How to Make Killer Social Media Content for Free

Woman using a smartphone social media receiving likes, comments, and followers

Making compelling social media posts is hard. There are so many individuals and businesses competing for eyeballs and clicks. Some of them have serious money behind them. How can a small business or individual hope to compete on social media? In the next 600 or so words I’m going to show you how to stand out and make kick butt content quickly, easily, and for free. It’s time to start standing shoulder to shoulder with the big boys — no technical skills required.

Do Your Research

Look up the social media profiles of the most successful businesses in your industry and make a note of the kind of social media posts they are creating. Take notes about what looks to be working and what isn’t. Next, head to BuzzSumo and input some ideas. Examine what kind of content is getting attention. Let’s pretend I’m a potato farmer. I search for potato farming and see this:

Kim Jong Un hitting up a potato farm? That could definitely be a fun tongue-in-cheek post. Remember, social media is the place to engage with your customers and stay at the top of their of minds. It’s not the place to sell hard and push products or services on them. All content should be entertaining, informative, or relevant — hopefully a mix of two or even three. We’re going to create entertaining content today.

Plan Your Social Media Content

Using the above resources and our own ingenuity, we are going to plan 8–12 posts for this month for our potato farm. Posting 2–3 times a week on social media seems to be the sweet spot, where you’re consistently engaging with your audience without being overwhelming or annoying. Using Trello, Excel, Evernote, or another app of your choice, plan and schedule out your social media content.

Create Your Social Posts

We’ve got our ideas and our schedule, now it’s time to actually build the posts. I recommend Canva for those without graphic design chops. Photoshop would definitely be preferred, but Canva is a great option to quickly create near-professional quality designs. We whipped up this creation in less than 10 minutes:

We call it Kim Jong Tater. You might notice it’s 1080×1080. That’s the preferred size for Instagram. If we’re only making 1 post for all the platforms we’ll make it 1080×1080, since that size doesn’t conflict with any other social media platform. I recommend batching all your posts for the month at one time — go ahead and pump out your 8–12 planned posts so you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the month.

Do Some More Research

The different social media platforms require different methods for getting in front of your target audience. Hashtags are important means of content dissemination on Instagram and Twitter. We’ll head to BrandMention’s hashtag tracker and find some relevant and high-performing hashtags. Choose just 1–2 for Twitter and LinkedIn, but up to 30 for Instagram. There is no penalty for extra hashtags on Instagram, so you might as well choose 30 as long as they’re relevant.

We’ll take easy hashtags with high reach like #potato, #vegetable, #food, and #healthy right off the bat. Local businesses will benefit from using local hashtags to get in front of their customers, like #austin, #austintx, #atx, etc. If you’re struggling to find hashtags that make sense, check your competitors’ posts again and see if you can take ideas from them.

Schedule Your Posts

Our next stop is HootSuite. HootSuite is free for a single user and up to 30 posts a month. If you’re marketing on 2 platforms that’s 15 posts on each, plenty for one month’s content. Set up your account, connect your social profiles, and click the green “new post” button in the top right hand corner. Upload your image, write some catchy copy, and schedule your post according to the content calendar you created earlier.

Rinse and repeat for all of this month’s content. Be aware some times are better or worse for posting. You can try HootSuite’s auto-scheduler or refer to this article for research on optimal social media posting times.


Boom! Without expensive tools, marketing “hacks”, or tech skills, you just created a month’s worth of quality social media content! The job is not over — make sure to respond to comments and track your posts to observe what works and what doesn’t.

For more social media tips, check out our 4 social media tips for 2019.

Want help with your social media marketing campaigns? Contact us!

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Howdy! I'm the owner of Parrot Digital Marketing, Austin's best-reviewed web design studio.

I've been working full-time as a self-employed web designer and digital marketer for the past few years and and have worked on hundreds of sites across a range of platforms, including Wix, WordPress, WebFlow, Shopify, and Squarespace. I've managed six figures in ad spend across Google, Facebook, and YouTube. I also helped teach a digital marketing bootcamp at the University of Texas at Austin.

In my free time, I read, play the bass, travel, work on creative projects with friends, and watch a lot of documentaries. Recommend me one!

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