Blog header with text reading: social media content - how to post with purpose and an image of social media icons.

Social media content ideas: how to post with purpose

Social media is brilliant for staying in touch with friends and family across the world and connecting with people who share your hobbies and interests. It can also be a fantastic marketing tool. 

But using social media to market your business isn’t as simple as sticking an ad on your company page once a month. You need to be using it consistently and with a goal in mind. 

Likes and views are all well and good if you’re only interested in building a following. But if you want to generate leads and sales, you need to set clear objectives so you can measure what works and what doesn’t.

Once you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to start sharing your content and building a following. But what on earth should you be sharing, and how do you come up with ideas? 

Posting with purpose: 3 key content types

Every social media guru out there will have there own ideas about what you should and shouldn’t post, but I like to keep it simple. 

My strategy involves creating a good mix of three key types of content, each with a specific purpose.

  1. Content designed to get more engagement and increase your reach so you attract more followers/subscribers
  2. Content that demonstrates your expertise to build trust and credibility and nurture potential clients
  3. Promotional content that lets people know what you do and inspires action to convert followers into enquiries or buyers

Some posts will fall into one of these categories, while other posts will cover all three. 

Ideally, you want posts that tick two or more boxes, but when you’re new to social media or you find it hard to come up with content ideas, separate them out and aim for one of each a week. 

Three posts a week might sound daunting, but content that falls into categories two and three can easily be pre-written in bulk, and I’ll show you how shortly. 

But first, let’s take a look at ideas for each category. 

Increasing reach

This type of content is designed to get attention. We want people to like it, comment on it, and/or share it. We’re not talking viral content – although that would be nice – we’re just looking at getting more views than usual. 

Even if only a handful of new people see your post, that’s a handful more people whose radar you’re on. Who knows – they might decide to check out your profile, visit your website, or follow you. They might even go on to be a client. 

Entertain people: Social media for business doesn’t have to be dry and boring – businesses are made up of people, and people like to have fun. So think about how you can entertain people. You don’t have to be a comedian to create fun content. Seen a funny typo? Take a photo and share it. Learnt a new fun fact? Share it. Done something silly lately. Share it. 

Spark conversation: Start conversations with your followers – ask questions or invite opinions on something. Encourage your followers to share their views. 

Mention other people or companies: Have you received good service lately? Attended an event? Met someone interesting? Create a post about it and tag the person or company. If your chosen social media platform doesn’t let you tag people, send them a link letting them know you’ve mentioned them in your content. People love getting compliments, so chances are if you mention them, they’ll like or comment on your post, and their followers will see it too. 

Using tags or hashtags: Depending on which social media channels you use, tags and hashtags can be a great way of getting your content in front of more people. Do a bit of research into the best hashtags to use. You can even create your own. 

Talk about trending topics: I’m not a huge fan of jumping on the latest bandwagon just for the sake of it – if everyone is talking about the same thing, it’s hard to stand out. But if you can find a way to link a trending topic to your business, or you can talk about it in a unique way, go for it. 

Share personal stories and relatable experiences: Let people get to know you – who is the person behind the business? You don’t have to share your deepest, darkest secrets, but give followers a little insight into you as a person. Talk about your hobbies and interests – people who share those interests will engage with your posts, and more engagement helps increase your reach.


Ideas for ‘increase reach’ content:

  • Mention an event or concert you’re attending
  • Talk about your favourite holiday destination
  • Share an update about a personal challenge you’ve set yourself
  • Have you recently taken up a new hobby?
  • Has your pet done something naughty lately?
  • What silly things do you find really irritating? 
  • Have you eaten out lately – what was your experience like?
  • Have you experienced great service recently? 
  • Who inspires you? 
  • What films have you watched lately? 
  • Who is your favourite band, and why? 
  • What is the most dangerous/exciting/interesting thing you’ve ever done?
  • Have you ever lived in another country?
  • Are you supporting any charities at the minute?

The great thing about this type of content is you can pretty much create content around anything. The idea is to spark conversations and get engagement, so it doesn’t necessarily even have to be business related (although if you can tie it back to your business or industry in some way, great). 


Examples of ‘increase reach’ posts:

Demonstrating your expertise and credibility

This type of content is where you give value. You demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. You show people you’re an expert in your field. You give them a reason to trust you by proving you are credible. 

Don’t be scared of giving away tips and advice – if you aren’t sharing the information, people will find it elsewhere. Just because you show people how to do something themselves doesn’t mean they won’t still come to you to help them do it. 

People know how to clean their houses, but they’ll still hire cleaners. People know how to cook, but they’ll still go out to eat at restaurants. Show people you know how to solve their problems, and they are more likely to buy from you. 

How-to posts: How-to posts make for great content – you can do a short step-by-step, link to a blog post, or share a video. 

Top tips and advice: If you find yourself sharing the same tips and advice when you’re on calls or in meetings with potential clients, share these tips and advice online. 

Common mistakes and warnings: What are the common mistakes you see your potential clients making? Why is it a mistake, and how can they fix it? Warn your followers about things that might impact them negatively. Give them advice on what to look out for and how to avoid common pitfalls. 

Industry news: What’s happening in your industry that might be of interest to your followers? Summarise the latest updates or make them easier to understand. Talk about how it relates to your ideal clients. Give your expert opinion and insight. 

Information: Provide useful information – things people might not know. Share your knowledge. 

Case studies: Demonstrate your credibility by sharing case studies – real-world examples of how you’ve helped someone solve a problem or achieve an outcome. 

Latest research: Share the latest research from your industry. Or even better, conduct your own research and share the findings with your followers. 

Value-adding content doesn’t have to be limited to a single post – you can link to videos, blog posts, or podcasts. You can give people the option to sign up for a free download or webinar. 


Tip for creating ‘value-add’ content

Make a list of the following:

  • 3 x top tips you could give potential clients
  • 3 x common mistakes you see potential clients making
  • 3 x frequently asked questions
  • 3 x things people might not know about your industry

Now turn each of these into a social media post, and you’ll have 12 posts – enough for one post a week for the next three months.


Examples of ‘value-add’ content:

Promoting your products and services

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making on social media is not promoting their products and services. 

“I don’t want to come across as salesy.”

“Nobody likes being sold to.” 

“I don’t want people to think I’m just after their money.”

Here’s the harsh truth – if you want to last in business, you have to make sales. There’s no way around it. Sales are the most important part of any business. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are at what you do if nobody is buying. So make sure you are telling people what you do. 

Problems you solve: Talk about the problems you solve. What’s keeping your potential clients awake right now? What are they struggling with? How can you improve their life or business?

Outcomes you deliver: Think about what outcomes you deliver for your clients. Not the thing you do – the results it gets. People don’t buy a mattress – they buy a good night’s sleep. 

Testimonials and reviews: You can tell the world how good you are, but they are more likely to believe it if they hear it from someone else. So share customer feedback. Share those reviews and testimonials. Turn them into social media posts. Stick client quotes on coloured backgrounds using Canva and display them proudly on your social media.   

Case studies: Case studies aren’t just great for demonstrating your expertise – they are also great for promoting your services as well. Share your best case studies and tell readers how they can get similar results when they work with you. 

Special offers and product launches: If you’ve got a special offer or you’re launching a new product, make sure you’re letting people know. Create social media posts promoting your offers. Advertise any early-bird discounts. You don’t have to do paid ads to advertise. 

Don’t be scared to promote your products and services. If you genuinely believe you offer something of value, then be proud to tell people about it. I love selling because I know that when someone buys from me, they are getting something that will improve their business, and I think that’s pretty exciting. 

Tips for creating promotional content: 

One of my favourite copywriting formulas is the 4Ps – problem, promise, proof, push. 

You start by identifying the problem, then you promise a solution, then you prove you can deliver on what you say, and then you push readers towards an action – tell them how to get your help. 

The 4Ps work just as well for outcomes as well – just swap ‘problem’ for ‘picture’.

For example:

Instead of: Do you struggle to come up with content ideas?

You take the problem away: Imagine having a bank of content ideas ready to go whenever you need them.

So you open your post by painting a picture, then you promise to deliver the outcome, prove you can do what you say and push them toward an action. 

  • List 4 problems you solve for clients. Create four posts using the 4Ps
  • Turn your 4 problems into outcomes and rewrite your posts accordingly 
  • Create 4 x posts using client feedback

Now you have 12 promotional posts – enough for one a week for the next three months. 

You don’t have to use the 4Ps, but it can help you structure your posts if you’re struggling. 


Examples of  promotional content:

Common mistakes

Now we’ve looked at the types of content you should be creating, let’s look at some of the common mistakes people make.

Focusing on too much on the ‘increase reach’ content

Content designed to increase reach will get more engagement – that’s the whole point of it. A picture of your dog will get more likes than a value-adding post or a promotional post. 

The problem is it’s too tempting to focus on the likes and views, only creating this type of content and ditching the value-add posts and promotional content. 

This is a huge mistake. Followers are not customers. You might feel popular, but if you aren’t telling people what you do, you’re not going to get many sales. 

Focusing on the value-add content

“Give value. Give value. Give value” – there are plenty of gurus out there repeating this mantra. And it is good advice – you should be demonstrating your expertise.

But that’s not all you should be doing. 

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of only sharing helpful content. You’ll probably get plenty of people telling you how helpful they find your content, and helping people feels nice.

But this won’t necessarily translate into sales. 

If you are never being explicit about what services you offer, don’t expect people to automatically make the connection. 

Content marketing is not an alternative to selling. You still have to close the deal at some point. 

Tell people what you do and how to get your support. Don’t sit back and wait for them to come to you because it might never happen. 

Only sharing sales posts

I see people on LinkedIn and companies on Facebook that only ever share posts when they want to sell something. Their next event or webinar. Their latest product or service. Their Easter special or Black Friday offer. 

Yes, you have to sell but don’t make people feel like you’re only interested in them when you want something. 

Social media is about being social – don’t make every post purely about selling. Give some insight into you or your company, demonstrate your expertise, and be helpful. 

Not resharing or repurposing content

You don’t have to come up with new ideas for every post. It’s ok to reshare, reuse and repurpose content.

Your new followers won’t have seen content you shared three months ago. And you existing followers are unlikely to remember content you shared three months ago. Even if they do, they won’t care. We see the same TV ads over and over again – we’re used to it. 

If you follow my tips above for creating value-add and promo posts, you’ll have 12 of each type of post. Once you’ve shared all 12 of each, go back to the start and share again – now you have six months’ worth. You can even pre-schedule them depending on which platforms you use. 

In six months, review your posts. Add some new ones or improve the existing ones and start the process again. 

Then all you need is an ‘increase reach’ post once a week – much easier. And if you miss a week or two? No big deal. At least you’ll have other content going out.  

And guess what? You probably already have a goldmine of content you can repurpose. Check out my article on repurposing content for more ideas. 

Not engaging with other people’s content or comments

Creating your own content is only part of the social media story. 

If you want to build connections with the right people, you need to engage with them too. 

Take time to interact with other people’s content. A like or follow, a comment or share. You don’t have to spend hours – 15 minutes a day is plenty of time to like a couple of posts and leave a few comments.

Engage with customers, clients, suppliers, and people or companies you’d like to do business with. Connect with people you can learn from or find inspiring. And, to keep your feed interesting, connect with a few people who entertain you (just make sure you don’t get too distracted by cute cat videos).

Not having a strategy or clear marketing process

Social media can be a great tool for marketing your business, but it can also be a complete waste of time if other key elements of your marketing aren’t in place. 

Who are you trying to attract? If you don’t know who you want to attract, it’s hard to create messages that appeal to them.  And this doesn’t just apply to your social media posts. It applies to all your marketing – emails, website, blogs, videos, direct messages, brochures and so on. 

What do you want readers to do next? It is possible to convert social media followers into buyers without sending them anywhere else. But if you want to increase your sales, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

Blog posts can be useful for getting followers from social media to click through to your website. Lead magnets can be used to get social media followers on to your email list. 

This takes them away from all the distractions of social media and allows you to hold their attention for longer. And that allows you to start building the relationship so they are more likely to think of you when they are ready to buy. 

So utilise social media, by all means, but don’t rely on it completely. 


Think you need every post to be perfect? Think every single connection or follower will see your post? Think your post will go viral if you spend enough time working on it?


Social media posts don’t get seen by every connection, and even if they did appear in every single follower’s feed, they won’t all pay attention. Think about how many posts you scroll past when you use socials.

Social media is a crowded place, and social media posts have a short shelf life. So don’t overthink your content. Share a post, and if it flops, it flops – nobody will know apart from you. Maybe the post was rubbish, maybe your timing was bad, maybe the algorithms are being shit. Who cares? It’s one post – share some more. 

The more you get used to posting, the easier it becomes. And you’ll start to learn what your audience is interested in and when the best times to post are. 

If you never share anything, you’ll never get results. 

Improve your sales copy and marketing content

Online training

Self-paced copywriting course delivered over four weeks.

Team training

In-person copywriting training for you and your team. 

1-2-1 training

A bespoke 12-week training and mentoring programme.

Hi – I’m Lisa

If this is your first time here, thanks for reading. 

I’m Lisa – owner of Make Your Copy Count Ltd, and author of the ‘A-Z of Blogging’ and ‘The Freelance Fairytale‘. 

I help freelancers and small businesses attract more of the clients they want by providing copywriting training and business mentoring

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better, sign up for my daily email here