There's nothing scarier than a blank screen when you sit down to write or create. Where am I going to get the next idea for a post, will I run out of ideas, will they work, how do I tell a story in just a few sentences, and how will I know it'll be interesting? There are big questions that can be daunting to even the most seasoned social media managers. In this video, we'll give you an approach that can help you decide what kinds of posts to create, how to create content that works with each platform, and how to take the strain off of constantly creating new content by curating. We want to create value for our audience on social media and create posts that will keep them engaged. So, What kind of posts would be valuable to them? Engaging social media content typically falls into either one of three categories. First, posts that are educational, that teach, update or inform. Second, posts that are inspirational and feel good, or that move people to act. Third, posts that are fun and entertaining and that present a brand in human and spirited way. Think about the posts you've liked or shared recently, they probably fell into one of these three categories. As a first step in thinking about your social media content, think about these categories and whether you can create content that falls into either one of them. Before you start creating content, it's good to reflect on the format of your posts. First, remember that there are two types of content that you can create for social media. You can create organic content, which is content created for posts and tweets and where you interact with your audience like a fellow user. You can build engagement and conversation through organic content, it's also free. The other kind of content is paid content, like an ad or a paid sponsorship. This type of content can specifically target certain demographics and will appear in users feeds who meet your criteria. Page posts can help leverage the work you've done through organic interactions, but for social media, which is based on social interactions, having only paid content might not be the right approach. Knowing your platforms before you post is also key, as you want to make sure your content looks native or that it fits in seamlessly into the culture. For example, a hotel posting a photo of the beautiful view from a balcony would be seen as content native to Instagram, the hotel posting an ad like you'd see in a Sunday flyer would not be. It's important to reflect on the platform where you plan to post your content. You want to make sure that your posts fit in. What's considered native content for each platform? In the first course in this program, we discussed the main social media platforms in more detail and that probably gave you a good idea of what typical posts look like in each of them. But let's look at a few more examples. Consider Facebook, your classic or baseline social media site where you can post different topics, like a community story, a business update, or sharing an article with different formats like images or videos. Because Instagram is image forward, your posts should be image forward as well. The same can be said for Pinterest. With Twitter, images and videos are great to have, but the platform has always been text-based. LinkedIn is focused on professional networking and industry news. TikTok is the fun video only site. Finally, knowing your platform is especially important if you want to venture into niche social media spaces like Twitch, DeviantArt, or Nextdoor. We now know the three categories of content most engaging posts fall under and we know we have to adapt our posts to the platform we plan to post in. But what should you post about? The challenge is to come up with unique content for your audience, different ways of telling stories, and in different formats. There are many different approaches you can take to your posts and we'll go through more of those in our next lesson, but think about doing some of the following; share content from your website, create a behind the scene video, showcase employees or members of your audience, promote upcoming events, create content around holidays or events, make a tutorial video, engage your audience with a question, have a giveaway or a contest, contribute to a hashtag challenge, post inspirational quotes, go live, showcase a new product. As you can see, there are a lot of different kinds of creative pieces of content you can post, and there's much more that your business could come up with as well. The important thing is to remember to try different topics as sticking to one type of post will get old quickly. In our next video, we'll go deeper into the different content approaches. If we're suppose to post at least once a day or more, depending on the platform, where are we supposed to come up with all that content? Well, the good news is that you don't have to create new unique content for each one of your posts. Much of your content can and should be curated from other people. Curating content created by other people that you can share with your audience is an important part of your content strategy. This can be articles, news updates, stories, videos, infographics, really anything, and it can come from websites, other social media accounts, or users. There are a few reasons why you should share curated content. It shows that you're in the conversation on social media. And sharing and commenting creates the interlocking nature of social media. It also shows you know what's going on in your industry and positions you as an authority if you share valuable content about the industry to your users. It's also a way to show other businesses or organizations in your industry that you are there and they may share your content in return, which is a way to grow your audience. Finally, it takes the pressure off you having to create more content, but curating content to share takes some effort as you do need to keep on top of who's posting what in your industry. As you grow your presence in your space, you'll find other trusted businesses like you, whose content you keep going back to, so share that content with your audience. For example, a bookstore may share other bookstore's recommendations or a publishing house may share content from the New York Review of Books, for instance, or other literary websites and organizations. Additionally, keep an eye on news, magazines, and newsletters. Set Google Alerts to flag you for content, or use a curation app like Feedly or Pocket to gather different articles and posts you want to share. When you do share a piece of content, don't just put it out there without context, write why you like it, quote it or ask a question about it, and don't forget to tag the content creators. This shows you know how social media works and that you want to start a conversation. Part of your curated content should also be sharing what your audience is doing or sharing customer generated content. By sharing their content, you show that you're paying attention to your followers and add a little humanity to your brand by showing your brand's greater culture. Don't forget that if you're stuck for ideas, you can always repurpose content as well. Go back to some old blog posts or articles and repromote them. Have a report that your business generated last year, pull out some nuggets and create content around them. You can even share content across other channels you didn't share to in the first place. We'll take a closer look at different topics of social media posts in our next lesson, but hopefully you're already thinking about different approaches to your social media content, and a blank screen is a little less daunting.