10 Types of Social Media Content That Drive Engagement & Growth

Social media content can generate brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, and drive other positive outcomes for your business.

But with so much noise on social media, it’s hard to know which posts will stand out and resonate with your target audience.

Which is why we’ve created this list of 10 types of social media content to use across your social media accounts to drive your desired results.

A short-form promotional video is a type of social media content focused on one of your products or services that’s five seconds to three minutes long. 

For example, Instagram reels are short-form videos ranging from 15 to 90 seconds. And can easily be used for promotional purposes. 

Here’s an Instagram reel from Nike that promotes their new athletic wear.

Not every organization will have Nike’s marketing budget. But even a small business committed to social media can make reels work for them.

Check out how local fitness club Kin Culture uses Instagram reels to promote their weekly running club. 

Reel by fitness club Kin Culture promoting their weekly run club.

Both reels worked because they’re visually engaging. And they provide the viewer with information about the brand and what it has to offer.

Benefits of Short-Form Videos

Better Reach and Discoverability

Many social media platforms prioritize short-form videos in their algorithms, increasing the likelihood of your content being seen by a wider audience.

Good for Ad Campaigns

Short-form video is well-suited for social media advertising campaigns. Which can help you reach new audiences and achieve your goals faster.

Potentially Higher Engagement Rates

Short-form promotional videos are ideal for an audience with a limited attention span. Their brief nature makes it more likely that viewers will watch the whole video, share it, etc.

2. Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Behind-the-scenes videos give viewers a glimpse into the inner workings of your business. To help build trust and credibility.

And because most people are naturally curious, this footage piques their interest. Which may encourage likes, comments, and messages.

Behind-the-scenes videos could include employee highlights, the product development process, or upcoming launch teasers. 

You could even create comedic insights into office life like Semrush does on Instagram.

Comedic Semrush reel about marketers.

Benefits of Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Better Storytelling

Behind-the-scenes videos allow brands to tell their stories more effectively by showing the journey, struggles, and successes behind the scenes.

Increased Connection with Your Audience

These videos can build a stronger connection between your audience and brand by showing the human side of your business. Which can foster trust.

More Anticipation

Use behind-the-scenes videos to tease new products, store openings, or other events to build excitement for your launch. 

3. Tutorials and How-to Videos

Tutorials and how-to videos share the process of how something is done. Think about that last DIY video you saw on YouTube—that’s an example of a tutorial video.

Tutorials and how-to videos let you share knowledge with your target audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. 

For example, cooking brand Tasty creates authoritative, visually engaging tutorial videos on their TikTok channel.

TikTok video by Tasty showing cooking tutorial.

And note that how-to videos can work well as long-form content. Especially if the process is lengthy or involved. 

Benefits of Tutorials and How-To Videos

Potentially Better Engagement

Tutorial videos encourage repeat views and shares as people return to the content for reference. Which drives sustained engagement.

Increases Authority

Sharing tutorials and showing your target audience the depth of your expertise helps establish credibility. Which builds trust. 

Has Long-Term Value

Because tutorials and how-to videos are evergreen (i.e., they don’t go out of date), they can attract views and engagement over a long period of time. 

4. User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is any content created by customers, fans, and other users. And is repurposed by businesses—typically on their own social media channels.

Because UGC is created by users, it acts as a personal recommendation about a product or service. Which is likely to be seen as more trustworthy to other prospects.

One of the most impactful examples of UGC comes from Apple. 

The company’s #ShotoniPhone campaign challenged iPhone users to shoot and post their best photos on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). 

From submissions, Apple selected the best images to use on billboard campaigns around the world.

Here’s a #ShotoniPhone example from a follower in Germany.

Images posted on Instagram by Lukas Richter for Shot on iPhone campaign.

Reviews and testimonials are another type of UGC that businesses can use (though it often takes a bit more work to create the posts). 

Skincare brand Purito Seoul uses a customer review to highlight their line of sun lotion.

Instagram post by Purito Seoul highlighting customer review of their sun lotion.

Notice how they’ve used a carousel? This means they can share more than one positive customer review in a single post, helping reinforce the message that the viewer should purchase their product.

Benefits of UGC Content

Shows Social Proof

UGC is created by real users. Which means it can be more relatable and trustworthy than brand-generated content.

Grows Brand Loyalists

Because UGC encourages audience engagement, they feel part of a community. Which can result in brand advocacy and long-term relationships.

Cost-Effective

Because users create the content themselves, it keeps your social media production costs low.

5. Influencer Marketing Content

Influencer marketing is when a brand partners with an influencer to create content that promotes the brand’s products or services.

Brands use influencer marketing to achieve numerous goals, but it can be particularly effective for increasing sales. Because users often make purchasing decisions based on influencer posts. 

This is how Ice Spice and Dunkin’ worked together to promote the company’s America Runs on Donuts campaign:

Tweet by Ice Spice promoting Dunkin Donuts product.

If your social media funds don’t stretch to big name celebrities, look for smaller influencers in your niche to build mutually beneficial relationships with.

All that said, influencer marketing isn’t for everyone. Consider your audience and your budget before using it as part of your social media content marketing plan.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Increased Reach

Influencer marketing to increase your reach on social media by tapping into the influencer’s follower base. 

Access to Expert Creators

Working with influencers allows you to leverage their skills to create engaging content that resonates with your target audience and drives results.

Potentially More Sales

Working with influencers to promote your products or services can lead to more sales. Because influencers’ followers are likely to trust their recommendations and proceed with a purchase.

6. Live Videos and Streams

Incorporating live video and streaming into your social media content strategy can help you generate engagement in real time. And interact directly with your audience. 

You can use live video to host one-off or special events, introduce new research, respond to customer questions, or collaborate with influencers and industry experts. 

Here’s an example of how Airbnb used YouTube to host a live discussion on how to create welcoming spaces. 

Live YouTube video discussion on Airbnb's channel.

Benefits of Live Videos and Streams

Sense of Urgency and Exclusivity

Live content is often perceived as unique. Which can persuade more users to tune in.

Primed for Social Media Algorithms

Social media algorithms encourage live content. So your followers get a notification when you go live, which can increase reach and engagement.

Allows You to Collect Feedback

Live video can be a two-way communication channel with your audience. Use this to your advantage and ask for feedback in the moment to help improve your products, services, or future events. 

7. Q&As and AMAs

Run live question and answer (Q&A) or ask me anything (AMA) sessions to build personal connections with your followers. And show your expertise. 

You can do this in different ways:

  • As a live video on Instagram
  • As a text-based question-and-answer session on Reddit
  • As a live-tweet thread on X

After the Q&A or AMA session, you can grab screenshots and/or clips and repurpose that content into different formats.

Reddit is well-known for hosting AMAs with established cultural figures. 

One of their most popular and memorable AMAs was with Jon Stewart, a comedian and writer. And he used the platform to help promote a new show on Apple TV.

Jon Stewart AMA on Reddit.

Benefits of Q&As and AMAs

Generate Engagement

Q&As and AMAs are naturally conversational and question-based. This means there’s an opportunity to generate lots of engagement with this type of social media content.

Greater Transparency

Opening your business up to questions demonstrates transparency, which helps grow consumer trust—especially when you host a conversation with a CEO, owner, or founder. 

Allows for Genuine Connections

Addressing customer comments, questions, and concerns directly shows you care about their opinions and are interested in what they have to say. Which helps strengthen relationships.

8. Simple Images and Image Carousels

Sharing photos lets businesses quickly convey concepts with their audiences. And can tap into emotions. 

And images are a brilliant option for smaller businesses that might not have the marketing budget to partner with more expensive influencers. Or create lots of video content.

Palate uses images to promote its wine tasting event and showcase its brick-and-mortar shop to encourage sign-ups.

Instagram post by Palate to promote its wine tasting event.

Benefits of Images and Image Carousels

Easy to Produce

Because mobile devices are equipped with powerful cameras, anyone can create an image for social media. 

Semrush AI Social Content Generator app Content Library showing three AI generated posts.

Visually Engaging

Using eye-catching colors and design that align with your brand identity can entice users to stop scrolling. And even click.

Allows You to Test

Play around with the use of color, style, language, and design variations. So you can see what drives the most engagement.

9. Infographics

Infographics are both visual and informative—two factors that drive engagement.

And because infographics are easy to scan, audiences can consume a lot of information in a short amount of time. 

Because infographics distill complex information, they’re often used by B2B companies to help explain processes.

Here’s an example we shared on LinkedIn that shows how to conduct an SEO audit:

Semrush LinkedIn post showing how to do an SEO audit using an infographic.

If your infographics are particularly useful, they can also acquire backlinks (assuming they’re published on your website) to support search engine optimization efforts. And gain press mentions that help drive brand awareness.

You can create infographics using tools such as Canva, Visme, and Miro to make creating content for social media fast and easy.

Benefits of Infographics

Eye-Catching

Infographics’ combination of information and visual design makes them highly shareable, which can improve your social media reach.

Simplify Complex Information

Infographics help simplify complicated information or insights by breaking down data, statistics, or concepts into visual elements that are easier to understand.

Easy to Repurpose for Other Campaigns

Infographics are versatile. Which means you can use them in multiple ways. For example, email campaigns and landing pages.

10. Memes and GIFs

You’re not using memes and GIFs as part of your social content strategy?

Blinking guy meme GIF.

Using well-timed memes and GIFs in your social content helps you tap into trends, demonstrate your sense of humor, and keep your audience entertained.

Wendy’s is known for being a particularly funny brand on X. And they often join in on trending memes or create their own.

Funny Wendy's tweet about Jason Kelce's lost super bowl ring.

Just make sure the content is relevant to you. Otherwise, it can feel forced and hit a sour note with your audience. 

Benefits of Memes and GIFs

Highly Shareable

Because memes are usually funny or comedic, people are often eager to share them. So there’s a big opportunity for your social media post to reach a wide audience. In some cases, they can even go viral.

Keeps You Current

Knowing what’s trending online and capitalizing on that with memes and GIFs keeps you connected to your audience’s new interests. 

Can Say a Lot with a Little

Using memes and GIFs allows you to express ideas and emotions in a matter of seconds.

Manage Your Social Media Content

There are many other types of social content you can add to your calendar. So, experiment to see what works.

And use Semrush Social to manage all your social media efforts. The tool helps with scheduling, monitoring and responding to messages, analyzing performance, and much more.

Try it today.

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