The 5 types of social media content that work best in 2023

Ishita Nigam

December 3, 20237 min read

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Launched in 2011, Duolingo has over 500 million users worldwide. Its striking green owl prompts you around this language-learning app through incessant notifications and on social media. Duolingo’s TikTok account alone has over 7 million followers. 

How did that happen, you ask? 

First, through unbridled social media content that entertains more than it aims to sell.  

Second, by clinging on to trending topics. For example, Duolingo’s X post before the Barbie movie released could not be ignored. You could love it or hate it, but you just couldn't ignore it.

Duolingo staying on top of the latest trends to keep its audience hooked on social media


And third, by using storylines to grab the audience’s attention. Because everyone loves a good story, right?  

Social media content is an ocean, and no one knows its real depth. So, you may wonder what this content is really about.  

Well, to start things off, let’s take a look what social media content is in the first place. 

Table of Contents

What is social media content?

Social media content is any type of content you find on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, X (previously Twitter), LinkedIn, Pinterest or Threads. It could be unique content you freshly curate or refurbished content you found somewhere else and shared through your profile.  

It is essential for four main reasons.  

Significance of social media content 

  • Achieving business goals: Brand recognition, audience engagement, lead generation, product announcements or thought leadership — no matter the reason, impactful social media content helps you get there. 

  • Increasing organic traffic: SEO-optimized social media content helps rank better on Google search pages, thereby getting backlinked by high-authority websites and driving audiences to your social media handles organically. 

  • Building a brand: Good content helps create a strong brand image that your audience can relate to. Posting inspiring content regularly encourages them to follow you and share your posts within their network.  

  • Establishing connections: Such content also helps you in driving relatability and establishing connections with your audience. 

Also Read: How to measure social media engagement effectively

5 types of social media content

Every type of social media content you find online serves a different purpose. But, while new channels and content formats emerge daily, the foundation remains the same. 

With that in mind, here are the five main types of social media content that you would see brands and individuals using every day: 

1. Short-form videos 

2. Long-form videos 

3. Live streaming 

4. Text-based posts 

5. Images, memes and GIFs 

Now, let’s take a closer look at them one by one. 

1. Short-form videos

It goes without saying that videos capture people's attention quickly. Since the average attention span of a human is eight seconds, what you put in the first five seconds of the video determines its viewership. 

Short-form videos are typically up to three minutes long, but the ideal duration for these can be placed around under a minute. Social media videos generate up to 1200% more shares than image and text content. What’s more, viewers retain around 95% of the video content while viewing it as compared to the 10% who read text content. 

So, how do you go about the whole short-form-video creation process for social media? Well, let’s find out. 

How to create short-form videos? 

If you are looking to post on, say, Instagram, here’s what you’d ideally need to do: 

  1. Follow the latest trends to get inspiration and ideas 

  2. Determine the length of your video and learn more about your target audience 

  3. Record a few shots 

  4. Combine them on Instagram Reels 

  5. Add some music and a filter to enhance the content’s value 

  6. Upload the video 

Top channels for short-form videos

  • TikTok: It is a global leader in short-form videos. It offers various tools to create less-than-a-minute videos free of cost. 

  • YouTube Shorts: Announced in 2020 to rival the TikTok craze, YouTube Shorts quickly scaled the charts to grab 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users.

  • Instagram Reels: Like we covered, this is a great platform to make short videos and upload on Instagram in no time. In fact, the platform algorithm rewards creators who upload short-form videos. 

A great example of a brand that makes Reels really work for it is the Drunk Elephant. This skincare brand uses Reels to quickly answer user queries, such as what the product looks like, how it feels and how to use it. 

A Drunk Elephant Reel that got a lot of traction on Instagram


People like it when real people display a genuine user-generated product demo. That’s why Drunk Elephant enjoys over 1.6 million followers on Instagram alone. 

2. Long-form videos 

All those primarily educational and informative videos spanning over ten minutes or longer are considered long-form. In fact, 92% of viewers use YouTube to watch educational videos for around 30 minutes on average. Many industries, like travel and hospitality, use long-form content to build loyalty and encourage direct bookings through social media. 

Users watch long-form content for training or to gather information. Long-form videos include documentaries, branded content, interviews and online series. 

Here’s what you can do to create worthy long-form content.  

How to create long-form videos? 

Decide the theme. It should be something worth showing for over ten minutes. You could check online trends for inspiration and choose a theme that you have ample knowledge of. 

  1. Create a script but avoid looking at it closely while recording. Use it just to know the flow of the video. 

  2. Record the video and edit it. 

  3. Login to your YouTube profile and click the plus sign at the top-right corner. 

  4. Type the title and description. Insert trending tags and keywords. 

  5. Select the thumbnail you want as the video's cover image. 

  6. Upload the video. 

Top channels for long-form videos 

  • YouTube: For this type of content, you need to be present on YouTube, the market leader for long-form videos. It has over two billion monthly active viewers!

  • Facebook: This social media platform boasts a 13.9% organic engagement rate for video posts. 

The alternative accommodation brand AirBnB uploads long-form videos called “Six Strangers,” wherein six random people from around the world take a trip together. The show is about breaking barriers to understand similarities between people from different cultures. And this, for obvious reasons, syncs very well with the brand’s theme, which is “Belong anywhere.” 

A participant expressing excitement over AirBnB’s Six Strangers long-form video


3. Live streaming

This refers to transmitting or receiving live audiovisual content of an event through TV, social media videos or gaming broadcasts on a social media platform. Brands stream live to connect with their audience, handle social media hypes and crises on time and to manage their brand reputation, too. 

Its audience has steadily increased from 2019 to date, with over 163.4 million live viewers forecasted in 2023 in the US alone. 

And here’s how you can get it on the streaming action.  

How to stream live? 

The platform and service are the two main components of a live stream. Here’s what you can do to stream live. 

  1. Select the platform and the topic for the live stream. 

  2. Prepare a script and prompts to direct you through the streaming. 

  3. Go to the chosen app and select the live-streaming option. For example, go to YouTube Live and click on “Create.” 

  4. Follow the steps and hit “Finish” once done to end broadcasting. 

Top channels for live streaming 

  • Facebook Live: This channel has seen over 8.5 million live broadcasts since its launch in 2015. Around 38% of marketers use Facebook Live to showcase their products and engage the audience. 

  • Instagram Live: Around 17% of marketers use Instagram Live to connect with their viewers. 

  • YouTube Live: Around 8% of marketers go live on YouTube to connect with their buyers. 

  • Twitch Live: It is the top live-streaming channel for gamers. It reached a viewership of six billion hours of live streaming in 2022 alone.

  • LinkedIn Live: It allows members and pages to stream live to a LinkedIn profile, page or event. 

Nike is a solid example of a brand that frequently streams live. It invites a celebrity, takes up a social issue and engages the audience in a healthy discussion.  

Nike showcasing its Give Fresh Air Community Livestream event


4. Text-based posts 

These posts contain only text, without any videos, audio or images attached. Networks like LinkedIn, X and Facebook support simple text-based posts. Instagram needs you to post at least a picture with the text. YouTube doesn’t really support text-only posts. 

Text-based posts were the origin of social media, and they still are a formidable type of social media content. That’s why Meta launched Threads, a text-oriented platform that allows 500-character posts and TikTok is planning to launch text-only posts as well. 

Now, let’s see how to create a classic text post. 

How to create a text-based post? 

Again, for the sake of illustration, let’s talk about creating a text-based post on LinkedIn. 

  1. Go to your profile or page and click the “Start a Post” section. On the mobile app, it appears as a “+” sign at the bottom of the screen in the center. 

  2. Type your content. You can use keywords, appropriate hashtags and tag pages and people to get more views. 

  3. You can also add images, links, videos, polls or an event. 

  4. Hit “Post.” 

Top channels for a text-based post

  • WhatsApp: With two billion users worldwide, this messaging platform is an excellent channel for text-based posting. 

  • LinkedIn: This business network boasts 930 million members in over 200 countries. 

  • Facebook: With over 3.03 billion monthly active users, Facebook is among the top social media platforms that offers text-based posting. 

  • X: It’s a text-focused platform to share opinions, news and facts in 280 characters for free users and 4000 characters for premium users. The limit is 10,000 characters for blue-tick subscribers. 

  • Quora: It’s another text-focused social platform to ask questions and get answers.

  • Reddit: This is a social news aggregator that offers content rating and forum discussions. Users can upload text posts and links that are open to public opinion through voting. 

Amazon is the perfect example of a brand using text-based posts for marketing. Touted as the most followed brand on LinkedIn, Amazon boasts 32.1 million followers. It posts industry news, brand insights and career opportunities.

Learn More: 9 ways to leverage social media data to drive business growth 

5. Images, memes and GIFs 

Memes are humorously written images, videos or pieces of text that spread quickly over the internet and social media. A GIF stands for graphics interchange format. It’s a bitmap format for image files supporting animated and static pictures. 

Images, memes and GIFs boost brand awareness and recall and nudge readers to click on the post through their entertaining nature. An average millennial views 20–30 memes in a day. Memes can increase a brand’s reach by almost ten times with up to 60% organic engagement. 

How to create an image-, meme- or GIF-based post? 

Here's what you can do. 

  1. Find good images, memes and GIFs and download them from websites like Giphy, Reddit, Know Your Meme, Imgur and Gif Bin or on social media to share through your profile. The image you share could be any picture you want to upload from your personal gallery or an infographic that supports your post. 

  2. Share by downloading or saving the file and uploading it through your account. Or, you can forward or share the original post.  

  3. To create a fresh post with an image, meme or GIF:

    1. Click the “Attach image” icon. 

    2. Select the desired file. 

    3. Hit “Done.” 

Top channels for an image-, meme- or GIF-based post

All channels allow uploading images, memes and GIFS. Even a business website like LinkedIn allows you to upload memes. WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook are the most popular ones. 

As for a company that uses this content type right, Netflix is right up there. It frequently posts memes on Instagram to connect with its audiences and promotes its content. 

Netflix using memes to attract an audience and promote its content


Summing it up 

Of the 8 billion people worldwide, 4.9 billion use up to seven social media channels monthly.  

You may use unconventional or seemingly weird posts, but if you can turn heads, your content could very well find success on social media. Everything that goes online only aims to get more views, likes and shares. 

And, yes, it's a fact that managing social media for your brand can certainly become exhausting. But what can make your job a tad easier is an AI-enabled tool, like Sprinklr Social, that can schedule social media posting, offer real-time insights and manage multiple channels smoothly, so you might as well give it a shot to make your life a little more stress-free and that much more efficient.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You hold the copyright to all social media content you post online. If you are posting content created by someone else as it is, mention the source to avoid plagiarism. 

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