We’ve all been there — staring at your social media page and wondering what to post, posting something only sporadically, or simply avoiding the situation altogether. Don’t feel badly about it. When you’re busy running your franchise, sometimes creating social media content is the farthest thing from your mind.
There’s no need to spend hours trying to come up with ideas. We’ve done the heavy lifting below to give you plenty of ammo for the next month!
You can easily switch up or repeat these ideas, depending on how frequently you post, so you should never run out of ideas. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll be able to watch your following and engagement grow week after week and month after month.
#1 Spotlight an Employee
Employee spotlights are a great way to tell your customers about your employees while also boosting employee morale. These spotlights don’t have to be formal, “employee of the month” types of posts. Sometimes, simply featuring an employee with a nice photo and caption is enough to attract great engagement.
You can talk about their work, their hobbies, fun facts, anything that makes them unique and shows how they positively contribute to your location. Maybe it’s the employee who goes about her job, day in and day out, with a smile on her face. Or the one who consistently delivers outstanding service while also juggling a hectic life outside work. Your customers will love to see this “other” side of employees they might interact with regularly but know little about.
#2 Feature a Customer Testimonial
Did you get a great customer review? Feature it as a post! Even better than that is if you post a photo of the customer (with permission!) using your product or service. Note: The Rallio mobile app has a built-in model release form so you can easily obtain permission from your photo subjects.
#3 Hashtag It
Hashtags make you more discoverable to your target audience and help put your brand in the mix around relevant conversations. They work particularly well on Instagram, where you can include them not only in captions, but also in your bio and stories.
You can (and should) build an entire strategy around hashtags. Depending on your goals, you can use your hashtags to attract new followers, increase industry exposure, riff off a day of the week (e.g., #WednesdayWisdom or #caturday), run contests, and even build brand awareness with a branded hashtag (more on that next).
Do your research to see what kinds of topics are trending around any particular hashtag before you use it — here’s a quick roundup of tools you can use in your research. Proofread ad nauseum, and look for any possible embarrassing misspellings that could ensue. And change the hashtag if there’s even a remote possibility of it getting morphed into something different and unintended.
Our client Pet Supplies Plus uses the branded hashtag #minusthehassle to make it clear how easy and hassle-free it is to shop at their stores. As we discuss in this post, branded hashtags can be used to promote your brand’s personality, special offers and other information specific to your brand. Read this post for more on choosing a branded hashtag.
However, be aware that if your franchise brand overall is using a particular hashtag, you’ll need to incorporate other hashtags in your posts that call attention to your individual location. For example, some of our Pet Supplies Plus locations also use something unique to their city, such as #PSP(city name).
#4 Share Someone Else’s Content
Not all your content has to be created from scratch. Share content from a brand that complements yours, and you can build relationships while positioning yourself as a helpful resource for your audience.
#5 Highlight a Product or Service
Do you have a certain product or service you offer that customers don’t know much about? Use a social post to highlight it! Videos are an especially great way to explain how your product or service works, why it’s beneficial and how customers can use it.
#6 Play Off a Holiday
Create posts not only for calendar holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, but also those that celebrate a certain “day” like Teacher Appreciation Day, International Women’s Day, Pi Day or National Puppy Day. You can take just about any “holiday” and relate it to your business, especially those that specifically speak to your customers.
Have some fun with it and get your customers involved, too. Ask them to post their favorite photos of XYZ — whether it’s their pet, their favorite pizza or their best Halloween costume. As your customers comment, like and share, it boosts engagement and reach.
#7 Run a Contest or Giveaway
Contests and giveaways are a great way to build your following quickly. One strategy is to partner with one or more complementary brands and offer a giveaway product or service. As part of the giveaway rules, ask people to make sure they’re following both brands and to tag X number of friends in the comments.
Be sure to add the post to your Story on Instagram to create even more traction. You can also go Live on Instagram and Facebook to promote the giveaway. You’ll be surprised at how many new followers you get. Then again, maybe it’s not that surprising — everyone loves free stuff!
#8 Post a Viral Photo or Video
Don’t overdo this one, because you don’t want to seem like you’re desperate for attention. But posting a viral photo or video is one of the quickest and easiest ways to gain engagement on your page. Maybe it’s a cute photo of a puppy or a baby, or any kind of media that has the “awww” factor built right into it. You can further your engagement even more by asking your audience to post their photos and tag you, too.
#9 Ask a Question
People love giving their opinions, so ask for them! You can either include a thought-provoking question in the caption of your post, or create an Instagram story with a poll sticker attached. Ask people to vote on two different options — for an outfit, for example. Then you can create a post featuring the results and take your engagement even farther.
#10 Invite Them to Ask Questions
Instagram Stories give you another sticker option where your audience can ask you questions, too. Once you have a large enough following, people will love the opportunity to ask you more about your background, your preferences and your favorite things. You can then feature your answers as part of your Story.
#11 Make It Local
What are your local sports teams, hot spots, special events and things only people in your town would understand? What famous people grew up in your town? Who’s the resident historian or barista? This type of hyper-local subject matter is perfect fodder for your social pages. These posts are not only share-worthy, but they’re also great conversation starters that will boost your engagement.
#12 Create and Promote an Event
Did you know your Facebook business page has an Events tab? Go there and create an event for your location, and then boost the post to increase exposure. It could be a grand opening, a popup boutique, a food or drink tasting — anything that will draw a crowd. Boosting the post will get it in front of more eyes and encourage new customers to visit your store. When people RSVP, they’ll receive push notifications that the event is approaching.
#13 Post an Offer
Likewise, you can click on the Offers tab to create a discount or deal right from your page. Just click on the Create Offer button to be taken to a popup window, where you select the cover photo, discount type, the expiration date, the promo code if you have one, and the action you want customers to take — i.e., Shop Now, Call Now, Save, etc. People will get a notification when the discount is about to expire. You can also boost these offers for more exposure.
#14 Post a Job
Are you seeing the pattern? Your Facebook page has a Jobs tab, too. Go there and post your job openings. Boost them. Get more applicants directly through Facebook! You can even include your salary range and add your own application questions to prequalify applicants. Many of our Rallio clients use this strategy with great success, getting more applicants and generating buzz about their company.
#15 Post a Relevant News Item
Read your local newspaper and find something fun, lighthearted or thought-provoking. Create your own post about it and invite comments from your audience. A word of caution, however: Avoid anything overly political or religious unless there’s a strong business reason to do so.
Also, be sensitive to world events or anything happening locally. The last thing you want to do is offend someone by, say, making a joke about fires on the same day firefighters are battling a blaze in town.
#16 Talk About the Weather
Talking about the weather is generally reserved for meteorologists, first dates and elevator conversations, right? Well, there’s a place for it on social media if the weather is newsworthy and if you do it right. For example, let’s say it’s so hot outside that you’re offering a buy one, get one free offer on your ice cream or lemonade. Think of a way to relate the weather to your business, and you can get patrons in the door via social media.
#17 Gossip … Just a Little
Everyone loves feeling like they’re getting inside scoop. Maybe you post a photo with your significant other, or talk about your life before starting your business. Imagine sitting down with a friend and sharing a little-known part of yourself. There’s no need to go overboard, but even just a hint into the “other” you will go a long way!
#18 Play Off a Popular Social Trend
Remember the 10-Year Transformation? Or “the dress” (blue and black versus white and gold)? Create your own post to chime in on the fun. If you’re not already familiar with the current trending topics, you can check the Explore section of Instagram or Trends for You on Twitter.
#19 Caption This
Snap a photo of something weird, funny, unexpected or silly. Post it with a simple “Caption this!” and watch the funny comments roll in!
#20 Be in the Moment
If you look at pictures of kids, oftentimes the best photos are candids — not the staged photos of them in pristine clothes sitting perfectly on top of a tree branch, gazing off into the distance. The same principle applies to your social media photos. Candid, authentic, real photos will always be better than anything staged — and definitely better than any stock photo out there.
Try playing photographer for a day (or let an employee do it), and just wander around snapping photos that capture a feeling — maybe it’s your workers enjoying being in their element. Add a playful caption, and voila! There’s your post for the day.
#21 Recommend a Product or Service
Sometimes, shining the spotlight on someone else is a great way to make yourself look great, too. Think about some of the products or services you use that are complementary to your business, and create a review-style post to highlight why you love it.
You can tag the brand in your post — maybe even reach out to them to inquire if they’d be willing to do the same. For example, if you have a cleaning business and use a certain brand of cleaner, you can show before-and-after photos demonstrating how great it works. The brand could then share those photos on their own pages, increasing your exposure even more.
Writing a great caption is a blog-worthy topic of its own (perhaps to be covered in a future post). For now, here are a few quick tips to help you write a caption:
- Know your audience so your references and context won’t go over their heads, offend them or drive them away
- Keep your brand voice and tone consistent
- Infuse personality into every word (never be boring); emojis work well for this
- Either keep it brief or have a reason for long-form content (check out @natgeo for examples of longer captions that work well for National Geographic)
- Use hashtags related to your caption and brand; you can post them as a separate comment if you want to avoid cluttering up your caption
- Be sure to tag any relevant people or brands in the caption to increase engagement
- Use calls to action to invite people to comment, tag friends or answer a question
So there you have it — everything you need to begin posting great content today. If you work with a team, you can also divvy up tasks — for instance, maybe one person is great at capturing candid photos, and another is skilled at writing captions.
You can also outsource your social media to the Rallio Local team and we’ll handle all the posting for you if you provide the pictures. We can empower your team with limited mobile logins so your employees can become advocates for your brand.