer, they will be the person best suited to the task. For smaller operations, your best bet is to seek out a freelance designer who has the skills you’re looking for. Sites like oDesk are an excellent option, but remember that you can also turn up some good results by using a simple Google search.
It’s a shame that people feel they don’t have the time to read anymore, but it also means you should be paying attention to other forms of visual communication. Video is one such medium and it can be a great way to cut through the noise on social media.
The videos you create don’t have to rely on blockbuster budgets either. Create a few screencasts that go over a particular product feature, introduce people to some of your employees, or hire someone to animate a video about a particular aspect of your company. While there are those that won’t settle for anything less than professional quality videos, keep in mind that you can still get great results with “homemade” videos that were filmed on an iPhone or other handheld device.
5. Ask questions
Social media is an excellent way to promote yourself, but remember that it was designed as a two-way communication tool. That’s why it’s a good idea to reach out every now and again to see what’s on your customer’s mind. One more thing, stay away from throwaway questions like “How’s your day going?” and “Who’s excited about our upcoming product launch?”
Aim for intelligent questions that actually require some thought to answer. You can ask product-specific questions like “Have you found any original uses for our amazing widget even though it was never designed to do them?” Or how about more personal questions like, “Does anyone celebrate Christmas in a way that might seem unusual to others?”
The questions you come up with will vary depending on what you sell, but make sure they are relevant, well thought out, and the potential starting point for a conversation. Also, don’t be afraid to reply to people on social media, instead of just posting a question and then forgetting about it until a week later.
Most businesses like to share testimonials on their home or sales page, but there’s nothing stopping you from sharing good reviews with your fans on social media. The shorter the time between when you receive the reviews, and when they get posted on social media, the better. Fans are more likely to trust a review that happened last week, versus another that was submitted years ago.
If you’re able to get a positive review from an industry expert or someone else with a lot of clout, then don’t be shy about using the testimonial more than once. Posting the same review every day for a month would be overkill, but once or twice week should be enough to get your message across without annoying your customers.
7. Case studies
Case studies take testimonials one step further as they dig into the nitty gritty of why someone enjoys using your product or service so much. Unlike testimonials, case studies back up a positive review with actual statistics, personal stories, and other evidence that will bolster a customer’s confidence.
You could also try making these case studies a regular occurrence, that way your social media following have something to keep coming back for. Regardless of how you use them, case studies are great way to prove that you’re selling something that works.
If you want even more ideas then check out this great article from Socialmouths which goes over 15 types of content marketing.
What type of content marketing works best with your business? Do your rely on one form more than the others?
Lead image by Bryon Lippincott via Flickr