Social media postsThe best social media accounts are varied, comprising content that cannot be second-guessed. For when content becomes predictable, followers’ switch off and engagement drops.

While it’s important to ensure your social media posts are consistent enough to allow followers to identify that they have come from your brand, don’t fall into the trap of becoming formulaic in order to achieve that consistency.

Consistency comes in your brand voice and posting content that is always relevant to your industry.

Variety is every bit as important as consistency on social media. However, we know that creating posts which vary and excite, every single day, can be hard work. So here are some social post structures, as suggested by Entrepreneur website’s Andrew Raso:

1. Ask a question

If you want to generate a ton of comments, ask a question. According to Kissmetrics, ‘question’ posts achieve 100% more comments than standard social media posts. While they’re not so effective at accumulating likes and shares, for obvious reasons, people can’t resist adding their two pennies worth when presented with a question.

2. Ask followers to fill in the blanks

We don’t see these types of posts too often on social media, but as a device to incite engagement, we can’t see why they wouldn’t work.

Asking followers to end a sentence will not only provoke response worthy of a retweet, it might even yield insight to improve processes and delight customers.

Here’s the sort of thing we’re talking about: “The worst social media fail I’ve seen this year is__________.”

3. Offer a unique tip

Do you have any tips that you could share with your followers that would make them really think? Scour through some of your old content and see what you can find.

I’ve just done the same thing with some of our content from the past month or so. Even if I do say so myself, I think our tip on writing better content by employing fresh metaphors is one of our best. Now we just need to rework it for social media and get it posted!

Good tips are a sure-fire way of getting likes and shares. Even bad tips can do alright…

4. Split fans into two camps

Questions that seek to split your followers into two camps are great for engagement – just don’t make them too divisive.

However, questions like: “Which social platform is best for B2Bs: LinkedIn or Facebook?” shouldn’t provoke too much hostility between people. Aim for banter, not bitter disagreements!

5. Retweet with comments

Is it me, or is the eye drawn to Quote Tweets that have a comment about them? Whenever they appear in my timeline, I can’t help but read them, before clicking on the original tweet that was quoted.

If you find yourself doing this too, be sure to cover trending topics in this way, or comment on something one of your followers has posted. Try and include a hashtag as well – slick use of hashtags has been shown to increase engagement by 21%.

6. Make the most of user-generated content (UGC)

We’ve wrote at length why UGC is so good for brands: as well as helping you keep your social posts varied, it makes your business appear more authentic.

People trust peer reviews and UGC more than they do company-produced material. It’s completely understandable that they do, of course, so if one of your followers posts an image or video that is relevant to your brand (ideally it features your product), be sure to share it.

7. Leverage nostalgia

We’re all suckers for a bit of nostalgia. There are even social media accounts dedicated to the positive feelings people associate with the past, which have healthy numbers of followers:

If brands can find a way of sharing content with a days-gone-by feeling, that is relevant to their business or industry, they could be on to a winner.

A few other, more obvious, social post ideas to end: videos, photos and promotions. That should keep things ticking over nicely and help re-engage with those followers who might have switched off from your social posts, due to them all being a little same-y.