What to post on social media

Sure, you’ve heard that social media could really help grow your business, but when it comes down to it you find yourself staring at the screen with no ideas. How do you know what to post on social media? And better yet, what not to post?


First, let’s talk about why

With more than 75% of the population using social media daily, you can expect that your customers can be found on social networks. In order to effectively leverage that you need to remember why people spend time online.

The top five reasons people use social media are:

1. To stay in touch with what friends are doing

2. To stay up-to-date with news and current events

3. To fill up spare time

4. To find funny or entertaining content

5. To share opinions

What to post

Notice anything in common among those five reasons? It’s all about THEM, not you. People aren’t on social networks to be marketed to, and honestly, they usually tune out the marketing that is there.

So then what do you post?

Post content that supports those five things. The secret to success on social is to become a part of the ecosystem that is there rather than force yourself and your organization on others by interrupting their good time.

I always tell people to treat social networks like in-person encounters. If you were at a party and someone said hello you would reply, maybe even have a brief conversation. It’s about interaction.

If someone walked into the room with a megaphone and interrupted everything to talk about the great sale they were having at Sam’s World of Socks, it isn’t likely anyone would drop what they are doing and run over to Sam’s. Or ever go to Sam's for that matter.

Imagine instead that naturally in the course of conversation someone said, “I discovered the coolest place yesterday, it’s called ‘Sam’s World of Socks’ and I found some really great deals there.”

The second scenario is obviously more appealing for a variety of reasons. No one likes to be pestered or interrupted, and we all especially dislike being yelled at. Good social marketing is a natural part of the conversation among friends rather than an unwelcome interruption.

Here are some examples of how to engage with people in the way that they like to interact online:

1. To stay in touch with what friends are doing

Example: If you have a brick and mortar location, invite people to tag you or post selfies to leverage what the kids call #FOMO (fear of missing out).

2. To stay up-to-date with news and current events

Example: Try some #Newsjacking, which is to capitalize on a relevant current event or news story that is relevant to what you do.

3. To fill up spare time

Example: Give people something fun to do. Maybe post a fun contest or hashtag challenge.

4. To find funny or entertaining content

Example: Why do you think the Ice Bucket Challenge was so popular? It was funny AND entertaining to watch people squirm when soaked in icy water.

5. To share opinions

Example: Try a quiz or a caption contest, or even ask an open-ended question.

What not to post

This is pretty simple really--don’t be the guy with the megaphone. The rules are pretty much the same as party etiquette.

  • Don’t talk about yourself too much
  • Listen to people and respond appropriately
  • Don’t talk about politics or religion
  • Don’t engage in arguments
  • Don’t put others down
  • Don’t be a bore
  • Don’t be a whiner, downer, or otherwise negative
  • Don’t brag
  • Don’t ramble on and on

A really good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that looks or feels like traditional advertising. Social media simply isn’t like other marketing channels and so the same kinds of marketing simply don’t work. The same ad that you are placing in the local newspaper simply has no place on Facebook.

The Big Idea

This is an opportunity to connect with your ideal clients and customers on a very human level. It’s a chance to have fun and reveal the personality of your brand, and it's an essential piece of any content marketing strategy. It’s also a primary method of communication for many of the people you want to reach, so you simply can’t afford to exempt yourself from the conversation.

what to post on social media

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