You probably already know about the importance of sharing links to your own content on social media.
(That’s part of the whole point of social media marketing, you know?)
But not all of the stuff you post on social necessarily has to be a traffic-driver – in fact, some of the content you post on social media might never appear on your website AT ALL.
Some types of marketing content live exclusively on social media – and they can actually be some of the most valuable stuff you ever post!
Content that lives on social isn’t just ideal for things like racking up the shares and engagement that help grow your audience – it’s also your way of taking advantage of everything social media has to offer!
(Sure, sharing links is important, but there’s also a lot more to social media marketing.)
So – what are some types of content you should be creating JUST for social media?
Let’s take a look at what other brands and entrepreneurs are posting – stuff that isn’t meant to drive traffic to a website!
If you have a smartphone or a webcam, you have everything you need to shoot videos worth sharing.
(And not just live video, either – we’ll talk about that specifically in a sec.)
Sometimes, video content tells a story better than a blog post on your site would. Other times, you’re just not in the mood to write anything, and would rather flex some different creative muscles.
Take this video from BuzzFeed, for example:
BuzzFeed actually wrote a traditional article about this same thing a few years earlier, but this video doesn’t link to it – the video exists to tell the whole story on Facebook.
(And as you can see from all the views and other engagement, it was an effort worth making.)
Not much of a videographer? No problem.
Social videos don’t have to be complicated – or long, or even edited!
They can be as simple as a peek behind the scenes of your business:
Or even just a simple on-brand joke:
All of these videos exist only on social media, because their purpose isn’t necessarily to drive traffic to a link – it’s to share something that their audiences will care about and appreciate!
See? Told you we’d talk about live video!
Live video can actually be really useful for driving traffic to your website, especially because so many people will end up watching after the broadcast ends. (More on that in this post: What We Learned from Three Months of Facebook Live)
Even so, live video doesn’t have to send people anywhere – and in cases like these, it might be even more valuable that way.
Here’s an example from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger:
On the one hand, yes – there’s a URL up in that corner.
But the URL isn’t the actual point.
(It’s more like a bonus.)
Because here are some of the things that this simple live broadcast accomplishes other than sending traffic to a website:
See? There’s so much value here, it honestly doesn’t matter if nobody goes to that URL – the video is a major win no matter what.
Live videos and hangouts are still really useful after they end, too.
For example, here’s one from Social Media Examiner:
— Social Media Examiner (@SMExaminer) June 15, 2018
That video was shared live on Twitter, and because the entire thing is embedded in that Tweet, viewers can enjoy the full value of the video without having to go to a separate website – it’s super convenient and super shareable.
(And if you do want to drive traffic to a web page where you’ve embedded a replay, you can always experiment with sharing clips from a live broadcast. You can check out some examples of that in this post.)
But let’s say you’re not a big fan of video AT ALL.
Not a big deal – there are other types of content you can create just for social media, too!
Got a nugget of wisdom or an enlightening experience to share, but not one that feels like it necessarily needs all the fuss that goes into writing and publishing a post?
Social media is the perfect place to share that kind of thing – it’s fast, simple, and it gives the people who like your brand extra incentive to follow your social accounts!
(Because who wants to miss out on exclusive content from someone they care about?)
Here’s a perfect example from Amy Porterfield:
This post doesn’t link to anything, but it tells a story – something that’s a little longer than the average status update, but a LOT faster to create and share than an entire blog post!
(Plus, take a look at those comments, and specifically Amy’s interactions with the people who engaged with the post. Planning ahead by scheduling social media updates in advance makes it a lot easier to make time for this sort of thing!)
Here’s another example, from Humans of New York:
Humans of New York does have a website where you can find all of the stories that they post on social media, but their social posts don’t exist to drive traffic to that website.
They post updates like this one on social media because that’s the format that benefits them the most – it makes it easy for people to share the stories they find most interesting, and to add their reactions and their own stories in the comments.
Even if you only share a mini blog post like these every now and then, you may notice that the way people engage with them is a little different from how they engage with the content on your actual website!
Adding images to your social updates can dramatically increase the number of times they’re shared – so even if those updates don’t include any links, you can really improve your own visibility!
Here’s an example from Nate Silver:
No Cavalier other than LeBron James has better than 175:1 odds of being NBA Finals MVP, per Paddy Power. pic.twitter.com/dz6NTZZfYL
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 31, 2018
That Tweet doesn’t actually link anywhere – it’s just a simple visualization that elaborates on what he wrote in the update.
And while data like this can be useful when creating images specifically for social, you don’t have to focus on numbers!
A simple, free program can give you everything you need to whip up a graphic sharing one of your favorite quotes – or even a snippet of wisdom you came up with on your own! (Find our favorite tools and resources for creating images here!)
Here’s an example from Nike:
— Nike (@Nike) February 28, 2018
One from SoulCycle:
Who's the Soul to your Cycle? pic.twitter.com/EjWToaLxB9
— SoulCycle (@soulcycle) February 14, 2018
And one from Airstory:
Word. 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/2M8MjxyRNz
— Airstory (@air_story) May 23, 2018
It doesn’t have to be complicated – and you don’t have to have a PhD in graphic design to whip one up.
(Do they have PhD’s in graphic design? Well, anyway.)
A little practice in a drag-and-drop designer, and you can create highly shareable graphics for your social accounts in minutes! (And while you’re at it, make sure you’re sizing your images properly so they don’t look all wonky after you upload them.)
The occasional giveaway or promotion can really help you expand your audience on social media – and in more ways than one!
For example, building a giveaway using a tool like Rafflecopter allows you to set various parameters for entering, including sharing a specific message on Facebook or Twitter.
But you can also make things a lot simpler.
Take a look at this example from Strand Book Store:
View this post on Instagram
🚨🍷GIVEAWAY ALERT🍷🚨 Win a pair of tickets to see Sweetbitter author @smdanler & the cast of @sweetbitter_stz at @vulturefestival tomorrow at 2:15! Tag a friend who does a heavy pour to win! 😉⭐️ Winners announced by EOD. #sweetbitter #stephaniedanler #vulturefestival ⭐️ Winners: @sarah.in.bookland, @missnavarro5, @ashley_ohlala, @wanderingasian, @icehockeystick
A post shared by Strand Book Store, NYC (@strandbookstore) on
All this giveaway took to create was an image and a caption – and because the method of entry was to tag another user in the comments, this update may have been seen by a lot of people who didn’t already follow this account!
Giveaways and promotions don’t have to exist on special landing pages, and they don’t necessarily require a lot of advance preparation, either. By making them live on social media only, you’re creating ways for new people to discover you and plenty of incentive for them to follow you – all in just a few minutes!
Got a soft spot for inspirational quote graphics?
Have you mastered the art of the live broadcast?
Or are you a big fan of something that we didn’t mention in this post?
Let us know what types of social-exclusive content you love creating in the comments!