You know you’ve gotta drum up fresh social media content ideas to keep your followers interested and attract new people to your account. But it can be downright exhausting to be creative every day and deliver content gold on multiple platforms.
So we’re here to help. With this cheatsheet of solid content ideas for each major social channel, you’ll keep your social media strategy ahead of the curve. You’ll never find yourself staring at a blank content calendar again.
Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.
1. Create a daily, weekly or monthly series
One great idea can become an engine for more great content if you turn it into a recurring series.
Vancouver magazine’s weekly “Takeout Thursdays” feature the food editor in a casual Instagram Live conversation with a local chef or food expert.
It’s way easier to think of a special guest or topic to plug into a pre-existing format than to start from scratch every week, and your audience can enjoy a little consistency in their torrid lives.
2. Run a contest or giveaway
Fact: people love free things.
Double fact: a giveaway is a quick and easy way to fill a hole in your content calendar in a snap.
Toss up a product shot and some instructions about how to enter like Fig. does here, and blam, there’s your Wednesday afternoon Instagram post, done and dusted.
Or, dig through our list of creative social media giveaways here for some inspiration to take your contest to the next level.
3. Host an AMA
Tap into your audience’s insatiable curiosity with an “ask me anything” live stream session.
Pro tip: try focusing the AMA on a specific topic, with a call for questions about your latest collection, or questions about entrepreneurship.
Some people like to do an Instagram, TikTok or Facebook live stream, answering questions right from the comments in the moment. Others like to do a series of Instagram Stories using the Question stickers, like congresswoman Alexandria Osacio-Cortez did with her AMA on Covid vaccines.
4. Run a social media takeover
Whether you team up with a big influencer with a large audience or a micro-influencer with a dedicated base (like Everlane did with an LA-based photographer), passing over the keys to your social account to someone with passionate fans can bring your account more engagement, sales, and followers. And it can free you from a day or week of content planning. Score!
Find more about running a successful social media takeover with our complete guide here.
5. Share some relevant content
As we put it in our ultimate guide to content curation, “Curated content is content created by others that you select to share on social media. This could be a valuable blog post from a company in your field, expert advice from a relevant thought leader, or anything else that you think your audience will appreciate and enjoy.”
In other words, if a great article, pin, Tweet or Youtube video already exists out there that your audience would love, why not share it?
Curated content can make your brand look like it has its finger on the pulse and like you’re actually there to engage and build community, not just toot your own horn.
Writer Ashley Reese doesn’t just share her own articles — she also shares sassy comments on retweets of Megan Thee Stallion in a big hat. And you can too.
Carmen Sandiego found dead in a ditch https://t.co/Chtb0aiB68
— Ashley Reese (@offbeatorbit) August 31, 2021
6. Repurpose your own content
If you’ve got an amazing blog post, why not create some graphics with quotes for Instagram? Or make a video inspired by the content to share on Facebook?
When you just share on one platform, you’re missing an opportunity to reach audiences who are following you elsewhere.
This isn’t to say it should just be a copy-paste or cross-post: this is about expressing existing ideas in fresh ways. Like how Hootsuite made a quick TikTok video to summarize the findings from a social media experiment blog post:
Yes, we tried to get shadowbanned 😳 Can you believe the results?! #instagram #shadowbanned #shadowban #socialmedia
♬ Sunny Day – Ted Fresco
7. Host a challenge
The challenges that tend to go viral online usually involve dance moves or eating something terrible, but you don’t have to go that far.
Ruggable, for instance, challenged its followers simply to “make a mess” and send the videos or pictures. These were then compiled into a video to offer social proof of the product’s washability, and to give fans a little shout-out.
We challenged you to have a blast on our rugs and you did great! Here’s a look back at our Camp Ruggable Challenge 🏕✨
Posted by Ruggable on Monday, October 12, 2020
8. Create a how-to or tutorial
Share your expertise with a tutorial or how-to video. This gives value to your followers and cements your status as a true pro in your field (or at least gives you cred as an entertainer).
Go Clean Co’s hypnotic cleaning guides are a great example and a super shareable resource for the next time your friend is like, “Wait, I’m supposed to clean my washing machine?!”
9. Celebrate “National Whatever Day!”
There are a trillion quirky holidays — and you may as well use them for a bit of inspiration.
For instance, here at Hootsuite HQ, our social team threw together a doggie sizzle reel for “International Dog Day.”
Now, our followers know we’re fun and like dogs.
To celebrate #InternationalDogDay we wanted to share this video of our #HootDogs 🐶 We miss seeing them around the office a little extra today.
Share pics of your pup(s) in the replies! 📸 #HootsuiteLife pic.twitter.com/pZLHWfF9LQ
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) August 26, 2021
10. Make a meme
By participating in silly trending meme formats, you can show off your brand’s sense of humor, or present your message in a fun package.
When people started making hyper-specific Spotify playlists to tell a story through song titles, Wendy’s got on board. And yeah, we’d jam to this.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) August 12, 2021
11. Give customers the spotlight
Show what your fans and customers are doing with a regular customer-spotlight feature. It showcases your product or service without being too advertise-y and gives your fans a moment to feel proud or special.
The Feathered Farmhouse decor boutique, for example, just started up a “What’d Ya Do With It? Wednesdays!” series.
12. Do a “This or That” poll
We live in an increasingly polarized society… why not lean into that and make your followers pick a side already? Like Dominos did with their post on cheesy bread versus bread bites.
Maybe you’ll spark a rousing (engagement-building!) debate, or maybe you’ll learn a little something about customer preferences. Either way: that’s a win.
Make your pick!
Stuffed Cheesy 👈 or 👉 Parmesan
Bread Bread Bites pic.twitter.com/4PLgyguxET
— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) August 4, 2021
13. Go behind the scenes
Whether it’s a live video or an edited one, your audience loves to get the dirt on what’s happening behind the scenes — so serve it up.
Billboard did just that with a behind-the-scenes video of their shoot with K-pop stars BTS.
But you don’t need to have pop idols on camera to make a splash with this sort of content. Give a tour of your office or show how your window display comes together in your brick-and-mortar store: viewers value an authentic sneak peek behind the polished final photos that wind up in the feed.
14. Share a milestone
Def Leppard is pumped about the 40th anniversary of the release of High ‘N’ Dry… and we’re sure you have some sort of momentous occasion worth celebrating, too! Your first year anniversary of opening your small business? Your 500,000th follower? Find a big ol’ round number and pat yourself on the back.
Whether you’ve got a special live stream planned or just mark the event with an image or text post, it’s a built-in excuse for a throwback post or some earnest reflection on how far you’ve come.
15. Share a reading list or playlist
Your media library says a lot about you… or your brand. Why not share a little piece of that with your followers?
A summer reading list, a Cozy Christmas playlist or a list of must-watch shows that your team is obsessed with can give your brand some pop culture cred, and maybe even spark some discussion or other recommendations in the comments.
16. Tap into a trending topic
Whether you’re trying out a TikTok dance or commenting on the #Oscars, sometimes it’s a nice relief to let your creativity to just hop on something everyone else is doing, instead of trying to create something from scratch.
Chubbies, for instance, is ready with the Guardian screenshot to weigh in on a riveting discussion about short-shorts.
17. Show your product in a surprising situation
We can’t look away from Vessi pouring weird stuff on its shoes. But you don’t have to risk a mess to make viewers do a double take.
If you’re a makeup brand, do a makeover on the subway… or while ordering at Subway. Seeing familiar goods in unusual situations is a surefire way to intrigue your audience.
officially pumpkin spice latte season #vessi #psl #pumpkinspicelatte #starbucks #falldrinks #sweaterweather #fyp
♬ Mariposa – Hanif Andarevi
18. Make a slow-mo video
Slow-mo makes even the blandest of activities look cool: that’s a cold-hard fact. Add some music, and you’re all set.
The makers of SpikeBall probably have hundreds of hours of sweet action shots, just from the nature of their product, but even if you’re a baker, or an accountant, or a knitter, capture yourself in action with a slo-mo effect, add some beats, and you’ve got some compelling content ready to share on TikTok or Reels.
His signature move 😈😈😈
♬ lie like this – favsoundds
19. Share some wisdom
Crafting a stylish graphic with some brand-relevant advice is a great way to position yourself as an expert and source of value. No one likes to be sold to all the time, after all.
Recess, a CBD beverage brand, is right on point with these words of zen, but whatever your industry, we’re confident you’ve got a few nuggets to share.
20. Showcase user-generated content
Teva spotlights customers wearing their shoes on #tevatuesday.
Whether you create a specific hashtag campaign, or just use social listening to collect and repost user content, repurposing user content is a great way to fill your content calendar and celebrate your community in one swoop.
21. Share secrets or hacks
What tips and tricks can you share with your audience? Cement yourself as a resource and expert in your field with a piece of content about the real T.
Supergoop has a whole Instagram Stories highlight reel with SPF hacks.
22. Post a recipe
We all eat! You don’t need to be a food blog, a restaurant, a celebrity chef or a dishware brand to dish out a delicious dish.
Just find a loose connection to your brand and share the ingredients and process, or a how-to video. Maybe your store carries cookbooks… maybe you’re a band and your latest album is a great thing to play during a cocktail party. There’s always a thread back to food.
Saturday soup of the day: Tequila 🥂 Check out stories for our favourite tequila recipes ✨
Posted by WYRTH on Saturday, June 19, 2021
23. Ask your followers for advice
People love to share what they know.
Influencer Jillian Harris asked for some advice about getting her kids to eat vegetarian lunches and worked the responses that poured into some educational content.
24. Fill in the blank
Similar to the above, post a fill-in-the-blank prompt to nudge your audience to contribute.
In this scenario, a great graphic is a good way to get the juices flowing.
25. Congratulate someone for an achievement
Someone in your industry — whether another brand or an individual — has probably done something cool lately. Why not show them some love?
You may flatter them enough for a repost or a mention, which could just get you in front of their own loyal audience.
26. Introduce your team members
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a new addition to your team. Spotlighting the real people behind your brand who have helped it for weeks, months, or years is a great way to show off your appreciation — and humanity.
27. Do a charity drive
Show off your company values with a charity drive.
Clothing brand Madewell, for instance, offered to donate a dollar to independent venues for every comment made on this post, associating its own brand with the artistic, DIY, bootstrap values of indie performers.
28. Tease a product drop or upcoming release
Got a big announcement coming down the pipe?
Build suspense and keep your audience guessing with a mysterious trailer, an on-set photo, a provocative-yet-contextless quote, or a cropped or close-up shot, like the Minnesota Wild did with this Tweet of… a new uniform? I don’t know what it is! And I can’t stop thinking about it!
well, well, well… what do we have here? 👀 pic.twitter.com/w3UGZsy4hQ
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 31, 2021
People making guesses about what they’re seeing will drive engagement… and true fans who are in the know will get to earn their bragging rights if they call out the reveal before it happens.
29. Brag about your reviews
If people are talking about you (and saying nice things!), don’t keep it to yourself.
A cool graphic treatment like this one from exercise brand Bala can showcase testimonials from real clients in a beautiful and enticing way. It’s not bragging if it’s true, right?
Okay, that’s 29 ideas that should keep you pretty busy for the next month of content production, but if you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out our creative ideas for Instagram posts and Instagram Stories.
Once you’ve planned your social media content, use Hootsuite Planner to schedule all of your posts on social media, engage with your followers, and track the success of your efforts. Sign up for a free trial today.
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