Q: Help! I’m usually good at regularly posting to my company’s social accounts every day, but sometimes I’m at a total loss. Is it better to skip a day, or to post something just to stay on schedule?
The task of coming up with new, engaging content on a regular basis can make social media daunting—we know. Even if you have a solid social media strategy in place, you might still get stumped on what to share from time to time and be tempted to forgo that schedule you set out for yourself.
Running out of new content ideas is a common pain point, whether you’re just starting to share your brand on social media or you’re a seasoned pro. Here are a few tactics I recommend for overcoming that mental block.
1. Remember That Consistency Is Key
First thing’s first: I do suggest sticking to a consistent schedule of posts. By posting regularly, your brand will stay top of mind with your audience. Over time, they’ll even start to expect posts from you, which can lead to higher engagement. Not to mention, posting at a regular cadence will help you stay in the habit of creating content.
That said, a consistent schedule looks different for everyone. Some brands post three times per week, while others post three times per day. What’s right for you depends on many factors, including your audience, its size, and what your followers are looking for.
Each platform offers its recommendations for the best days and times to post, but typically, those are incredibly broad. Instead, seek to learn what works best for your specific audience.
Here’s how: Pick a platform, then post three times per week for an entire month. Then, up that to seven times per week for the next month, and 14 times for the month after that.
Three months of data will allow you to gather insight via Buffer’s analytics dashboard. Check out the “Answers” tab, and you’ll be able to see when, what, and how often to post to maximize your reach and engagement.
If you saw higher engagement during one month over another, commit to that cadence going forward. Continue to monitor your stats month over month to see what dates, times, and posting schedules work best. One last thing to keep in mind, though: Brands should strike a balance between being consistently informative and being annoying. If you’re seeing any decline in your numbers after upping your posting schedule, consider pulling back.
When you feel more confident about the best approach for your audience, it can inspire you to stick to your posting schedule and give them the content they’ve come to expect.
2. Think Big(ger)
You know you have to post a certain number of times each week, but how do you come up with new content?
Some weeks, this will be simple: You had a big product announcement, you wrote a new blog post, you saw a meme you just had to recreate. Other weeks, you’ll be staring at a blinking cursor on a Monday morning, wondering what to share.
But, instead of closing the tab and not sharing at all, push yourself to think outside the box.
If, for example, you published a blog post last week and shared it with a link and a caption, think about how you might reshare it differently. Create a short graphic that pulls key data from the post, or pull out a favorite quote and make a visual. Canva is a great tool to create engaging graphics (and Buffer’s integration with Canva makes it incredibly easy).
It can be helpful to see what other people are posting, too, or if anything relevant is trending. If a news story broke that will have an impact on your industry, share your thoughts. If it’s International Coffee Day and you sell alternatives to milk, create a graphic that ties the two of them together.
Also look at your best-performing posts to see what topics your audience enjoys, then make use of each platform’s different features to test out new content along those themes. Try carousels on Instagram’s feed, or use the engagement tools in Stories. Go live on Facebook, or write a LinkedIn article. You might discover that your audience engages more with a different kind of post, and you would never have known that if you didn’t push yourself to try something new.
Bonus: Buffer’s Head of PR, Hailley Griffis, offers even more ideas for consistently coming up with new content in this article.
3. Create a Backlog
As you continue to brainstorm content ideas, create a running list of things you like and want to test. These aren’t action items you need to do something about right away. Instead, they’ll offer inspiration the next time you’re stuck for something to post.
Create a saved folder on Instagram of things you’ve seen other brands do, take screenshots of Facebook posts you like, or pull links from LinkedIn that you’d like to emulate. These will be great thought-starters and reminders of how to push yourself the next time you need it.
Creating content can feel like a monumental task, for small businesses and massive influencers alike. The next time you feel stuck, use it as a growth opportunity. Push yourself to stick to your cadence, brainstorm something new and different to share, and then see how your audience reacts. You just might be onto something.
Need some help planning your content? Check out our recent post on “How to Save Time Planning and Creating Social Media Content.”
Have a question you'd like us to answer? Send us a tweet and use #AskTheBufferTeam.