As a marketing consultant, I often speak to small business owners about the benefits of social media for their business, or how to get their social media strategy started. Most are sold on the concept, and Facebook is a common place to get started. (Though I will throw in a quick disclaimer: Not every social media platform is right for every business, so it’s important to tailor a social media plan to fit your goals, industry and customer base.)

But back to Facebook. The question I inevitably get when working with a business owner on creating a new Facebook strategy is this: What should I post on my Facebook page? It can seem intimidating to come up with fresh, engaging content to post on your Facebook page on a regular basis, so I’ll share some tips and advice on how to get started.

(Also check out this list of 42 social media post ideas you can use over and over again.)

Establish yourself as an authority

Again, what you post will depend on your business and goals (which is why working with an expert to get started can be beneficial), but generally speaking, the main goal of social media is to educate your audience.

You may be wondering why you wouldn’t simply use Facebook to consistently promote your products or services. The answer is this: people hate getting sold to on social media. So your goal is to promote your business in a way that engages and educates.

When you post educational content about your business or general industry, you show potential customers that you know your stuff and establish yourself as an expert, making you a trustworthy option when they ARE looking for a service like yours down the road. Sharing quality educational content also helps get that content read and shared among more people, expanding your reach and connecting you to more potential customers.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Think about your business, products or services, industry and related topics. You want to provide content that answers questions people may have and educates them—content people will want to click on and read. For example, a personal trainer would want to share information about nutrition, exercise, and overall health and wellness (rather than simply promoting their personal training services).
  • Once you know what type of content you want to share, find reliable resources that have that type of information. That’s the great part of social media: you can share other people’s content and make yourself look like an expert. Just add your own comment or opinion to the article you are sharing (and be sure to link to the original source to give the author credit).
  • Find ways to share your own expertise. Consider creating your own content via a blog, or simply post your thoughts right as a Facebook post in the form of a frequently asked question, a “Did You Know?” post, an interesting statistic, etc.

Keep it fun

Facebook is a lighthearted and fun medium, so it’s important to catch people’s attention amidst the many competing posts. Of course you want to stay true to your brand, but think of ways you can incorporate more visual and engaging posts.

Here’s how to do it:

  • If you’re sharing a comment or thought without an article attached, always include an image. Images catch people’s attention much more than basic text posts.
  • Look for images and videos that relate to your business or industry, and share those in addition to your educational content.
  • Post an engaging question, create a contest related to your business, or find other ways to interact with your followers. The most successful Facebook posts are ones that people like, comment on, and share.
  • Share customer success stories, anecdotes or pictures of your employees at work, or promote community activities your business is involved in. Sprinkling in these lighter posts gives your company more personality and helps people connect with you.

Promote your business (just a little)

Your goal on social media is of course to grow your business or expand your brand, so you do want to promote your business. The educational and fun posts I mentioned above will serve to promote you in more subtle ways, but it is okay to occasionally promote your product or service directly.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Keep it proportional. Your promotional posts should be no more than 10% of your postings. That means, for every 10 Facebook posts you create, only one should directly promote your business, product or service. I’d even argue that you should promote less and educate more than that ratio.
  • Save your promotional posts for important or impactful announcements, such as introducing a new product, promoting a major sale, or tying your product to a timely event. Often the best way to do it is to sneak the promotional element into your educational or fun post. Here are a couple examples:
    • Auto Body Shop: Check out this article on winter driving tips to stay safe during the upcoming snowstorm. And if you need a tire upgrade, we’re running a special this week on all our tires! [share winter driving tip article]
    • Bar/Restaurant: Happy Friday! What are your big plans for the weekend? If you’re looking for something to do, drop in for happy hour tonight or ladies night tomorrow! [share TGIF image]

Make it easy on yourself

Start with this list of 42 social media post ideas you can use over and over again, to simplify your strategy and keep inspiration flowing.