We asked our audience what they love (and hate) seeing brands do on social media.
We recently asked our incredible Instagram fam to share with us some of the things brands do on social media that they absolutely love (or hate).
Why? Sometimes as marketers we can get so caught up in our own ideas of what we think we should be doing, or even just sticking to the social media ideas that we personally like – rather than what our audience really wants to be seeing.
So what better way to get some fresh social media ideas and keep our content on point than to just ask them what they like seeing (or not)?
We got so many interesting answers that we thought we’d turn them into a little blog post so everyone can benefit from the feedback. Now keep in mind this is specific to our audience (and yours might be very different) but you might find some fresh ideas that are worth testing out!
Social media ideas you love seeing from brands
1. Creating intrigue with a theme or message that carries over several posts
– Paula from On A String Artisan Hand-beaded Jewellery| Instagram @on.a.string
Paula suggested she loves seeing a message or theme carried through on multiple posts to create intrigue and excitement. This can be a really clever way of keeping your audience interested and eager for your next post, while giving them something educational, entertaining or exciting to look forward to and enjoy.
We’ve used this tactic in two main ways in the past. The first was setting up a nine-post puzzle feed on Instagram that when complete revealed a new product we were launching (our Instagram for Business course). The captions also gave away a hint towards what the product would be so our followers could comment on each post with their guesses!
We’ve also used this idea in the past with educational content, where we chose a hot topic and delivered a series of tips on that over 7 days.
2. Q&A-style content
– From the team at Attenger Digital | Instagram @attengerdigital and Sofia @sofiahernandezv
Q&As are such an ideal way to both provide value for your audience by directly helping them answer burning questions while also showcasing you or your brand’s expertise! We love this idea because it can work for almost any industry AND it’s a content repurposing gold mine.
You could start the Q&A through Instagram Stories by getting people to submit their questions there, answer the questions through stories, record a video for YouTube and/or IGTV with all the same content (to help out others who might have missed the stories but have the same questions) and then create a series of blog posts or an FAQ page on your site covering each question in more detail to help people googling those questions!
3. Sharing knowledge and giving free tips
We can attest that Lucy isn’t our only follower who loves seeing educational tips. As a professional service-based business, we share a lot of free tips and ideas (just like this blog you’re reading right now). 1) because we believe all business owners deserve to be able to understand digital marketing (whether they hire us or not) and 2) because it helps us demonstrate our knowledge and makes it easy for people to choose us when they do need some extra help!
In terms of sharing tips on social media, remember they can be very bite-sized. You don’t need to give away all your secret sauce, but anything that is highly actionable and helpful but not widely known among your target audience is perfect to share.
You can experiment with sharing your educational content in different ways to see how people like to consume it. For example, we used to share really in-depth educational captions, but they weren’t always getting read, so now we put this content into video format which is getting much more cut-through and positive feedback!
4. Before and Afters
– From the team at Scrubs Digital | Instagram: @scrubs_digital
This idea really makes sense for any product or service where there’s a transformation involved. Maybe you’re a Beauty Therapist, Interior Designer, Professional Cleaner, or even a Stump Grinder! (seriously, Stump Grind It does an awesome job of this on Instagram).
Showing Before & After photos or videos of your work is the perfect way to give your potential customers some reassurance of what you can do for them while showing how amazing you are at what you do.
Fun Police PSA: Just be aware of your country’s advertising guidelines or industry regulations as some industries aren’t allowed to use demonstrations like this. And remember before and after photos of people’s bodies/body parts are never allowed on Facebook advertising anywhere in the world.
5. Behind The Scenes or what’s on for the day
Any BTS content is perfect for getting your audience excited about something new coming, or just showing the magic of how your work is done.
If you’re the face of your brand and want to build a really personal connection with your audience (like us) then taking people BTS to show them your day is also an amazing way to start building those relationships!
6. Being honest and real and sharing struggles. Love seeing people behind brands!
– From The Wavy Social | Instagram: @thewavy.social
YES. Love this answer from The Wavy Social so much. Again, this is more relevant for businesses where the owner is really the face of the brand. If that is your strategy then getting real on social media now and again is a MUST.
Now we get it – if you’re not used to this it can feel terrifying – but we have a few personal tips to help. Firstly, if you want to talk about your struggles but keep your content uplifting and maintain your authority, try sharing a story about a lesson you learned in the past and how you overcame it. This way, you can still share something real and raw that your audience relates to, while giving people a positive outlook and showing how you’ve grown.
Another tip is that rants can work really well – but make sure your rant ticks these boxes:
- I’m pretty certain my ideal customer will relate to and agree with my point of view on this rant (and if people don’t agree I’ll be comfortable listening to their point of view and answering their comments respectfully).
- I can give people value with this rant by offering a SOLUTION to the problem and not just complaining about it.
- I’m not using my rant as a way to drag others down, but as constructive feedback and suggestions on how to improve.
- I’m ranting about something that I’m qualified to give an opinion on and it’s actually relevant to my business/industry/audience.
That is what separates a nasty rant from one that’s actually productive and uplifting!
7. Replying to DMs (even big companies!)
– From the extremely talented and just downright beautiful human Kim at K Rae Designs | Instagram: @k.rae.designs
We couldn’t agree with this more. We know first-hand what it’s like to get slammed with DMs, and even if it feels a little overwhelming sometimes, every business owner should be so thankful to have a full inbox. This means people are actually interested enough in what you do to reach out to you! We hear stories all the time of people enquiring with a business through DM and then just hearing crickets, so make sure you stay on top of these to avoid missing out on potential work!
Remember you can set up saved replies in Instagram as well to make replying to common enquiries easy!
8. Everything about Frank Body!
– From the awesome Jess at Jessica Howell Co | Instagram: @jessicahowell.co
Frank Body for sure nails their social media marketing at every turn. Jess is a long-time Frank Bod customer and actually wrote a killer post about why she loves the brand here. Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
And your pet peeves on social media…
1. Boring photos that don’t capture your imagination. I need to see how your offering is going to fit into my life!
– Also from the incredible Paula at On A String Artisan Hand-beaded Jewellery| Instagram @on.a.string
We couldn’t agree more with this! So what constitutes a boring pic is subjective yes – but there’s a pretty surefire way to know if something is boring to your potential customers, and that’s when it doesn’t bear any relevance to their life!
So when you’re working on a piece of content, just ask yourself, how is this going to make someone’s life better?
It could be showing them how your offering solves a problem they experience, giving them some handy advice, or even just making them laugh! Just make sure it gives VALUE.
2. Lots of soul searching posts
– From the team at Attenger Digital | Instagram @attengerdigital
We’re so glad Attenger Digital brought this one up because it raises a really good point. If you’re experimenting with #6 from above, remember these kinds of posts do need to balance out with your other content (your audience might love them but they don’t need to hear your life story every single day, or it could get old fast).
It’s also good to keep in mind if you are getting real on social media – make sure your story is REAL! Starting with a really clickbaity title or first sentence that’s totally misleading could leave followers frustrated when they make it to the end of your story and realise that thing didn’t really happen to you at all… Just keep it real and you’ll build a lot more trust and loyalty.
3. False advertising
– From @whitneyy_wong
Yep! We don’t need to tell you this but false advertising has no place in a good social content strategy. A more relevant tip for most of your reading this is to also think more widely about whether any of your content could be perceived as false advertising (even if it’s technically correct, are you meeting expectations with your product or service when people convert from a follower into a customer?)
4. Posting more than once a day on the feed and clogging it up! Stories are better for that.
Lucy at Lucy Cameron Photography | Instagram: @lucycameron.photography
Ah we love this one! So bigger accounts (aka major celebs or global brands) can sometimes get away with lots of posts in the same day, especially if it’s around a special event that their followers care about. Case in point, @recordingacademy posted OVER 100 Instagram posts on the night of the Grammys (and that was just in the feed – so no including stories. Yep).
Obviously this is fine because anyone following this account is obviously interested in the Grammys and would be dying to see updates about the night – but for regular old accounts like yours or ours? Posting more than daily can often be a bit overkill. Your followers probably don’t want to see your brand popping up 5 times in 10 minutes of scrolling. Stories can definitely be better for sharing lots of little updates or photos within a 24hr period without spamming your followers.
5. Jumping on a cause bandwagon when it’s not genuine. It’s so obvious and really cringey.
– From Darcy Marketing | Instagram: @darcy.marketing
We couldn’t agree more with this one. It should be common sense but it definitely happens (sadly). If you’re going to stand up for a cause, always make sure it’s aligned with your values and brand.
6. “Here. Look at our product.” That’s soooo boring.
– From The Wavy Social | Instagram: @thewavy.social
Well said guys and we totally agree! When you’re trying to get the word out about your offering, your mind might naturally go to simply talking about it and how good it is. Now you do need to share that information with people, but think about how you can present that in a way that shows your ideal customer why they need this product or service in their life. It’s about them – not you!
– From Faye at Faye Hairdressing | Instagram @fayehairdressing
Yes! You wouldn’t propose on the first date (we hope) so don’t go in for the hard sell in your social media content. Think about your ideal customer as someone you have a crush on (totally metaphorically, of course).
- Social Media is for flirting with them
- Email is for dating them and getting to know each other
- Your website is like letting them meet your parents (so make sure it’s not embarrassing)
- Your proposal is for proposing!
*Wipes face* well, that turned out to be one heck of a brain dump, but we hope you’ve found some of these ideas helpful! Drop us a comment if you have something to add to the list and we’ll give our two cents. If you need a little more help with content ideas, check out our Social Media Content Strategy Guide.