How To Create Engaging Social Media Posts During Slow Days

It’s a fact – social media marketers do have their slow days. Perhaps people are on vacation or resources are being pulled for another project and there is not much organic content coming through the marketing pipeline to post for the week.  As social media gurus, we know that there should always be something to contribute, and we want to provide content that is respectable, fresh, and relates to the business we are posting for. However, regardless if we are managing social media for a company or posting for our own business we may still experience the occasional slow day. During a recent gathering with other contributors, I was asked how to create unique content for a company when you don’t necessarily know everything that is going on internally from day to day. I believe that this is where some of our skills as marketers are tested. Instead of offering a checklist of ideas (we see a lot of those), I’m going to provide a solid framework towards crafting your own ideas and creating great content on a slow day, even if you initially have very little to work with.

Why Consistent Social Media Posting Is Important

There are countless resources that cover this particular topic, but I feel like it is appropriate to provide a quick overview with respect to this article. As social media managers, we want to post consistently to our social media pages because it portrays constant activity. This is an important step towards maintaining a good social reputation reputation. We want to avoid having our social pages appear stale and inactive. Take a moment to ask yourself which is more disheartening: visiting a very active page with relatively few followers, or visiting a page with many followers that hasn’t been updated in several months. I believe that the latter option is worse in the context of engaging the viewer’s interest. You do not want your pages to ever appear “dead.” When a viewer visits your page for the first time, those first few moments are crucial in peaking their interest. This is because we live in a world where information travels fast, and people are more apt to follow a page if they are given the impression that they will get primary access to interesting posts “before the rest of the world.” Let’s be honest with ourselves – we all love to be the first ones to share a great post and watch it take off in popularity within our network. It’s our job to have our readers feel like they can get these kinds of posts from us. On the other hand, if your more focused on social media PR instead of marketing, an active page tells your readers that someone may actually be there to help them if they have a question or issue.

As for the internet side of the equation, an active profile will positively reinforce your online reputation. This is an important part of the holistic approach towards search engine optimization and creating a strong presence on the web. You can find many articles that cover this online, including the one linked to above.

Understand The Business

The first step is to determine which types of posts and content are appropriate with respect to the personality of the client. Within social media we typically play dual roles, one as a marketer and one as public relations. While most businesses allow us to strike a nice balance between the two, there are those where marketing may not be as appropriate as public relations, and vice versa.  Do an overview of the content the business typically shares. Is it funny, serious, or sales-only? Being confident in the personality of the business will not only help you decide on the content you can share, but it will also reduce any anxiety you may have towards possibly posting something inappropriate. Some businesses are much easier to design content for on a slow day than others due to the nature of the particular business. For example, on a fashion blog, you may be able to post pins and photos of unique fashion ideas by amateur designers, or cute photos of pets wearing the latest fashion – anything friendly that may make a viewer smile, laugh, engage, or share while still being fashion-related. But what do you do for a home building company, or law firm, or a company that operates business to business? You’d have to devise an entirely different strategy for these clients. Some will tend to push towards more sales-oriented posts, while others may focus primarily on PR and engagement.

Decide On An Appropriate Topic and Post Interactive Content

Take a moment to think about the social media platform the business is using and how it is being used within the context of customer engagement.  Ask yourself what you would have to see to be interested in following such a company. Let’s use a home building company as an example. Could you see yourself using Facebook as your primary means to shop for a new home? You may not, but chances are you could become aware of the company through engaging posts your friends have shared, or seeing testimonials from home buyers about how pleased they are with their new home. You may also agree that you could follow the company that built your own home if they were sharing positive contributions to your community, and also as an additional way of getting in touch with them if need be. This would suggest more of a PR-approach as opposed to a marketing approach with regards to appropriate content. With this understanding in mind, try to focus on devising posts that spur engagement.

Reach out to any contacts you may have at the company and ask them if they have done any community contributions. Find out if they have contributed to any recent fundraisers or supported any local sports teams. These are great items to add to a post and they are very shareable. Get creative. For example, you can gather information on community landmarks, such as a community building, a clocktower at at popular shopping center, or the most famous tree to picnic underneath in a local park, and use pictures of the landmarks to ask viewers if they can guess where the photo is from. This has quickly become one of the favorite campaigns by one of my clients and is now actively contributed to by other managers at the company as well. A photo will be posted, such as one of a windmill in a local park, and the caption asks if anyone could guess what the photo is of. One commenter may guess correctly, which leads others to comment about how they may or may not have recognized the photo, and suddenly you have a full discussion taking place within the post. Viewers feel more involved with their community as a result, and thanks to human psychology, people very much enjoy the feeling they receive when they believe they have won a contest, even if there is no prize.

If you are hesitant on a post topic because you do not know if it is appropriate or not, get in touch with someone at the company and ask them for ideas. You will be showing that you are taking the time to be proactive while also exercising concern for the company’s strategies.

Investigate What Your Peers And The Competition Are Posting

Content curation, even in the form described above, can be time-consuming. When looking for ideas, there is no shame in taking a look to see what your peers and competition are posting. You may discover a news item or trend to post about that you may have missed. Also, you can get ideas from competitors and see what forms of content works for them and what hasn’t, and adjust your strategies accordingly. You may find that this is an incredibly quick and simple way of gaining inspiration for new ideas and insights into how other campaigns are performing for different companies in the same vertical as yours.

Your Own Evergreen Content

When it comes to your content that is not time-sensitive, it’s both practical and suggested to promote it several times. You can’t reasonable expect that everyone will see your single post at 10:00am on Twitter. Try it again at noon, and perhaps again the next day. Each time you post, chances are new people are seeing it. Blogs are an excellent example. If you post your link to your latest blog in the morning on social media, you can’t expect that everyone you could reach would have had an opportunity to see it. That being said, promote it again at a different time to capture visitors who peruse social media at varying times of the day. Don’t hesitate to repurpose successful posts from the past. This is relatively easy to do and is a great way to create a new post in a short period of time. By all means try not to spam them though as a few posts can go a long way. As your familiarity with your company’s social profile grows, you’ll gain a better understanding of the appropriate pace for posting repeated content.

Behind The Scenes / Cultural Photos

Produce posts that touch on what happens behind-the-scenes at a company.  This is where you get to have fun and show off the great personalities of the employees. Try posting photos of “the team.” People enjoy being able to put a face to a company, and it aids in developing a positive foundation of rapport with the customer. Post a photo of the team hard at work during a work day, or everyone dressed down for casual Friday. While it depends on the atmosphere and nature or the company, there are always opportunities to have fun and show off the human side of a business. Great engagement happens when your viewers make the connection that there are real human beings with lives and personalities behind their favorite companies.

Social media is your canvas. Try to have fun with your content and think outside of the box. Hopefully these tips and ideas will help save you some time and help garnish a better understanding of your options when you wish to create a post for social media but do not have very much new content to begin with. Please share your own ideas in the comments below. I’d like to know what you think!

Andrew Lopez
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