Ever find yourself a little tapped out when it comes to ideas for what to say in a social media post? Me, too. Especially if you are a social media professional who writes them day in and day out, it can become difficult to think of new ways of approaching the same old Facebook update or tweet.
I went looking for prompts to help me be a little more creative. Often, in creative writing classes, teachers provide their students with prompts for writing exercises. Sometimes a teacher will ask everyone to write a story starting with the same first line. Or a poem including the words "whale," "torrent," and "climb." A teacher I know once asked students to write a description of a building from the perspective of a man who'd just lost his son in a war. But not to mention the son. Or the war.
There are a whole slew of ways to compose, style, and organize a social media update. Trying out new formats or ideas, and then looking at their analytics to see which do best with your audience, is a great way to stay relevant on social media. Do try a bunch of these. Then a/b test them. (Thanks to Kevan Lee for some of these ideas.)
Prompts for Facebook Updates
Start the update with a question
End the update with a question
Make a comparison
Include a fill-in-the-blank question
Post a statistic
Post a surprising fact
Post an image and then text that somewhat contradicts (or complicates) the image
Use a custom URL (e.g., kiss.ly for KISSmetrics)
Sign the update with "- Your Name"
Post something about your team so that the public can get to know them as people
Explain a conflict, but don't take sides
Post a problem, then ask for help with solutions
Explain a problem and a solution
Use a quote from an expert
Use a number
Make a list
Use an image with text overlay
Use an image without text overlay
Post about your favorite thing about a topic
Post about something that makes you angry about a topic
Write your headline in title case (e.g., capitalize all the main words)
Write your headline in sentence case (e.g., capitalize the first word and proper nouns only)
Tell a joke
No text at all, just an image
Insert a horizontal rule
Place hashtags inside the update
Place hashtags at the end of the update
Post a video
Post a GIF
Post in advance of something happen to get people excited
Post behind-the-scenes photos
Congratulate someone else on an achievement
Insert how you're feeling (for profiles only - example below)
Attribute and tag other accounts
Punctuation-heavy text (think: plain-text emails)
Place everything in the same paragraph
Place things on separate lines
Also important: Keep in mind that Facebook truncates posts in the news feed after the fifth line.
Prompts for Tweets
Place your comments before the headline or retweet
Place your comments after the headline or retweet
"Commentary -> tweet"
"Commentary + tweet"
"Commentary > tweet"
"Commentary :: tweet"
"Commentary - tweet"
"Tweet [commentary]" (example below)
"Commentary || tweet"
Place hashtags inside the tweet
Place hashtags outside the tweet, at the end
Attribution after "via"
Attribution after "by"
Acknowledge others with an "HT" (stands for hat tip)
Manually retweet with an RT (stands for retweet)
Manually retweet with an MT (stands for modified tweet)
Insert hard returns so your tweet appears on multiple lines (example below)
Title case for capitalization
Sentence case for capitalization
Use custom shortening URL