26 Creative Ways to Publish Social Media Updates

social media how to Are you struggling to find ideas for posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+?

Do you need to come up with additional social media updates?

Even seasoned social media marketers can find it difficult to keep up with the demand for fresh content.

In this article you’ll discover 26 (A to Z style) prompts to help you deliver a never-ending supply of social media updates.

26 social media updates

Find 26 ways to publish updates on social media.

#1: Attention-Grabbing Quotes

Quotes are always popular on social media and there are hundreds of websites that curate different ones. You’re bound to find plenty that are relevant to your industry.

Choose or make quote images that are visually appealing and convey a sentiment readers connect with. The result? Fans like and share the quote with their friends.

michael hyatt facebook post

Quotes are popular on just about every social network.

Avoid the temptation to limit yourself to well-known inspirational quotes. You can use quotes from blog posts, books or seminars. When you publish the post, tag the person you’re quoting—he or she may follow you or share your post in return.

#2: Book Recommendations

When you read a book you think your audience can benefit from, tell them about it. Share your recommendation and quickly explain why the book is helpful. Can it help them solve a problem or is it inspirational? Or is it just a good business book that introduces a new take on existing principles?

arthur gillard resource share

Offer resources to your audience.

Depending on where you share it, of course, you may have limited space. For example, on Twitter, you’ll probably have to cut your recommendation down to the bare minimum: Excellent business advice for large and small businesses in @MichaelHyatt’s Platform [link].

You can link your short recommendation to a more in-depth review on your blog or link directly to Amazon.

#3: Celebrate Company Milestones

Has it been a year since you launched a major project? Have you hired a new team member? Has it been six years since you founded your business?

Share your accomplishments with your fans. Your audience will likely enjoy celebrating with you. Showing your human side is a good way to build a stronger connection with your audience.

copyblogger facebook update

Introduce your fans to new hires or show your company culture.

Milestone updates work really well with an image, especially behind-the-scenes photos. If it’s a big launch or an anniversary, share pictures of the party or a look back at the beginning. If you’ve hired a new team member, share a photo and a short bio so your audience gets to know him or her a bit.

#4: Dates That Are Fun Celebrations

There are countless days, weeks and months devoted to unexpected holidays—National Chocolate Week or International Talk Like a Pirate Day, for example. Take advantage of those fun days and create content around them.

shane bacon twitter update

Post fun trivia related to obscure holidays.

Find a themed day or month that aligns with your niche and plan to bring attention to your products. If you’re a chocolatier, you could post something like this: It’s National Chocolate Week, and our five most popular chocolate bars are on sale!

You don’t have to stick with industry-related celebrations. If you find a funny day—like Bad Poetry Day (August 18)—get your fans talking by asking them to share a bad poem in the comments.

#5: Evergreen Content

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably know about the concept of evergreen content—posts that are still relevant months (and even years) after they’re published.

kristi hines google+ update

Some tips and advice never go out of style.

Social media moves fast and changes even faster, but there’s still advice that never changes (A/B testing, sales funnels, etc.). Share those timeless tips and even curate some of your blog’s best evergreen content.

#6: Feature Hashtagged Events

Many social networks have regular hashtagged events, like Twitter’s #FollowFriday where people suggest other users to follow. Or Facebook’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt) where people post pictures from the past (usually funny ones of themselves).

scott bury twitter update

Join the conversation during hashtagged events.

You don’t need to jump on every bandwagon, but do look out for ways to join in with each social network’s culture and opportunities. Hashtagged events are popular and another good way to show your personality instead of your logo.

#7: Giveaways and Contests

Giveaways and contests almost always get big engagement. They’re an opportunity to encourage fans, followers and others to share your content, link or social profile.

I suggest keeping your giveaway or contest as simple as possible. If entrants have to jump through too many hoops, they may not participate.

currys pc world google+ update

Simple giveaways bring excellent engagement.

It’s important to read each social channel’s terms of service before you host your event. Most have specific rules you have to follow. Facebook recently banned the practice of requiring people to like your page before they can enter a giveaway/contest or claim a freebie.

#8: Help Out by Answering Questions

Keep an eye out for questions or problems relating to your industry (particularly your own services or products) on social media. It’s useful to set up some basic social monitoring to track mentions and keywords related to your niche, company and competitors.

sonia simone tweet

Offer expert advice when you can.

It’s best to tread lightly as you answer questions—be personable, not salesy. If you’re answering a question that didn’t tag you specifically but is related to your business, you don’t want to come across as someone pushing into a conversation with an advertisement. Stay focused on offering help and be subtle when it comes to mentioning your product or service.

#9: Interview Staff Members

Sneak peeks are always fun for your audience because they like to get to know the people behind the brand. Of course, you’re not always being silly or having a party at the office—you have work to do! But you can come up with other ways to keep your audience in the loop.

lush cosmetics google+ update

Introduce your readers to your team.

One idea is to pick a different staff member to interview every week. Include a photo of him or her. A headshot is fine, but if you can, try get a more casual or candid shot of the person going about the workday (especially if the job is unusual).

#10: Jokes and Lighthearted Posts

Most social networks (with the exception of LinkedIn) welcome humor and offbeat updates. Jokes, funny images and other lighthearted posts are usually well received and end up with increased engagement.

In fact some companies have successfully used humor to diffuse awkward situations. Red Cross is an infamous example of how to turn a difficult and embarrassing situation into a positive conversation.

social media examiner facebook post

Audiences respond well to funny updates.

There’s no need to force humor. Just keep an eye out for opportunities to have a little fun, and don’t be afraid to relax. Many of the tips in this article can help you find ways to make your audience laugh (e.g., funny staff photos or industry-related cartoons).

#11: Kids’ Photos

If cute kittens are the number-one way to get an “awww” online (and likes and shares), cute kids are a close second. Have you seen any cute viral videos or memes that include kids? Share them—they’re are always good for a bump in engagement.

darren rowse tweet

Cute kids get lots of attention, but always get permission to post those pictures.

It’s very important to be aware of privacy implications when sharing pictures of children. Always make sure you have explicit permission to share an image of a minor.

#12: Link to Useful Content

Links are the lifeblood of the Internet, and a fair number of posts on social networks include them. As with everything, it’s best to find a balance. If you’re tweeting a constant stream of links pointing to your own blog posts or products, your audience probably won’t stick around.

hootsuite tweet

If you find a fantastic article, share it with your fans.

Make sure you regularly share links to other people’s content as well as to your own. This has a ton of benefits: it helps your audience by pointing them to useful resources, it positions you as an expert curator of great content and it allows you to build relationships with other bloggers and content creators.

#13: Mention Others in Your Industry

Is there someone in your industry your audience should definitely be following? Let them know. Have you been to a great conference session or heard a great tip from someone? Share it! (Don’t forget the conference hashtag.)

kevin gibbons tweet

If someone is making big contributions to your niche, let others know.

Usually when you mention people, they’ll get an alert. When they see your post or tweet, it may prompt them to return the favor.

Giving others a shout-out is one more way to build a strong network of contacts while adding value to your audience at the same time.

#14: Negative Posts (Generally Avoid!)

Sometimes it’s very tempting to wade into an online argument or vent when something goes wrong. Before you do, though, step back and wait. An ill-considered rant or whine can be off-putting to your existing audience—and that can be a problem if you’re building your business via social media.

stuart heritage tweet

Negative usually works against you unless it’s lighthearted.

Negativity tends to breed negativity. If you come across as grumpy and snarky in your posts, that’s the sort of audience you’re likely to attract. So take a deep breath, step away from the keyboard and avoid posting in the heat of the moment.

The exception? Complaining in a lighthearted way that fits your brand (as in the image above).

#15: Outtakes and Mistakes

Did an event go hilariously wrong? Post it anyway. Did you catch an embarrassing typo in a blog post just before (or just after) hitting Publish? Take a screenshot and share it. Did you accidentally delete your whole website and have to beg your web host for help? Let your followers know.

chris garrett tweet

Everyone makes mistakes. Let your readers know you’re human.

While you obviously don’t want to give the impression that your company is in shambles, sharing the occasional slipup is a way to make your audience laugh, show your human side and demonstrate your commitment to quality. After all, you did spot that typo!

#16: Promotional Posts

Companies tend to fall into one of two traps with promotion: They either constantly promote their products without taking a breath, or they don’t promote enough and leave their audience guessing about what they actually sell.

chris ducker tweet

A combination of promoting others and yourself is a good mix.

Everything’s a balance, right? A common practice is the 80/20 rule: Post about something other than yourself 80% of the time and use the other 20% for self-promotion.

#17: Questions for Your Audience

You may already survey your audience via your blog or email newsletter, but a quick informal poll on social media gives you feedback fast (and provokes discussion). Some sites like Facebook have a built-in Poll feature. Other sites like Twitter don’t have that option, so you’ll need to curate the results manually.

darren rowse facebook update

Start a discussion by asking your audience for input.

Your questions can be industry-related (e.g., “What brand of camera do you use? Why?”) or aimed at giving you a better idea of what your audience likes in general (e.g., “What do you look forward to on Mondays?”).

#18: Reply to Messages

If you normally post social media updates through Buffer or another scheduling service, it’s easy to forget to check for comments. But no social network is a one-way medium—when you respond to comments, you’re likely to get even more interaction from your audience.

ittybiz facebook update

Be part of the conversation.

If you own a small business and are doing your social media yourself, you don’t have to address every comment immediately (you’d never get anything else done!). But you should check in at least once a day.

If your company has a team that monitors your social networks and replies to queries and comments, give them as much freedom as possible. Train them how to respond instead of requiring them to go through a chain of command before they answer.

#19: Share Other People’s Updates

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s always good to share other people’s content. You don’t need to go overboard and bombard your followers with a constant stream of links, but it’s always nice to share important, valuable or just plain funny content.

lesley mcdowell tweet

People appreciate it when they’re noticed.

The content you share is another way to set yourself up as an expert. When you share a good mix of information, your fans and followers know they can come to you for updates on industry news or fun content, and your online relationships grow stronger.

#20: Thank Someone Who Helped Out

Have you had someone go above and beyond what you expected? It feels so good when someone gives you great customer service or helps you solve a nagging problem.

You probably thanked that person privately during your interaction, but a social media thank-you is a great way to let the world know how much you appreciate the service.

jojo wright tweet

A simple thank-you goes a long way.

There are so many instances of people complaining about service on social media, and so few people showing appreciation. If someone makes your day, try to reciprocate. Social media thank-yous are particularly appreciated because they act as testimonials. 

#21: Ultimate Lists of Resources

People love a good list. If you have a blog, you’ve probably written a list post at some point, but have you tried sharing one on social media? An update with a list of resources, books, tips—anything that fits with your audience—can end up with big engagement.

trevor williams google+ update

Lists are an easy way to share recommendations with readers.

Since you’ll have fairly limited space, keep your list focused on one category (e.g., best online marketing books published in 2014 or 10 blogs all content marketers should be reading). If possible, tag anyone you mention (like authors or bloggers). You never know, they may comment, like or share your post.

#22: Visual Content

Images aren’t just for Pinterest and Instagram—they do extremely well on Facebook and Twitter too. On networks where most updates are pure text, an eye-catching image can really stand out.

ana hoffman tweet

Readers migrate to visual content.

There are dozens of types of visual content you can use—photos, infographics, screenshots, videos, custom images with overlayed text, the list goes on and on. Debbie Hemley shared some fantastic ides in her post 26 Ways to Use Visuals in Your Social Media Marketing.

#23: Weekly Themed Posts

Social media never sleeps and it can be tough to come up with content on a regular basis. Having a routine can be a huge help. A weekly pattern makes it easier to plan content and gives your audience a sense of consistency—they know when to show up for certain content.

For example, you might decide that every Monday you’ll post an inspiring quote, every Wednesday you’ll have a tip of the week and every Friday you’ll link to the top three industry posts that week.

kelly promedia theme post

Create a routine and matching templates for easy posting.

To make your routine even easier, create simple templates for each type of topical post. Donna Moritz suggests making an image template so you can just drop the text in, but keep consistent branding (these are especially handy for quotes).

#24: X vs. Y

Does your audience prefer PCs or Macs (or are they Linux geeks)? Find out by asking them an X vs. Y question—PC or Mac? Which do you prefer, summer or winter? Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

new media expo facebook update

Fans are more likely to answer easy questions.

Simple questions usually lead to fun interaction and they give you a better sense of who your audience is. For example, if you find out most of them use a PC, but you’ve been talking about Macs, you may discover you need to make some changes.

#25: “You” (Your Audience)

Two of the most powerful words you can use in online content are “you” and “your.” Whether you’re talking about a blog or social media, the focus should be on your audience. Posts with “I, I, I” take the focus away from your audience.

jeff goins tweet

Your audience likes to know your focus is on them.

Take a look at your 10 most recent updates on any network, and see how often “you” and “your” crop up. If you feel the balance isn’t quite right, look for a way to write more “you”-focused updates that show genuine interest in your audience.

#26: Zen-Like Calm When Responding

Sometimes (OK, a lot of times), social media sparks strong feelings. Perhaps a customer has posted a negative review about your product or service, or someone has complained publicly about their dissatisfaction.

royal mail tweet

Acknowledge complaints with a quick, genuine response.

Most people just want to know they’ve been heard. Respond quickly and politely to diffuse the situation. The way you handle the issue may win back your customer or catch the eye of a new prospect—never forget that social media is very, very public.

Wrapping Up

If you feel like your social updates are getting stale, it’s time to try something new. My hope is that the ideas in this post spark your creativity and get you started in that direction. While some of the updates I’ve mentioned here may not be a fit for every business, it’s a safe bet you can pick at least a handful from the list above and add them to your editorial calendar.

What do you think? Which tips are you going to try? Which types of posts have given you the most engagement? Leave your comments and suggestions below.

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About the Author, Ali Luke

Ali Luke runs small group blogging and social media day courses in London, with a practical, hands-on and interactive approach to help you take your business further online. Other posts by »




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  • deb1221

    Ali,
    Bravo! A wonderful piece. Thank you for these great suggestions. I love the A-Z’ers.

  • http://beta21.circussocial.com Avtar Ram Singh

    Hey Ali – Going to bookmark this one to come back to every time I’m looking to fill up a Content Calendar! Thank you. :)

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  • Morlando26

    Wow, what a bucket of ideas, 26 is a good number to fall on too! Great post Ali!

  • Nathalie Pare

    Great ideas for posting, thank you for that! Bookmark material for sure!

  • DigDug

    Great ideas, but I always thought that it was a violation of Someecards TOS to post their material on a company FB Page:

    “Someecards Content is free for personal use only and in order to keep it free we require that people adhere to the following Terms of Service. All of our Content is protected under copyright and trademark laws. Any use other than personal use requires written permission. This applies to both cards created by the Someecards staff and User Created cards. You CANNOT use the Services to create advertising, promote a product, brand, Web site, social media program, community page, or Facebook fan page without written permission.”

    Has anybody ever had an issue with this?

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  • http://elainefogel.net/ Elaine Fogel

    Excellent list. However, one of my pet peeves is social media quotes. Bleh. :(

  • http://frantic-naturalist.com/ Vernon Swanepoel

    Great list. I’ll also have to bookmark it!

    The first one, quotes, gets overused a lot and I’ve unfollowed several people who just post quotes.

  • http://www.projectmanagementhub.net/ ProjectManagementHub

    Truly this is a recurring issue to every social media managers out there. Glad you came up with this list, taking your advice one tip a day, will have my calenday filled with posts for the next 26 days. Thank you so much. You are truly awesome coming up with this list. will definitely bookmark this.

    P.S. I’ve already subrcribed to your furture articles. :)

  • Cariona Neary

    If I do implement even half your great ideas, I’ll be doing very well. Really like the idea about featuring staff. Also, I’ve done the ‘post when you’re mad’ tweet and regretted it afterwards. Thanks for the good advice!

  • http://www.cheersee.co/blog Vuong Ngo

    that’s amazing. I’ll apply one tip right now ;)

  • http://playtimeandparty.com Teresa McEachern

    Great article Ali – should have a pdf downloadable version of such great info! I know I’ll want to refer to it again.

  • Phyllis English

    I have enjoyed this publication very much and thought it was very inspirational and informative. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Guest

    Such great ideas — my notepad is full! Now to start implementing in delivering the Aloha Spirit to our ‘ohana (customers)

  • http://www.integritymcseo.com/ Brian Hughes

    Fantastic article Ali! There are a ton of great tips here that no one should have any excuses not knowing what to post about, on social media if they’ve read this. #NoExcuses #getoverit

  • http://somekernelsoftruth.com SomeKernelsofTruth

    Great list, and I love the samples you included to illustrate your points. Well done — thank you!

  • http://www.keydifference.in suzy spring

    Great collective information. Since it is in social media, it’s attracting more.

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  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    Thanks Brian! It can be a bit daunting figuring out what to post if you’re fairly new to social media, and I hope this list will give people a bit more confidence.

  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    Thanks Cariona! If you tried out just a couple of these a week, you’d make it through the list in three months… :-)

  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    What a great idea on planning these out on your calendar. Hope you get some encouraging results!

  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    Good point, Vernon. I think *any* of these could become annoying if over-used.

  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    Sounds like you must be following some of the same people as Vernon, Elaine!

  • http://www.aliventures.com Ali Luke

    If you want to use their material, I think dropping them an email to ask for permission is definitely the best way to go. It sounds like they’re open to that.

  • http://frantic-naturalist.com/ Vernon Swanepoel

    True. Having more techniques means you can and need to mix it up.

  • findmeabreak

    Amazing! Just what I needed. Thanks for sharing v informative article :D

  • Sunil

    What a comprehensive post! Thank you!

  • vanaja shankar

    Thanks Ali. What I like about your writing is that there is so much clarity and Eady flow of ideas that it is a pleasure to read, refer and follow. I loved the idea of weekly themes. I have decided to implement it starting this week. Keep writing. Warm wishes.

  • Chryssie’s Greece

    good article

  • Christopher Watkins

    Some great things in here, thank you! Refreshing reconciliation of lighthearted and serious, b2b and b2c, the nuanced and the straightforward, etc. Will be a pleasure to share …

    Regards,

    Christopher Watkins
    Social Media Manager
    fisherVISTA/HRmarketer

  • Waqas Lakhani

    Worth Reading Stuff, Cheers !!

  • http://quietcommunicator.com Thomas Hallett

    Agreed – far too many quotes on my timeline these days. Surely someone has something original to say?!

  • chairlove

    great stuff and very valuable advice too. Thank you for this –
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    much obliged!
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  • ctshyderabad

    Excellent…. its been a wonderful experience going through this post….

  • qualitypointopm

    nice to read these ideas…

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    Ali you write really amazing stuff! on Sites









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