How to generate new digital content ideas for social media
Managing social media content generation and perpetually producing social media marketing ideas for small business is an endless task. It can leave you feeling like you’re stuck on a treadmill, so it’s completely normal to run out of steam.
If you’re suffering from the dreaded creative block and have completely hit a wall (it happens to the best of us) and you’ve run out of content and social media ideas, then you need our 19 unique, creative kickstarters for producing innovative digital content ideas.
Trust us, you don’t need to rely on readymade social media posts and templates – they will be too generic and won’t help your business to stand out on social.
Let’s dive in!
LOCALiQ’s unique creative processes to generate new social media content ideas
- Content fracking: Select a piece of your existing content and imagine it is like a big, fat rock. Frack the rock – break your content into little pieces, so you get small bits of content – mini rocks. You can then take a piece of rock that you’ve fracked from your big rock and use it for a new piece of content, in its own right. For example, if we were to imagine this blog post is a rock and frack it, we could do a blog post entirely on content fracking!
- Keyword research: using handy websites and tools such as Moz and Answer The Public, as well as trend research tools such as Google Trends, Google’s very own search query box, or even Instagram search, you can outline new keywords to rank for (yes, SEO and social media are intertwined) and fresh topics for social media posts.
- Current affairs, trends and news: Just because you work within one industry, does not mean you can’t get ideas from another. Read widely. Find out what’s going on in society and across industries. Keep an eye on lifestyle trends, new technologies or insights, Twitter trends, and high and low culture. Knowing the 411 will give you multiple new ideas and foundations to base new content on and relate it to your own business niche – it will also reinforce your business as reactive and on the pulse to your audience. Take a news story that interests, angers or inspires you and use it to create content with your own spin.
- Social listening: social listening is the art of monitoring what your audience and target customers are consuming, enjoying and talking about. There are many ways you can carry out social listening and it will give you a multitude of new ideas for social media. Use what other people – namely, your customers – are interacting with to generate content creation ideas.
- Go off-grid: sometimes you’re not going to find your next social media content hit unless you power off your phone and shut your laptop. Go outside and have some time away from the digital world. Let your mind wander, and ask yourself questions such as, if you were your target customer, what would you want to see online?
- Consider your audience’s emotions: What emotion do you need to inject into your content? Is there a feeling you’d like to evoke within your audience? Do you want to give your audience some happiness and light, some straight-talking motivation and encouragement, or a dose of empathy and a digital hug? Without making them cry (that we do not recommend), think of a new emotion you could drive within them through your social media content because this will make you more memorable and will attract new audiences.
- Consider your purpose: You need to be adding value if you want to build a decent, engaged following. So, if your purpose is to educate, do you educate people enough, about a variety of topics? If not, is there something you could educate them on? You could create a how-to guide or video tutorial. If your purpose is to inspire and motivate, what could you motivate your audience on that you haven’t encouraged before? If you’re a University, could you create new, motivational content to encourage and teach your audience how to make the most of their University experience, outside of studying? Whatever your business objective and persona is, go back to the drawing board, reconsider your purpose, and draw out a mental (or physical) mind-map of content ideas that fulfill this.
- Repurpose and update content from previous years: give your golden oldies and evergreen ideas a makeover and refresh your best performing content from previous years by bringing it up to date, offering new insights, or modernising it to suit the current climate. Another similar idea is to have set monthly content pieces which outline updates from that month, for example, a social media marketing agency could post monthly content on social media updates from the previous 30 days.
- Create counter-content: if you’ve written a how-to, or a reason’s why, or top tips, turn them on their head and write from the opposite angle – write a how not to, reasons why not, or things to avoid. Don’t mirror your existing social media content exactly, as this is boring, but do use it as a foundation to create something new and beneficial to your audience.
- Audit competitor content: never copy your competitors’ content – it is unnecessary, unprofessional, and ineffective – but do see what’s worked well for them and think about similar content you could produce (but 10x better, of course). Use your competitors on social media as sources of inspiration rather than emulation – they may inspire your next social media content win!
- Get personal: if you’re really struggling, think about what’s relevant and significant to you at this moment in time, aside from your business. Is there a particular book you’re reading, or a podcast you’ve listened to, or a quote or a film you recently saw, that you could derive inspiration from? Is there a recurring theme in your life for yourself or your friends? You’re not required to pour your heart out, but you can reflect on life outside of running your business to generate inspiration for social content ideas. You’d be surprised how many successful businesses on social media do this! This method also adds a very human element to your business, which in turn builds trust with your audience.
- Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing: similarly, to our counter-content tip, analyse what similar businesses in your industry and your competitors are sharing on social media and do something opposite so you’re offering your audience something new and fresh. It’s ineffective to produce similar material to other companies in your niche, if you can offer your audience distinctive, different, and creative social media content, you’re going to see your numbers level up.
- Tell stories: storytelling through social media hooks people – it’s an ancient art. What story can you tell your audience? Perhaps there’s a recent business challenge you overcame or a team member success story? How has your business adapted after the pandemic? Tell your audience a story to captivate them and make your brand more memorable and relatable.
- Create a series: by creating a weekly or fortnightly series (this could be around one of your main content pillars or an ongoing workshop series) based on content and topics that have generated high engagement and followers in the past. This will give you a piece of winning content every week or month, and it will also provide invested followers with something to look forward to, as you will be adding value to their feeds. So, for example, a dental surgery could do a weekly series on different teeth whitening methods – #WhiteningWednesday, anyone? – or estate agents on social media could run a weekly series explaining how to sell your home.
- Invite a creator or influencer to do a takeover: your chosen candidate doesn’t have to have a multimillion strong following, they just need to align with your niche, know your vertical, have a good rep, and be able to offer relevant insights and thoughts that will benefit your customers. This can be a free value exchange if your budget is limited, because whilst they’re helping you with new and fresh social content, you’re helping them with raising their awareness and building their presence and reputation to a new audience. You want more exposure from this, so choose someone whose target audience mirrors yours.
- Collaborations: consider collaborating with a business you admire to offer refreshing, exciting content to your social media audience. What could you create with another company to add benefit to your audience? Could you partner up with a series of how-to tutorials, or work together on a specific social campaign? If you can muster other people to help you and utilise their strengths, then why not? No man is an island! Your chosen partner will be able to offer you ideas for content creation you hadn’t considered.
- Conduct an interview: interview a business employee, a loyal customer, or an online creator in your niche. People love being asked questions and talking about themselves so it’s very unlikely that whoever you choose to interview is going to say no! To generate engagement and excitement, invite your audience to submit questions for your interviewee beforehand. Your interviewee may provide you with insights and quotes that you can use for future innovative social media posts too.
- Keep mood-boards everywhere: social media apps such as Instagram have the option to save posts to boards – an idea nabbed from Pinterest; we suspect! Your boards are private as well, so no one can see the ideas you are collating. Save all social content and ideas you come across that inspire you and refer to your digital mood boards when your ideas have dried up. Furthermore, have offline mood-boards too, such as a wall of physical magazine cuttings, photographs, patterns – anything that you can rely on to spawn brand new ideas for social content when your head feels empty. Even if you’re not a creativity-led business, a mood board is necessary, and we bet you your competitors use them.
- Utilise awareness days and events: trust us, there’s one for every 365 days of the year (National Hug Your Cat Day, anyone?), some are light-hearted and fun, some serious and sincere. All it takes is a Google search to find one, and then curate content for your social media feeds using this.
If you’d like further help and expertise on social media content development, check out our social media content services.