January 22, 2024

50 Tried and Tested Social Media Content Ideas

By Charles Miller

"What am I gonna write about today?"

That question used to pop into my mind nearly every morning when I was a rookie writer.

Now I have a variety of tools I use to easily generate ideas whenever my brain isn't creating them naturally.

This list is one of those tools.

It gives you 50 social media content ideas that you can write from your perspective.

These are all tried and true. They've worked for me. They've worked for my ghostwriting clients. They'll work for you too.

Let's get into them...

1. Tools List

Recommending tools works well because people get instantly-applicable value out of it. It’s not a vague tip with no obvious value. It’s something they can use today to improve whatever they want to improve upon.

Template:

{List title that explains what you’re recommending}:

{List of tools with optional mini-explanation for what they do}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

2. Resources List

Resources lists are very similar to tools lists, and they’re appealing for the same reasons. They provide actionable information, take up space on the timeline, and the final question lets people add to it if they want to, which increases engagement.

Template:

{List title that explains what you’re recommending}:

{List of resources with optional mini-explanation for what they do}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

3. Simple Comparisons

Comparing things is an easy way to make a point, and it often leads to “us vs them” persuasion. You can distinguish between good and great, smart and stupid, wise vs unwise, etc.

Template:

Bad/outdated/ineffective/etc {relevant to your niche} do {negative thing}.

Good/modern/effective/etc {relevant to your niche} do {positive thing}.

{Possible third line if you’re comparing more than two things}.

Example:

4. Detailed Comparisons

Comparing isn’t just “bad vs good” and other simple ones like that, though. You can get more detailed with these, and you can use hypothetical quotes to make your point.

Template:

{One kind of person, client, marketers, etc}:

{Something they say or do}.

{An opposite kind of person, client, marketer, etc}:

{Something they say or do}.

Example:

5. Skill-Related Processes

This is similar to the resource/tool lists, but now you’re explaining a process rather than giving individual recommendations. Pick an outcome that your audience wants, then give them a step-by-step process for how to get that outcome. Again, this provides actionable value, and it takes up a lot of space.

Template:

{Title that communicates what the process is and maybe what its outcome is}:

{The process}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks for a reply from your readers}.

Example:

6. Life-Related Processes

The above example was related to my skill, which is writing. You can also write process posts about daily life. Common topics for doing so are productivity, sleep, nutrition, and scheduling. These provide actionable value and take up a nice amount of space on the timeline.

Template:

{First line explaining what the list will be (that’s missing in my example, but 9/10 times, it’s best to have this)}:

{The process}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

7. If + Then

“If you’re an X” and variations of that attract attention because it gives readers something to relate to. In the example below, if you’re a solopreneur, or you’re interested in being one, you’ll instinctively perk up and pay attention. The same goes for basically any noun or verb.

Template:

If you’re a {category of person}, {action word}:

{Information or recommendation}

{Optional last line that ties things together}.

Example:

8. Positive General List

Lists take up a lot of space on the timeline and give people a lot of items to agree or disagree with. They also let you ask for more from the audience, which leads to more engagement. I don’t love posts like the one below because they’re a bit cliche, but there’s a place for them in many brands with the right frequency.

Template:

{Title that explains what will be in the list}:

{List of positive things}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

9. Negative General List

Not much explanation here. It’s the same as the one above, but it’s the opposite.

Template:

{Title that explains what will be in the list}:

{List of positive things}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks for a reply from your readers}.

Example:

10. Personal Results + Lead

This has been my top-performing template. It works because the results attract attention and build trust, then the lead draws people into the body of the content. There’s no template for that because bodies are too large, but you can follow a template for the hook.

Template:

{Personal result that attracts attention (can be one line or two)}.

{Interesting/appealing lead into the body of the content}:

Example:

11. Client/Customer Results + Lead

This is the same as the last one except you’re signaling results that your client/customer got rather than results that you got. Depending on what you sell, this can be even more powerful than sharing personal results.

Template:

{Client/customer result that attracts attention (can be one line or two)}.

{Interesting/appealing lead into the body of the content}:

Example:

12. Correcting

This one is more of a post type than a template. We’ll have a few of those throughout this guide. Correcting creates a bit of drama. It’s often an unpopular opinion or something people don’t immediately think of. Think “X doesn’t do Y, it does Z” or “most people think X, but the truth is actually Y”. 

Template:

{Present the conventional thought}. 

{Present the actual truth}.

{Optional last line that ties things together}.

Example:

13. Two Steps

“Once you do X, you do/don’t do/think Y” is a powerful template because it appeals to people who have done X or want to do it. It can also be controversial because the implication is that people who are enlightened in some way do Y, and those who don’t aren't.

Template:

Once you do {something}, you {do or don’t do something else}.

Example:

14. Question + Explanation

People instinctively want to answer questions. That’s especially true if the question is relevant to them. Asking a rhetorical one is a solid hook, and if the explanation after it is good, you’ll get good results.

Template:

{Question that is relevant to your readers}?

{Explanation that builds off that question}.

Example:

15. Don’t Do X + Do Y

People often respond well to these two-sided commands. The “don’t” portion grabs attention because it’s bold and signals that that thing is a mistake to avoid. The “do” portion provides value because it explains what to do instead.

Template:

Don’t {act/speak/think a certain way}.

Instead {act/speak/think this way (possibly in a list)}.

{Optional last line that ties things together}.

Example:

16. Story Starter + Story

Stories are great for attracting and keeping attention. That applies to any kind of writing, and social media writing especially. In this variant, you just tell a story that people find intriguing.

Template:

{Especially interesting part of the story (maybe start in the middle or the end, maybe just think of a solid hook)}.

{The rest of the story}.

Example:

17. Story Start + Content

This variant of story post starts with a small story and then transitions into content. I like these a bit better than the previous one because there is actionable advice for the audience rather than just a purely entertaining story.

Template:

{Especially interesting part of the story or a short summary of it}.

{Lead into an actionable list of tips or a broader idea}:

Example:

18. Steal

“Steal” has become one of my most used words when writing online because people respond very well to it. It communicates getting something for nothing, or taking a shortcut. The funny part is that you’re rarely actually stealing. It usually just means “get inspiration from”. You can offer to help someone steal anything: content ideas, ad ideas, and more. 

Template:

How to steal {thing people want}:

{Explanation for how}.

Example:

19. Then & Now

Transformations perform very well on social media, whether they’re changes in mindset, wealth, health, happiness, or just about anything else. You can use them in a shorter post like the one below, or you can turn transformations into longer posts/threads.

Template:

I used {think/act like this (possibly in a list]}.

Now I {think/act like this (possibly in a list]}.

{Optional last line that ties things together}.

Example:

20. Good Morning

This is in the general family of shouting out a certain type of person, but it’s specifically a “good morning” post. I like them because shouting out is resonant and saying good morning leads to getting replies.

Template:

Good morning to {everyone who does X or doesn’t do Y} {optional emoji to make it more friendly}.

Example:

21. Resonant Shoutouts

This is the general form of the good morning post. I usually start these with just the word “shoutout”. Another approach is starting with “If you’re X” then finishing with a similar second part of the post.

Template:

Shoutout to {type of person and what they say for do} {optional emoji to make it more friendly}.

Example:

22. Fake Out

The general family of this one is humor, but there aren’t a lot of humor templates out there. I’ve noticed that fake-out satire content often does really well. The other type that performs well is simple memes.

Template:

{Intro to a post that looks serious}.

{Turn it into a joke in the middle or at the end}.

Example:

23. Story + Lesson

In this story post, you tell the full story, then you explain the lesson behind it at the end. The lesson of our below example is the value of ownership.

Template:

{Especially interesting part of the story or a short summary of it}.

{The story}.

{The lesson behind it}.

Example:

24. Doing The Math

I’ve been in the internet marketing game for years, so I’ve seen variations of this about 1,000 times. It’s generic, but it helps beginners, and it often gets good engagement. You can apply it to making money, saving money, losing weight, and a lot more.

Template:

{First line that indicates you’re gonna do some math. Something like “The math behind X” or “If you want to do X, you need to do Y”}:

{The math broken down}.

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

25. Simple How-To

Telling people how to do something they want to do is simple but powerful. You don’t need to get fancy with these. Just write a clear hook and a list/explanation that makes sense.

Template:

How to {do something desirable}:

{Explanation of how to do it}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

26.Detailed How-To

This is similar to the last one, but the explanation is in-depth. On Twitter, that’ll be a thread. On LinkedIn, it’ll be a long post or a carousel. On Instagram, it’ll be a carousel. The example below is just the beginning of a long post.

Template:

How to {do something desirable}:

{Extended explanation of how to do it}

{Conclusion that ties things together}.

Example:

27. End/Middle Of Story + Full Story

I’ve hinted at making story hooks better by starting with the end or in the middle, but this is the explicit template for it. My example below is perfect. While you can’t recreate popularizing the fidget spinner, I bet you have a personal story or can find an impersonal one to write about.

Template:

{The interesting end or middle of a story}.

{Lead into the body of the story}:

Example:

28. Advice To Your Younger Self

Giving advice to your younger self is resonant because a lot of people out there are similar to that person. You can give life advice, career advice, fitness advice, or any other type. People tend to pay attention because giving advice signals that valuable wisdom might be coming.

Template:

{Advice to my younger self / 10 things I’d tell my younger self / etc}:

{The thing if it’s singular, or a list if there are many pieces to share}

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

29. How-To + Parenthesis

We’ve talked about how-to guides a couple of times now. One I’ll add is the how-to guide with a parenthesis. Learning how to do something desirable is appealing for obvious reasons. The parenthesis adds a little more value or emphasis. A big one I often use is “(for free)” to signal that this how-to doesn’t cost anything.

Template:

How to {desirable thing} ({something that makes it even more desirable}):

Example:

30. Most People

I talked a bit about this in “correcting”, but it’s worth talking about again. Saying that most people do X or Y is effective because it creates us vs them persuasion. “Most people” is “them”, while the rest are “us”.

Template:

Most people {do something / think something / won’t understand / etc}.

{General idea or something that the “us” group does/thinks/understands}.

Example:

31. How To + Objection Handled

Learning how to do something is great. Learning how to do something easily, affordably, etc is even better. That’s why handling objections in your how-to hooks is a good idea. Say it’s easy, affordable, free, not time-consuming, or something like that, and more people will get interested. In the example below, turning your life around is appealing, but it sounds difficult. Dan writing that it only takes 30 minutes handles an objection and makes it more appealing.

Template:

How to {something desirable} {objection handled}:

Example:

32. Simple Question

This is a classic and doesn’t need much explanation. If you have an existing audience, asking a relevant question can lead to lots of replies. The only thing I’ll add is that it’s best to make that question relevant to your brand. As a writer, I wouldn’t ask for people’s favorite movies because that’s not going to attract the targeted audience I want. Instead, I might ask for their favorite writing books.

Template:

{Question that’s relevant to your audience}?

Example:

33. I Did X So You Don’t Have To

People want what they want, but they also usually want it quickly, affordably, and easily. That’s why saying that you did the hard/expensive/time-consuming work for them is appealing. The most common examples of “X” I’ve seen are spending money and spending a lot of hours on something.

Template:

I {did something undesirable} so you don’t have to.

Here’s {the reward you want without doing that undesirable thing}:

Example:

34. Avoid Mistakes

A lot of marketers only sell with positive things: hope, tips, how-to guides, etc. The smartest marketers also work in some negative things: fear, mistakes, what not to do, etc. Combining them is more powerful than either on their own. You can go a lot of ways with this, so use my template if you’d like, but feel free to get creative and find a different way to hit the “avoid mistakes” angle.

Template:

Most people {suffer some undesirable result}.

Avoid these {number} mistakes, and you won’t be one of them:

Example:

35. If You X, Read This

The “if you X” part calls out a kind of reader and makes them pay attention. The “read this” part gives them a specific call to action. Combined, they make for a solid hook that often works well.

Template:

If you {do this / are this / struggle with this problem / have this goal}, read this:

Example:

36. How It Used To Be + How It Is Now 

As we’ve discussed, transformations are powerful. There are a lot of ways to use them to get engagement. The below example shows the transformation of a successful artist. If you were a political writer, you can compare how things were under one president vs another. This is another version of comparison, but it’s specifically about how things changed over time.

Template:

{How a person, process, or culture used to be (possibly in a list format)}.

{How that person, process, or culture is now (possibly in a list format)}.

Example:

37. X List Items That Lead To Y

People love lists and desirable outcomes, so how bout we combine them? This is similar to the process templates we went over at the beginning, but it’s usually a collection of thoughts/habits rather than a step-by-step process.

Template:

{Number} {habits/decisions/etc} that {contributed to a desirable outcome}:

Example:

38. Name Drop + Useful Info

Name-dropping is a classic tactic that works well. All you have to do is drop the name of a famous person or brand near the top of your post. This catches attention and makes people want to read more. There are many ways to do this, so if you want to try a different version than this template, do so.

Template:

{Famous person/brand} {got desirable result}.

{Explanation of how + how readers can use that explanation to improve their results too}:

Example:

39. Goal Comparison

This is another comparison that I’ve seen work over and over again. Comparing the goals creates some “us vs them” persuasion, and because you’re describing what you do and don’t want, people get interested in the author.

Template:

My goal isn’t {common goal that you don’t have}.

My goal is {the goal you do have”.

{Optional last line that ties things together}.

Example:

40. Unpopular Opinion + Other Minimalistic Hooks

This one is extremely common. It’s actually so overused that I don’t use it almost ever, but it’s worth mentioning. Saying an opinion is unpopular naturally draws people to read it because people like drama. You can use different versions of this by choosing different words. That includes phrases like “unconventional tip” or “weird mindset”. 

Template:

{Minimalistic hook like “Unpopular opinion” or “Unconventional marketing tip” or "Underrated copywriting tip"}:

{The opinion/tip/etc}.

Example:

41. List + Value Raiser

As we’ve discussed, list posts tend to do well. They often do even better when you add a value raiser to the end of the hook/title. Our example below does that. It’s not just a collection of writing tips. It’s a collection of tips so good that it will (allegedly) help you more than a decade of schooling will. You can raise value in a bunch of ways, including comparing it to other valuable things, making it affordable, and making it less time-consuming. 

Template:

{Number of things} that {lead to a desirable outcome} {a value raiser}:

Example:

42. Give A Little + Get A Lot

As we’ve already discussed, people want what they want, but they also want it for as little money and hard work as possible. That’s why this simple hook format works. You draw them in by saying you can get them something good, and you sweeten the deal by mentioning how little they have to invest. 

Template:

Give me {some small amount of time}, and I’ll give you {something desirable}:

Example:

43. If You’re X, Do Y

This is the general version of the “If you’re X, read this” template we discussed above. With this one, we can tell our readers to do anything: read the full post, leave a reply to the post, etc. 

Template:

If you’re a {type of person/profession}, {take some sort of action}.

Example:

44. X 101

“101” is a higher education term that signals that a class is for beginners. So, when you write “marketing 101”, “copywriting 101”, or “fitness 101”, you’re signaling that you’re about to share a foundational tip about that subject. I’ve seen these posts do well many times.

Template:

{Topic} 101

{Foundational tip/concept about that topic or a longer post that shares many tips, concepts, mindsets, etc}

Example:

45. Progression Comparison

Yes, it’s another comparison. Last one, I promise. This type highlights how much something or someone has progressed. Usually, that’ll be you, but sometimes it’s more general. A personal progression might be how fast you do something or how good your results have been. A general one might be how technology has progressed or something like that.

Template:

{How it used to be}.

{Optional progress update from the middle}.

{How it is now}.

{Optional lead into body of content}.

Example:

46. Statement + Examples

Statements and quick tips work well. They work even better when you back them up with examples. Our example below does that. It highlights a writing principle, then it gives actionable value by showing you the principle in action.

Template:

{Statement}.

{Examples of the principle in action}.

{Optional last line that ties things together or asks your readers a question}.

Example:

47. Happy Announcement

Happy announcements are great for personal brands because they lead to engagement, often build trust, and update people on your life. You can’t make these up, but when positive events come around, post about them. You can do a super minimalistic version like Tim did in our example below, or you can expand it into a larger post that explains your emotions and/or gives tips to your readers.

Template:

{Announcement of happy news}.

{Optional expansion on your feelings and/or useful content like lessons learned or strategies your readers can use}

Example:

48. Percentage Breakdown

People love numbers. Numbered lists, exact statistics, etc. I’ve also found that they like when you break a concept down into percentages. Not only are there numbers in these types of posts, but they also let you share an opinion that people can agree or disagree with. My example below is short and simple, but I’ve seen people be very successful with longer lists too.

Template:

{Topic} is {list of percentage points and their correspond aspects}.

{Final line that ties things together or asks for a reply}.

Example:

49. Simple Tip

This is similar to the “{subject} 101” template above except rather than write “101”, you write “tip”. Copywriting tip, marketing tip, fitness tip, mindset tip, etc. You can also throw in a keyword like “weird” or “unpopular” or whatever else, but that’s not required.

Template:

{Optional keyword like “underrated” or “weird”} {topic} tip:

Example:

50. Combinations

As you probably noticed going through these examples, many of them use multiple persuasive tricks and pieces of multiple templates. In the example below, Justin signals results, handles the “it’s too expensive” objection, leads into a list, and handles another objection by calling the tools “no-code”. Look back through these examples and I bet you’ll find a ton more that mix and match. There’s no template for this one because they’re combinations of multiple templates.

Example:

Conclusion

Next time you're starting at a blank page, look at this list of social media content ideas.

I bet you'll find something worth writing about.

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