11 Social Media Content Types & Examples

11 Social Media Content Types & Examples

Social media has been at the forefront of digital marketing for quite some time, and it’s unlikely this will change in the near future.

In fact, we are still seeing new social media channels and platforms emerge – alongside a wide variety of content types, features, and formats.

This article will cover the top social media content types and which channels they are best suited for.

We will also highlight some of our favorite examples of how brands have excelled in each type of content.

Let’s dive in.

1. Short-Form Video

If you’ve spent any time on social media in the past few years, you know that short-form video has become one of the most common – and popular – types of social content.

Short-form video could be defined as any piece of video content that is under 10 minutes long, but typically, the shorter, the better. When I think of short-form video, I think of video content around 0-3 minutes long.

From Reels to TikTok to YouTube Shorts, short-form video has proven to be an incredibly effective format for reaching audiences on social media.

Why? Because, when done right, it packages compelling visual storytelling into a bite-sized, digestible piece of content – which is exactly what today’s increasingly distracted and busy users are looking for.

Short-form video is also versatile. You can use it to achieve different objectives, whether showcasing internal thought leadership, highlighting a customer case study, or featuring your product.

The Best Social Media Channels For Short-Form Video

Given the demand for short-form video, it works well across most social media platforms, from TikTok to LinkedIn. However, the following stand out as the best fit:

  • TikTok – This one should be obvious. As the most popular social media platform worldwide, TikTok is the leader in short-form video.
  • Instagram – With the introduction of Instagram Reels in 2020, the platform has leaned into short-form videos. If you create short videos on Instagram, the algorithm will likely reward you.
  • YouTube – While YouTube is better known for long-form videos, which we’ll dive into below, the platform has also been branching into short-form videos. It launched YouTube Shorts in 2020, which now has over 1.5 billion monthly users.
  • Snapchat – The pioneer of the ephemeral video story, Snapchat has somewhat faded into the background in terms of social media chatter. But don’t be fooled; it has over 530 million monthly active users.

Brand Example: Short-Form Video

Mediterranean fast casual food brand, CAVA, is a great example of a company that leverages short-form video on social media.

The brand has amassed over 87,000 TikTok followers by making fun, snappy video content that features CAVA’s products and often employs trending TikTok sounds or formats.

Here is an example of a video where CAVA used a comment by a customer to create video content.

@cava

Jeffrey stamp of approval ☝️ #CAVA #foodreaction #saladrecipe #foodreview

♬ Rich Flex Carter Walsh Remix – CarterWalsh

2. Long-Form Video

Long-form video is video content that is 10 minutes long or longer.

And while you may not see as much of it in your day-to-day social media activities, it definitely plays an important role in brand marketing.

Long-form video can be a powerful tool for more in-depth brand storytelling and content.

Some examples of long-form video content you may want to leverage for marketing purposes are documentaries, branded series, video profiles, interviews, and more.

The Best Social Media Channels For Long-Form Video

If you’re interested in distributing long-form video content on social media, YouTube is where you want to be.

YouTube is the leader when it comes to long-form videos, and you’re most likely to find your audience there.

While you can – and should – share shorter clips and cutdowns from your video on apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok, many of these platforms won’t even allow you to upload longer videos.

Brand Example: Long-Form Video

The team behind BuzzFeed’s Tasty knows what it takes to make great social videos, including long-form content.

Tasty’s YouTube channel features tons of video content, ranging from quick recipes and tips to series like “I Draw, You Cook” – an episode of which is featured below.

3. User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content, or UGC, is content created by individuals unaffiliated with your brand about your brand – and it’s perfect proof of what makes social media content so powerful.

Over the past decade or so, UGC has become one of the most pervasive types of brand content on social media, and for good reason.

UGC leverages word-of-mouth marketing to build trust and community with your target audience. This is because people are more likely to trust a recommendation from their peers than believe in marketing directly from a brand.

UGC can come in many forms, from image or carousel posts to short videos, Instagram Stories, etc.

The Best Social Media Channels For UGC

Instagram is the obvious choice for sharing UGC.

It’s visual by nature, has a hyper-engaged user base, and provides different avenues and formats depending on the content itself – from Stories to Reels or posts on your grid.

X (previously known as Twitter) can also be a good platform for sharing UGC, depending on your industry and the audience you’re trying to reach.

Brand Example: UGC

Adobe features plenty of UGC made by customers on its various products. Here’s an example from the Adobe Creative Cloud Instagram account.

4. Live Streams

Live streaming has been on the rise in recent years, and brands are increasingly getting involved.

It’s become so popular that platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok now have dedicated live video products.

Beyond this, new platforms built entirely around live streaming have popped up to cater to fans of this content format.

For brands, live streams provide an opportunity to engage in real-time with your community and offer a more authentic, “behind the scenes” look at your brand than produced content can.

The Best Social Media Channels For Live Streaming

As mentioned above, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, and TikTok Live are all great avenues for your live-stream content.

Where you choose to play will depend on where your target audience spends the most time and what form your content will take.

Depending on this, Twitch is another powerful platform for live streaming.

This live streaming service was initially built around video gaming content but now houses a variety of live content – and could be the best place to host your next live stream!

5. Polls & Questions

The best kind of social media content engages your audience and encourages them to interact with you.

Enter: audience polls and questions.

Whether you’re using a poll feature in a specific social platform, or asking an open-ended question, posing questions to your audience can be a simple way to drive engagement and collect helpful data.

Questions can cover things such as your brand, your product/s, industry trends, or even what kind of content your audience would like to see from you.

The Best Social Media Channels For Polls & Questions

Here are the best platforms when it comes to poll and question content:

  • Instagram – You can use Instagram Stories to create both polls and questions, as it has separate tools for each. You can also create an image asking your audience a question and upload that to your grid, and then people can answer in the comments section.
  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn also has a dedicated poll feature and lends itself well to posing questions where your audience might want to share their experience or opinion in a comment.
  • Twitter – Another platform with a poll feature, Twitter is a great place for any kind of question-related content due to its text-based nature.
  • Facebook – You can poll people in Facebook Groups or pose questions in any of your Facebook content.
  • Reddit – If your brand is active on Reddit, you should consider using the platform’s poll function or asking your audience questions.

Brand Example: Polls & Questions

Fortune is one example of a brand that frequently uses polls to engage its audience.

On LinkedIn, the company often leverages poll content to quiz followers on a specific topic before linking out to a related article for them to learn more.

Screenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024

6. Influencer Collaborations

By now, I’d guess there’s a decent chance that when you hear the words “social media,” you think of influencers.

Influencers really have “taken over” social media by building loyal communities that look to them for entertainment and inspiration, as well as recommendations and advice.

Partnering with influencers can boost your brand’s reach and give it exposure in front of an engaged audience.

Influencer collaborations can take many forms, but the key to doing it right is to find an authentic and natural connection between the influencer and your brand.

The Best Social Media Channels For Influencer Partnerships

If you’re looking to partner with an influencer, consider one of these channels:

  • Instagram – Given how connected Instagram creators are to their followers, it’s a top choice for influencer collaborations. It also provides different possibilities for how your partnership will come to life, e.g., an Instagram Live interview, a Stories feature, a carousel featuring a creator’s top 5 products from your brand, etc.
  • TikTok – As brands start to catch up to the TikTok hype, more and more are partnering with trending creators to get their company in front of the Gen Z consumer.
  • YouTube – Home to some of the world’s most beloved video creators and deeply engaged users, it’s no surprise that YouTube is a popular avenue for influencer partnerships.
  • Twitch – If your brand has any connection to gaming or wants to connect with that audience, Twitch is your platform. Twitch creators are amassing huge fanbases, and their live streams allow you to reach streamers at the right moment.

Brand Example: Influencer Collaborations

Dunkin’ is a brand well known for its influencer partnerships.

Perhaps one of its more well-known collaborations was with TikTok creator Charli D’Amelio – not just one of the platform’s most followed influencers but a known Dunkin’ fan.

@charlidamelio

the best part of any day @Dunkin’ dunkinpartner

♬ original sound – charli d’amelio

7. Infographics And Charts  

The best social media content can tell a story using only visuals.

Infographics and charts are great examples of this, which is perhaps why they have become a go-to content type for both individuals and brands alike.

These images allow you to synthesize information in a way that’s optimized for social audiences (meaning it’s digestible and clear).

The Best Social Media Channels For Infographics And Charts

If you’ve got an infographic, a chart, or a data visualization that you want to share, I recommend testing it out on any of the following channels:

  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • Instagram.
  • Pinterest.
  • LinkedIn.

Brand Example: Infographics & Charts

Here is an example of an informative Instagram chart produced by HubSpot.

8. Memes 

What would social media be if not for memes?

These entertaining and relatable images, videos, and text catchphrases that iterate on a trending idea or topic are the “bread and butter” of social media content.

While brands should be mindful of which memes they use (ask yourself if you have something to add to the conversation), when leveraged correctly, memes can achieve a home-run marketing moment for you.

The Best Social Media Channels For Memes

Instagram and Twitter are the go-to spots for all your memes, though LinkedIn is fast on its heels with some more professional/work-related meme content.

For video memes, look to Instagram Reel and TikTok.

Brand Example: Memes

If you’re looking for a brand that knows how to use memes, look no further than Netflix.

The brand’s Instagram account often creates memes using clips from popular Netflix shows and movies, like this example.

9. GIFs

Graphics Interchange Format, more commonly known as GIFs, are small, soundless video or animation clips that are popular with social media users.

GIFs are typically used to represent how one feels or depict a particular situation and are often shared as a reaction to a piece of social content.

For brands, GIFs can be a fun and relatable tool when speaking directly to members of your social community.

The Best Social Media Channels For GIFs

Want to work GIFs into your social strategy? Twitter and Facebook have long been the place for that, though Instagram recently launched GIFs in comments.

If you want to create custom GIFs for your brand, consider creating a profile on GIPHY. Here, you can create a profile for your company that houses all your uploaded GIFs.

This will allow users all over the internet to use your GIFs through various GIPHY integrations with other platforms.

Brand Example: GIFs

Here is an interesting example of Salesforce leveraging a GIF to create a social-friendly meme.

10. Webinars & Events

Connecting with your audience on social media is all about providing them with valuable content. And what’s more valuable than an educational webinar or virtual event?

These types of content allow you to engage on a deeper level with your audience and reach a global user base.

While webinars are typically presentations that go deep on a specific topic – and often feature key speakers from external organizations – other events can cover anything from a digital conference to a workshop.

And these can all be live or pre-recorded.

The Best Social Media Channels For Webinars & Events

LinkedIn is the best platform for promoting and hosting your webinars and events.

Aside from offering all the functionality you need, it also has an audience that is more likely to be looking for educational and professional content.

Facebook and YouTube are also helpful platforms for hosting live video events.

Brand Example: Webinars & Events

Bizzabo is a brand that comes to mind when I think of webinars.

It often promotes and hosts informative virtual events for its followers on LinkedIn – which makes perfect sense, given that Bizzabo is an events company.

Screenshot of social media content posted by AMC Entertainment discussing a pricing initiative for better theater seats, with options for voting and current vote counts displayed.Screenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024

11. Contests And Giveaways

If you’re looking to get your followers excited and engaged, consider trying a contest or giveaway on social media.

This involves offering a special prize – whether that be a free product, money, or a trip – in exchange for specific interactions from your users (e.g., comment below, tag a friend, follow this account, like and share this post, etc.)

The Best Social Media Channels For Contests & Giveaways

Instagram is probably the most commonly used social channel for contests and giveaways.

However, you can also run them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even TikTok.

Brand Example: Contests & Giveaways

Plenty of brands execute contests and giveaways, especially around the holidays. Here is a recent example of a giveaway hosted by Escape Brooklyn.

In Summary

These are just some of the many social media content types to choose from. And with so many options, there are also several ways to approach social media marketing.

Understanding which formats work best for your brand – and resonate most with your audience – usually takes experimentation.

I recommend starting with a few of the content types we explored above based on your overarching content strategy, target platforms, and the resources available to you.

Then start posting and see what happens!

More resources: 

Featured Image: Black Salmon/Shutterstock

FAQ

How does short-form video content impact social media marketing strategies?

Short-form video content has become a pivotal element of social media marketing owing to its high consumption rates and potential for widespread reach. This content type caters to users with limited time and attention spans, packaging narratives into easily digestible, engaging formats. Marketers leverage short-form videos to showcase products, share customer testimonials, and display brand personality. The nature of the content aligns perfectly with the trajectory of consumer preferences towards visually rich, concise, and interactive media—all essential for a strong social media presence.

What are the best practices for utilizing User-Generated Content (UGC) on Instagram?

To make the most of UGC on Instagram, brands should:

  • Encourage and actively solicit content from their user base through campaigns or incentives.
  • Ensure that shared UGC aligns with brand values and aesthetics for consistency.
  • Credit original creators properly to maintain authenticity and build community trust.
  • Incorporate UGC into various formats such as posts, Stories, or Reels to maximize exposure.
  • Use UGC for storytelling, allowing consumers to visualize themselves using the product or service.

Such practices not only tap into authentic customer voice but also enhance content variety and foster a sense of brand-community collaboration.

 

What role do influencers play in extending brand reach on social media platforms?

Influencers are instrumental in amplifying brand messaging on social media due to their established trust with their followers. By collaborating with influencers whose audience demographics align with the brand’s target market, companies can gain exposure to new potential customers. Their content tends to be viewed as more credible than direct brand communications. A well-executed influencer collaboration can drive brand awareness, consumer engagement, and conversions when integrated seamlessly with the brand’s narrative and values.

How can brands leverage polls and questions to enhance engagement on social media channels?

Brands can increase engagement on social media by incorporating polls and questions which invite audiences to interact. This can be achieved through:

  • Using platform-specific tools for quick and visual polls to encourage user participation.
  • Asking open-ended questions to spark conversation and gain insights into consumer preferences.
  • Segmenting audience queries to drive deeper, more meaningful interactions.
  • Collating poll data for content personalization and improving customer experience.
  • Creating a feedback loop, where audience responses influence subsequent content creation.

This approach not only fosters a community but also provides valuable consumer data for targeted marketing efforts.

 

Originally Appeared Here