Content Pillars for Social Media: Top Tips and Ideas to Improve Your Strategy
Analytics & Reporting

Content Pillars for Social Media: Top Tips and Ideas to Improve Your Strategy

Elevate your online presence with our guide on content pillars for social media, packed with expert tips for engaging and impactful strategies.

Anda Radulescu
Anda Radulescu
Table of Contents

Let's face it, social media’s not just about posting; it's about connecting, engaging, and standing out.

And that's exactly where understanding and implementing 'content pillars for social media' becomes crucial.

Whether you're a social media newbie or a seasoned pro looking for a strategy revamp, our expert tips will provide you with the tools to craft a captivating and effective social media strategy.

Content pillars for social media: strategies, examples and ideas

  1. What are content pillars for social media?
  2. Social media content pillars examples for different industries
  3. Social media content pillars ideas
  4. How to set the right content pillars ideas for your brand on social media

1. What are content pillars for social media?

The concept of social media content pillars refers to key themes or topics around which all content is structured.

Content pillars for social media can be considered a niche, but they're also a fundamental aspect of strategic content marketing.

For instance, a brand focused on sustainable living might have content pillars like eco-friendly products, sustainability tips, and environmental advocacy. These pillars are niche in the sense that they appeal to a specific target audience interested in sustainability.

In the broader context of social media marketing, content pillars are not a niche concept; they are a widely recognized and essential strategy.

They help establish the creator as a go-to expert or a source of inspiration or entertainment.

Content pillars also simplify content planning, allowing for strategic development of a content calendar rather than last-minute scrambling.

While specific to each brand, social media content pillars can encompass a range of themes, helping to control how a brand is perceived and defined by others.

2. Social media content pillars examples from brands across different industries

Explore how top brands excel with our curated examples of successful social media content pillars.

2.1. Nike

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Content pillars: inspirational and motivational, lifestyle and culture

Central to Nike’s strategy is the inspirational content pillar, frequently sharing compelling stories of athletes overcoming challenges.

This approach goes beyond showcasing product features, instead tapping into the emotional and motivational aspects of sports.

By highlighting these personal and often powerful journeys, Nike cultivates a narrative of perseverance, determination, and triumph.

This not only strengthens the brand's image but also resonates deeply with consumers, fostering a sense of community and inspiration.

In doing so, Nike positions itself as more than a sports brand; it becomes a symbol of human potential and resilience.

Here is an example of a social media post depicting one of Nike's content pillars for social media

2.2. Old Spice

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Content pillars: entertainment, brand and product promotion, lifestyle 

Known for its witty, often humorous advertising, Old Spice infuses entertainment (as a content pillar) into its brand messaging, creating memorable and engaging content.

By consistently delivering content that entertains, Old Spice not only captures the attention of its audience but also fosters brand loyalty and recall.

This approach has proven to be a key differentiator for Old Spice, allowing it to maintain relevance and appeal in a landscape crowded with traditional and straightforward marketing tactics.

Here is an entertaining post from Old Spice on Instagram highlighting how they leverage this content pillars in their strategy 

2.3. Glossier

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Content pillars: product showcases, beauty tips, community and user-generated content, behind-the-scenes

By showcasing the development process of their products on social media, Glossier pulls back the curtain, inviting customers into the heart of its creation process.

This approach not only demystifies the product journey but also builds trust and a sense of involvement among consumers.

Furthermore, highlighting their employees adds a personal touch, humanizing the brand and fostering a community feel.

This strategy creates a narrative that extends beyond mere product selling; it shapes an inclusive, engaging brand story.

Glossier's focus on this content pillar not only reinforces its image as an innovative, customer-centric brand but also deepens its relationship with its audience, setting it apart in the competitive beauty industry.

Here is a screenshot with an example of how Glossier leverages humor as one if its main content pillars for social media

2.4. Patagonia

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Content pillars: environmental activism and sustainability, outdoor lifestyle and adventure

Patagonia distinguishes itself in the outdoor apparel market not only through its high-quality products but also through a commitment to environmental activism β€” a key content pillar of its brand identity.

Patagonia's dedication to environmental activism and sustainability appeals directly to consumers who prioritize these values.

In today's market, where consumers are increasingly attracted to brands that reflect their social and environmental concerns, Patagonia's approach exemplifies how a brand can successfully resonate with its audience on a deeper, value-driven level.

Here is a screenshot displaying Patagonia's Instagram feed that portrays its main social media content pillars

2.5. Apple

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Content pillars: product innovation and features, creative and artistic use of products, user experience and lifestyle integration

Apple's approach to its social media content is a reflection of the brand's emphasis on design and innovation, setting it apart in the tech industry.

Rather than engaging in aggressive marketing tactics, Apple opts to artistically showcase its products, allowing the design and technological advancements to speak for themselves.

This strategy forms a key content pillar for their social media presence.

By focusing on the aesthetic and innovative aspects of their offerings, Apple's content subtly communicates the sophistication and cutting-edge nature of its products.

Here is a screenshot from Apple's Instagram feed that highlights its main content pillars themes

3. Social media content pillars ideas

Creating effective content pillars for social media involves identifying key themes or subjects around which you can consistently create high-quality content for social media.

So let’s explore seven top content pillars that can help your brand resonate with its target audience:

3.1. Educational content

This involves sharing information, tips, tutorials, or insights.

Educational content serves as a crucial pillar in social media strategy by offering value to the audience.

This type of content positions a brand as a thought leader and a reliable source of information.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • How-to guides and tutorials
  • Product demonstrations
  • Webinars and Live Q&A Sessions (YouTube is great place for this)
  • Infographics and cheat sheets
  • Expert interviews
  • Case studies and success stories
  • Industry news and updates
  • User-generated reviews and testimonials

By providing how-to guides, tutorials, and expert insights, brands can engage their audience, solve their problems, and build trust.

3.2. Inspirational content

Inspirational content is powerful in creating an emotional connection with the audience.

It's about sharing stories and messages that uplift, motivate, and encourage.

This type of content resonates on a personal level, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Motivational quotes and messages
  • Success and overcoming challenges stories
  • Customer success stories (try LinkedIn for this one)
  • User-generated inspirational content
  • Daily challenges or positive affirmations
  • Inspirational video content (works wonders for Facebook engagement)

By sharing motivational quotes, success stories, and customer testimonials, brands can inspire their audience, encourage positive action, and build a loyal following.

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TIP: Instagram is a great platform for inspiring, motivational content, so this might be a great content approach for this particular platform. As for gaining some content inspiration, this list of creative Instagram Story ideas may be of help.

3.3. Entertaining content

Entertaining content is key to capturing and retaining audience attention in a crowded social media space.

It encompasses humor, games, contests, and engaging stories that provide a fun and light-hearted break from the norm.

This type of content is highly shareable and can significantly increase a brand's reach and engagement.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Comedy skits
  • Interactive games and contests
  • User-generated challenges
  • Viral trends and memes
  • Entertaining polls and quizzes
  • Fun facts and trivia
  • Creative storytelling

3.4. Conversational content

Conversational content fosters a two-way communication between the brand and its audience.

It's about encouraging discussions, interactions, and community participation.

This type of content, including Q&As, polls, and user-generated content, helps in understanding the audience better, building stronger relationships, and creating a sense of community.

Brands like Starbucks, with initiatives like the Β #RedCupContest, excel in engaging their audience creatively, thereby boosting customer loyalty and involvement.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Q&A sessions
  • Polls and surveys
  • User-generated content
  • Live Chats and AMAs (Ask Me Anything)
  • Community Stories and Highlights
  • Reaction or response posts
  • Customer feedback and testimonials

3.5. Behind-the-scenes content

Behind-the-scenes content provides a transparent and authentic look into the brand’s world.

It shows the human side of the business, including employee stories, the product-making process, and office culture.

This type of content builds trust and relatability, as audiences appreciate the honesty and authenticity of seeing what goes on behind the curtain.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Employee spotlights and interviews
  • Making of a product
  • Office culture and Day-in-the-Life posts
  • Event preparations and recaps
  • Company milestones and achievements
  • Product development journeys
  • Volunteer and team building activities
  • Sneak peeks of upcoming projects

3.6. Community-focused content

Community-focused content highlights the brand's involvement and support for social causes, local events, and community stories.

This type of content showcases the brand's commitment to not just profit, but also purpose and social responsibility.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Highlighting local events or causes
  • Collaborations with non-profits
  • Customer or follower stories
  • Environmental and social initiatives
  • Community challenges or campaigns
  • Supporting Local Businesses or Artisans
  • Community polls and discussions

3.7. Promotional content

Promotional content, while more direct, plays a vital role in communicating the brand’s offerings in a compelling and attractive way.

This pillar is about showcasing products or services without being overly salesy.

πŸ’‘ Content ideas:

  • Product launches and announcements
  • Special offers and discounts
  • Customer reviews and testimonials
  • Product use cases and scenarios
  • Collaborations with influencers
  • Limited editions or exclusive releases
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Flash sales and time-limited offers

Through product launches, special offers, and customer testimonials, brands can effectively highlight their value proposition while maintaining audience interest and engagement.

The key is to blend promotional messages with informative, entertaining, or inspiring content, ensuring a balanced and appealing social media presence.

Bonus: why do these content pillars for social media work?

Because are not rigid and can be adapted or combined to suit the unique voice and goals of a brand or creator.

The key is to maintain a balance, ensuring that the content remains relevant, engaging, and true to the brand's identity.

By focusing on these pillars, brands and creators can build a strong, cohesive social media presence that resonates with their audience and fosters engagement.

4. How to set the right content pillars ideas for your brand on social media?

As mentioned before, content pillars are key themes around which a brand structures its content.

And for brands to ensure this consistently and relevance in their social media strategy, they need to set the right ones.

How can they do that?

See below.

4.1. Harness analytics for deeper insights

The key to setting the right content pillars and staying relevant and effective lies in the strategic use of data analytics.

Socialinsider's Strategy feature stands out as a powerful tool in this regard, offering brands the ability to not only organize but also analyze their content strategies with precision.

Tagging and analyzing content pillars with Socialinsider

Socialinsider's unique Strategy feature allows brands to tag their various content initiatives as distinct campaigns.

This segmentation is crucial for brands to identify and establish their content pillars.

By tagging these as separate campaigns, brands can dive deep into different performance metrics of each pillar, such as engagement metrics, comments, reach, impressions, or best-performing posts.

Moreover, it provides clarity on which content pillars are resonating most with the audience, allowing brands to allocate resources more effectively.

Here is an example of different social media content pillars leveraged by Shein for the brand's Instagram content strategy

Here's a guide to tagging and analyzing content pillars using Socialinsider.

  • Initiate brand analysis: Start by heading to the dashboard (Home) and selecting 'Add social profiles.' Here, you'll input the name of the brand you're interested in analyzing.
  • Link social media accounts: Next, connect the brand's social media profiles to enable detailed analysis.
  • Set up Content Campaigns: Navigate to 'Strategy' and then 'Content Campaigns.' In this section, you can either input tags manually or explore the suggested tags for each brand. Click 'view,' followed by 'Add content campaign' to delve into more specifics about your chosen tag.
  • Analyze Campaign Benchmarks: Move to the 'Campaign Benchmarks' section to view comprehensive analytics, including the number of posts, engagement levels, a breakdown of posts, engagement analysis, and more.
  • Evaluate tag performance: This analysis will assist you in identifying which tags are the most effective and high-performing, guiding your content strategy.

Find inspiration from your competitors' content pillars by leveraging benchmarking

Beyond analyzing their own data, brands can gain invaluable insights by looking at the competition.

Socialinsider facilitates this by enabling brands to monitor and analyze competitors' content.

By tagging competitors’ content into analogous pillars, brands can directly compare performance metrics.

This comparative analysis can reveal gaps in the market, highlight emerging trends, and offer a broader understanding of audience preferences across the industry.

Moreover, it can releveal that a competitor’s content pillar is driving higher engagement, prompting a reevaluation of content strategy or even the adoption of new themes.

4.2. Gather feedback through social listening

Socialinsider's Social Listening feature, with its focus on Instagram hashtags, offers a unique and powerful tool for brands to collect targeted feedback and set the right content pillars.

When using Socialinsider's Social Listening feature, tailored around Instagram hashtags analysis, brands can compare hashtags used for different campaigns and identify the best-performing ones.

Here you can see how to use Socialinsider's listening features to identify what people on Instagram are saying about different content pillars analyzed as a hashtag.

Such insights can then be used for further content calendar optimization and more interesting campaigns.

Pure gold, isn’t it?

Last thoughts on social media content pillars

Mastering content pillars for social media is like finding the secret sauce to your brand's online presence.

Whether it's educational, inspirational, or purely entertaining, each social media content pillar you choose should convey a story that your audience wants to be a part of.

Remember, in the world of social media, it's not just about being seenβ€”it's about being remembered.

So go ahead, use these tips to craft content that not only stands out but also stands for something.

Your audience is waiting!

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Media Content Pillars

Are content pillars suitable for all social media platforms?

Content pillars are adaptable across platforms, but it's important to tailor the presentation and format to suit each platform's unique audience and style.

How to choose the right content pillars for your brand?

Assess your brand values, audience interests, and market trends. Use social listening and competitor analysis for insights, and adjust based on audience feedback.

What mistakes to avoid in social media content pillar strategy?

Avoid inconsistency, misalignment with brand values, ignoring audience input, and overemphasis on promotion. Balance diverse content types and regularly evaluate effectiveness.

Can social media content pillars shift over time?

Yes, content pillars can and should evolve to reflect changes in your brand, audience preferences, and industry trends, ensuring continued relevance and engagement.

How often should social media content pillars be updated?

Review and update content pillars quarterly, considering engagement metrics and market trends. This ensures relevance and alignment with your brand’s evolution.

How to measure the success of content pillars?

Measure success through engagement rates, audience growth, and content reach. Use social media analytics tools to track these metrics and inform strategy adjustments.

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