Let’s face it. Creating beautiful engaging content on social media can be a full-time job all by itself but it doesn’t have to feel so difficult to get it together. I’ll keep it real with you. When it comes to creating amazing content, sure, having all the bells and whistles is helpful if you can afford it and know how to use it.
But you know what’s also really cool? You can create incredible content that’ll make people think you hired an agency if you start with mastering the basics.
I put together this list for those of you who are just getting starting and have a DIY approach. Truth is, 99% of people don’t want to invest the time needed to learn how to make the best use of what they have. If you’re reading this, I know you’re not most people. You’re the 1% who will not just have the tools but put in the work needed to master them. So with that said, let’s dive into the 15 things every brand needs to create quality engaging social media content.
1 - JOBY GorillaPod
Don’t fuck around with those $10 and $25 bendable tripods on Amazon. I’ve gone through a ton of them and they all suck because they basically become a deformed octopus. My whole thing is you get what you pay for. If you want a tripod for your smartphone or DSLR that you can attach almost anywhere, save up if you need to for the JOBY GorillaPod.
I’ve had mine for 2 years now and it’s still good as new unlike the cheap ones I got before that lasted me 2 months tops! My favorite thing about this tripod is how you can bend the legs without them becoming deformed like cheaper tripods that are basically a long piece of bendable metal covered in a foam material. I’ve attached my tripod to trees, chairs, hand rails, and so much more.
2- Anti-Gravity Sticky Back Phone Case
If you need to shoot things like a fitness video or makeup tutorial, these sticky-back phone cases are a total savior. You can attach them to most surfaces that a tripod could never attach to like mirrors or metal. While I personally haven’t had to shoot content that requires a case like this, I’ve seen it in action plenty of times and heard so much praise specifically behind the OG brand called “GOAT”.
3 - Ring Light Kit
Perfect lighting is everything! If you struggle to find good natural lighting outside, from a window, or just want to level-up then consider investing in a lighting kit like this. Nobody likes a poorly lit pic or video that makes it hard to decipher what’s in it. Having better images will help increase your chances of making people stop and click through.
4 - Lavalier Microphone for Better Quality Video Audio
Today’s smartphones have great cameras but audio quality is not always the best. If you have a page that focuses heavily on video content, having a clip-on lavalier microphone will make sure your sound is nice and crisp. Even if you don’t have a video-heavy page, video content is so important and the few videos you do put out should be top-notch anyway. Consider adding this to your wishlist for better audio whether you’re shooting a vlog, tutorial, or comedic video.
6 - Canva for Business
Hats off to Canva for making content creation so customizable and accessible to everyone, whether they have a design background or none at all! When you can’t hire a graphic designer to help you with customizing your content, using apps like Canva are amazing to easily put together a clean look for your brand. Their desktop version user-interface is super simple to navigate and they templates for so much more than just social media content!
7 - Over App for Design-On-The-Go
When it comes to making gorgeous graphics on-the-go, Over App is my go-to and I can’t wait until one day they, hopefully, create a desktop edition. If you appreciate art & design, you’ll love OverApp’s templates and collections jam-packed with gorgeous visuals that never feel like tacky stock images.
Something really cool about this app is not just how they have tons of templates and visual assets but also have educational articles. Their articles are short, sweet, and to the point.
8 - InShot App (Adobe Premiere or FinalCut Pro for Desktop Wizards)
When it comes to video editing on your phone, you might find yourself hoping between multiple apps. The most complete app I’ve found so far is InShot which has both a free and paid version. For those of you looking for more advanced programs, desktop software is the way to go. The two best programs, in my opinion, are Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
9 - Adobe Creative Cloud for Aspiring Creative Ninjas
For those of you who want to kick it up a notch, you’ll love Adobe’s Photoshop & Lightroom included in their Creative Cloud. I suggest this only if you really will take the time to learn how to use their powerful products.
10 - Smartphone with great camera
If you still have an iPhone 5, it’s time to throw that crap away. Today’s smartphones are equipped with powerful cameras perfect for your content photography. My personal favorites are any iPhone models from the iPhone 7 and after as well as the Google Pixel 3.
People tend to think they need a DSLR camera to shoot beautiful pictures. Leave the DSLR to the photographers. After all, it’s not the camera that’s great, it’s the photographer who has taken the time to understand the ins & outs of their tools to refine their craft. You can start by doing the same with your smartphone. If you’re serious about having a social presence, it’s really time to ditch that “prehistoric” block from 2014. Get a phone with a badass camera, you don’t need to change it out every single year anyway!
11 - Tempered Glass and Case For Your Phone (Thank Me Later)
You will inevitably drop your phone, it happens to the best of us. But it sucks when you drop it and your screen cracks and the back gets all busted. Protect your phone with tempered glass at the very least for your screen.
12 - This Book Will Teach You How To Write Better
All the tools above are great but here is where the magic really starts to happen! Visuals attract but your message is where the true heart and soul of your brand lies in. Let go of self-limiting thoughts like “but I suck at writing”.
Leave that shit at my doorstep because here your growth knows no limits. You need to become a better writer for social media. Even if you’re already a writer, chances are you might not know how to write FOR social media. The writing format that works for a book, news article, or blog likely won’t work out for a post where people have a literal 3-second attention span. This book is short, you can read all 50 something pages while sipping on your morning coffee and create 5 amazing posts right after.
13 - SkillShare Account (or Binge YouTube Tutorials)
I absolutely love SkillShare! Personally, I’ve used SkillShare to teach myself how to shoot & edit videos and even some SEO. You’re never done learning. The moment you think you’re “too good” or “too old” is the moment you’ve sentenced yourself to a halt in your development. Whether you want to refine or pick up an entirely new skill, you’ll find a course in pretty much everything on here. While you could also just binge watch YouTube tutorials, it can be kind of annoying to run 500 searches on the quest for a good video. If you can pay for your own Netflix account you can afford a SkillShare membership.
14 - Stop mimicking other brands, how can YOU be original?
Kudos to doing your research! While it is important to stay up-to-date on trends, true originality and brand style is never born from replicating someone else’s successes.
From my experience, most brands fail to truly own their social media presence because they view it purely as a platform for monetization and self-promotion. Going into your social strategy with these objectives is setting yourself up for guaranteed social media failure, no exceptions. While making money and self-promotion are possible and definitely part of social media, the primary goal is being a highly social and valuable resource to your audience. Nobody cares about your product launch or 50% off sale. It’s not about giving absurd discounts or running giveaways in a desperate attempt to grow your page. It’s about taking the time to understand your target audience’s deepest and hyper-specific struggles and desires so you can then deliver content that speaks to them.
If you can take the time to understand your own brand and your audience, eventual success is inevitable.
15 - Stop Being Such a Workaholic
The best ideas for content don’t come from slaving away at your screen and slinging back your 5th consecutive cup of coffee. For better and more creative thinking you need to know when to step away. This goes for your team also. I’m a major believer in a work environment that encourages flexible hours, health, innovation, and productivity. You simply cannot expect flawless original work if you & your team are strung out.
Live your life and go take up a hobby, attend a workshop, explore in nature, and just go do shit! The experiences you live through are how you will brew up new ideas and perspectives to pull from for your next project.