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The 4 Best Types of Content for Social Media and How to Balance Them

types of content for social media

Getting the most out of the content you produce for social media, means mixing in several different types of content. But what’s the right recipe for the best return on your time and efforts?

First off, let’s be sure we’re on the same page. What are the 4 powerful content-drivers of social media:

  1. Engaging Content

  2. Promotional Content

  3. Educational Content

  4. Curated Content

Let’s define these in a little more detail:

Engaging Content

Engaging content refers to content or social posts that are designed to produce response actions in the form of clicks, comments and likes from your social audience. These posts are often funny, ‘National Days’ of the year (perhaps “National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day”), motivational quotes, or questions posed for the express purpose of generating action or discussion by your audience.

It’s important to remember that most users spend time on social media for entertainment or social purposes. This is why engaging content should be your primary focus on social media, as opposed to trying to sell your products or services.

Promotional Content

Promotional content refers to socials posts that advocate for your organization in any way – whether it’s a product or service you offer, upcoming events, customer testimonials, company news, etc. Of course, you’d like to share engaging content with your audience, but it’s good to factor in some promotional content in order to increase brand awareness and generate new leads and sales. After a few fun, entertaining posts, throw in a key service your company offers or a limited-time deal for your social followers as sometimes people are in the mood to shop or take action after seeing a good deal!

Educational & Informational Content

You want to be careful with the amount of educational content on social media. Again, your audience is there for entertainment, not to learn about your organization. However, once you’ve gained their attention and trust, it doesn’t hurt to provide some level of professional insights and tips to your audience. Consider sharing your latest blog post, or create a live video explaining key findings, recent news or professional advice. With this being social media, consider making this type of content light and fun, if that is appropriate for your brand.

Curated Content

“Curated” content refers to content created by others that you share to your audience. Curated content is often educational, interesting articles or infographics that you feel will be useful or interesting to your audience. Since curated content isn’t your organization’s content, you want to be sure to give appropriate credit to the author/creator and not appear to pretend that this content is coming from you (or your organization). Note, however, that there is real value in sharing content from other sources, especially if you can add something to it like a comment or supporting/contradicting argument when you share it.

Now that we are aware of these four (4) types of content for social media, we should remember that different types of people consume content differently. This means we should be aware of our particular audience and try to deliver our content in forms most appropriate for their appetites. This could be video content, infographics, detailed whitepapers, numbers-heavy analysis, bullet-point summaries, customer testimonials or other forms.

How Do You Balance These 4 Types of Content?

When developing a content plan, how do you determine an appropriate mixture of these four types of social content?

Here is a model – from the pros at social dashboard and content tool, PromoRepublic – which you might use as a starting point. As we have discussed above, focusing on engaging content on social media, is important. This model shows that engaging content should be where most of your content should focus.

social media marketing optimal content plan

*SMM Optimal Content Plan by PromoRepublic

This model, like any model, should be used as a starting point. Your particular, unique audience will tell you the types of content that work best for them. Use your performance analytics to figure out what is working and what is not. Then you can adjust your content mix accordingly, so you are meeting the needs (and preferences) of your particular customers/users.


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