Are you constantly stressing about your social media strategy because you don’t know where to start? Well, social media content pillars are a great place to begin mapping your strategy.
Whether you are a small business or a large brand, these content pillars will allow you to create a social media plan that will help you fulfill your business goals.
So, if you want what are content pillars and their complete breakdown, you are in the right place. Keep reading to understand how to structure your content for Instagram perfectly.
What Are Content Pillars in Social Media?
Content pillars consist of three to five overarching ideas your brand talks about or promotes on social media.
For example, you can have an educational content pillar for your social media platforms. Such a content pillar will cover topics that provide valuable information to your audience.
You can use the power of content pillars to structure your social media posts by categorizing them into various pillars.
Think of the pillar as a large piece of content that you will turn into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces will help you break down a specific pillar.
Related Blog: Is YouTube Social Media?
Benefits of Creating Content Pillars for Social Media
Now that you know about content pillars, you might wonder why they are important for your social media page. After all, you can create engaging content and post that.
However, with any strategy, you need some direction, and this is where content pillars come in. Many newbies make social media marketing mistakes the first time that you can easily avoid.
Our experts have listed all the benefits of creating content pillars for your social media presence:
1. Organizing your Social Media Content
If you post consistently on social media platforms, you need to organize your content somehow. Without this organization, you will not have a sense of direction of where you want to take your social media strategy.
These content pillars will help categorize your content into different categories. Then, you can break down these categories even further to help you post content daily.
2. Ensures Consistency throughout Social Media Channels
When you have content pillars, you will be consistent with the themes you want to post for. In the long run, this will help boost your brand image and guarantee you can create an online community.
So, if you want to create a consistent brand image and voice, then having these content pillars is crucial for your brand.
3. Helps Plan Content In Advance
When you have content pillars, you can plan all your social media content in advance. You can create monthly calendars and determine which pillar you want to focus on.
Let’s say you are running a tutoring academy, and you want to focus on educational content. Such a content pillar will help you plan your educational content for the month.
You can break down the social media educational content into:
- Benefits of hiring a tutoring academy
- Studying tips and tricks for better grades
- Best apps and tools for studying productivity
- Learning mindset vs. growth mindset
- Dealing with exam anxiety
- And much more
Just with one content pillar, you can break down the content and get a month or more worth of content in advance.
Content Pillars Vs. Content Buckets
Various terminology is used in content creation, and they can sometimes overlap. Many people are confused with content pillars vs. content buckets.
Let’s clear this confusion once and for all.
Content buckets offer a broad framework for organizing your social media content strategy. These are content categories or broad themes and topics that will cover different aspects of your content.
Difference between Content Pillars & Content Buckets: An Example
If you are running a tutoring academy, you can have content buckets that include:
- Inspiring content bucket
- Promotional content bucket
- Educational content bucket
- And more
On the other hand, content pillars focus on specific topics within the content bucket. Under the inspiring content bucket, you can focus on content pillars such as:
- Quotes for motivation
- Success stories of students that opted for the academy
- Inspirational leaders around the world
- And more
Both content pillars vs. content buckets will work together to help you create a comprehensive social media content strategy.
You can use content buckets to lay the foundation for your social media content, and then leverage the content pillars to add depth to these buckets.
How Many Content Pillars Should You Have?
You require at least three content pillars for your new social media brand page. This means you must focus on three main categories or objectives.
Once you get the hang of these content pillars and social media marketing, you can move onto more content pillars.
We recommend having at least seven content pillars once you have a solid social media platform for your brand.
If you have many content pillars for social media in the beginning, you will feel overwhelmed and your posting will be haphazard.
Because of this, we recommend sticking to only three pillars when you begin your journey.
How to Create Content Pillars for Instagram?
It is crucial to have the right framework to begin creating content pillars for Instagram on the right foot. With more than a billion monthly active users on Instagram, it is crucial to leverage these platform for content marketing.
Here are all the steps you can follow to learn how to create content pillars for Instagram:
1. Create a Target Audience Persona
Before you begin creating content pillars, you must define your audience personas. There is a difference between the ways marketing is done for boomers, millennials, Gen-Z, etc.
The reason for this is that all these age groups differ in their:
- Pain points
- Social media habits
- Spending habits
- Content consumption
- And much more
So, when you define the target persona for your social media platforms, you will know what topic to target and how to format the content. Such research will also offer you a deep dive into the type of messages you want to send to a specific audience.
Here are some questions we recommend you consider to help understand your customer personas even better:
- What are the core values of my target audience?
- Which topics are my target audience interested in?
- What social media platforms do my target audience use the most?
- What are their daily life experiences like?
These questions will help you highlight what motivates them and what challenges they face. Once you have this information, you will be in a much better position to create content pillars for your social media page.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Creating the right content pillars means you have to perform keyword research for social media. The key is to include keywords that your customers use to search for what you are offering.
On the other hand, utilizing such keywords will also offer value to the customers and enhance your ranking on the SERPs.
We recommend you utilize keywords that people often search as content pillars. Make sure you have the right SEO tools at your disposal to help you conduct keyword research.
3. See the Hashtags your Audience is using
There are other ways to define your category content than just content pillars. For example, you can categorize your social media content based on the hashtags your audience is using.
You can also check how various hashtags speak to your followers to create a sense of community. Big brands also create their own hashtags for various campaigns.
However, if you are just starting out, then it is better to conduct extensive research and see what hashtags your audience is using the most already.
4. Brainstorm Possible Topics you Can Use
Now that you have some keywords and hashtags for your content pillars, it is time to brainstorm topics for your Instagram page. The secret here is to remain relevant but don’t just always follow trends.
Trends can help you boost social media engagement, but your content pillars must reflect your mission. You also have to stay in line with the changing trends and modify it depending on your brand image, voice, and values.
So, think of all the possible topics and ensure they align with your brand values. Once you do, it will be easier for you to gain higher engagement while ensuring brand consistency on your Instagram page.
5. Research the Niches You Have Picked
After brainstorming topics, you have certain niches you want to focus on. It is time to conduct further research into the keywords and hashtags of the niches you have researched.
Instagram hashtags keep on changing and trending, which is why you have to remain up to date with your research. You can also switch these hashtags from time to time to maximize your reach and engagement.
6. Create Broad Content Pillars
Now, it is time to set your content pillars on Instagram. There are endless content pillars you can choose from.
These include educational, inspirational, interactive, and more. You can also set content pillars on Instagram based on the values of your brand.
Here are some examples of brand values that can also translate to content pillars for your social media:
- Curiosity: Sparking curiosity in your visitors
- Empowerment: Empower visitors to take certain actions
- Reliability: Ensuring your visitors view your brand as reliable
- Authenticity: You can create content that shows how authentic you are as a brand
So, the type of content pillars you set will depend on what you want. From content to brand values, you can create content pillars out of anything you want for your social media marketing strategy.
7. Create a Topic Cluster & Content Bank
After setting the content pillars, you can spread them out into topic clusters. For each of your content pillars, it is time to create a cluster of topics you will discuss.
For example, under the inspirational content pillar, you can create topic clusters of:
- Motivational quotes
- Success stories
- Case studies
- And much more
Then, you can create a content bank for each of these topics that you can fill with your ideas, articles, videos, images, and more.
All of this will guarantee that you have a plethora of content that is ready to post and you can use anytime. Remember that creating these content pillars for Instagram will take time at first.
However, once you have done all of this, it will only take you a few minutes to begin posting. So, be sure to sort out your social media content into content pillars, clusters, and a bank.
Your content bank will be the final place from which you will take out content for your monthly calendar and begin posting.
8. Analyze your Social Media Presence
Before you post anything, you need to take a minute to analyze your Instagram presence. Real-time data will help you create a successful content bank that will help you execute your goals.
Conducting such an analysis will help you understand:
- The type of content that does well on your social media
- Engagement trends of your followers
- Areas where you require improvement on Instagram
Take a look at posts that have performed well in the past. You can also look at the time and day you posted, the visual content you used, and much more.
All of this information will provide you with a better idea of the content type you must focus on. Then, you can tweak the content according to that and monitor whether the content works well for your page.
9. Check What Competitors are Doing
If you require validation of whether you are on the right track, then you can also track what your competitors are doing on Instagram.
Start by creating a list of three to six competitors of your brand, and analyze their Instagram channels to figure out the content pillars they are posting about.
We recommend you only stick to researching the content and type that has received the highest engagement levels. Doing this will provide you with a better idea of the content gap and how you can fill that with your page.
So this is also another way to get more ideas for your content pillars or check whether you are on the right track with your strategy.
10. Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing. It will help you create a weekly outline of the following:
- The type of content you are posting
- What audiences are you reaching
- The times and days you will be posting
Having a calendar guarantees that you are consistent with your schedule and frequently target your audience. Some brands have an audience that likes to consume bite-sized content during breaks.
On the other hand, some brands have an audience that likes to spend a lot of time looking at content. So, it is crucial to understand your target audience and then create a calendar keeping these things in mind.
You can also see the results and then tweak your calendar according to the persona. Such a strategy will help ensure you are in the loop with your consumer behaviour and your content is on the right track.
11. Repurpose Brand Content
Yes, you can repurpose your brand content for retargeting, which can help you get more out of a piece of content. Different content formats and types appeal to different target audiences.
For example, if you have existing brand content on your website blogs, you can repurpose it for your Instagram page. Let’s say you have written a comprehensive studying tips article for your tutoring academy blog.
What you can do is take that existing piece of content and repurpose it for your Instagram page by creating a reel that highlights the most important study tips for your target audience.
The good thing about this strategy is that it will save you time and help you make the most out of your existing content pieces.
In the same way, you can repurpose the same content in different formats across social media channels.
An example of this is creating tutorial videos on YouTube out of the posts on Instagram or blogs. Your target audiences that prefer YouTube or video formats will find this to be more appealing.
So, think of how you can repurpose content and then use it across different social media platforms.
12. Promote the Content
While creating incredible content is important, it is also just as vital to promote the content for maximum engagement and reach. Optimize your content on Instagram, and then boost it to get more out of it.
For example, Instagram allows you to promote your content as reels. Another thing you can do is opt for paid ads, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and more.
These will help boost engagement, and get the word out about your brand. Just set proper budget limits to get the highest returns on your ad spend.
13. Keep Optimizing the Content Pillars
Finally, you must keep optimizing your content pillars. As you keep posting, you will see what content pillars are doing well on Instagram, and which ones require optimizing and tweaking.
Analyzing your current content and making relevant changes is crucial to remaining successful in your content marketing journey. After every few weeks or month, you can analyze your Instagram content, and check what needs optimizing.
List of Content Pillars Examples for Social Media
Now that you know how to create content pillars for social media, it is time to learn all the pillars that you can use for content.
Here is a detailed breakdown of each one with an example to help you create a structured plan:
1. User Generated Content Pillar
Goal: Building trust and community with your customers.
User-generated content pillars allow you to build trust and community with your customers. After all, your audience wants to get to know your brand and trust it.
Because of this, Instagram is the ideal place to show your brand and everything it offers. Here are the top content pillar examples for your user-generated pillar on Instagram:
- Customer images and videos: Sharing customers using your service or product
- Testimonials: Posting written or video testimonials that real customers have shared about your brand
- Giveaways: These help users post your content to enter, which can encourage participation
- Unboxing videos: Share videos of customers unboxing your product when they receive it
In the same way, there are many content pillar examples for user-generated content.
UGC Content Pillar Example: Airbnb
AirBnb is one of the top brands focusing on the UGC content pillars on Instagram. Such content is used to show unique destinations, experiences, and Airbnb worldwide.
The platform also runs consistent UGC campaigns with hashtags such as #AirbnbExperiences to ensure people can easily find their UGC.
The image above is a prime example of Airbnb using user-generated content pillars in full swing by reposting their users content enjoying one of the properties.
2. Educational Content Pillar
Goal: Position your brand as a go-to resource for knowledge and a thought leader.
Educational content pillars are all about providing valuable information to your users. These include hacks, tips and tricks, market analysis, and much more.
The type of educational content you select will depend on the brand you are running.
However, here are some general educational content pillar examples you can add to your Instagram marketing strategy:
- Infographics: You can leverage the power of infographics to break down complex information into a digestible format
- Tutorials or How-To Guides: Teach your target audience something specific in your industry with a step-by-step guide
- Tips and Tricks: Offer practical advice to your users about things related to your brand, products, or services
- FAQ Sessions: Answer frequently asked questions by your target audience to satisfy their search queries
- Industry News & Trends: Provide updated information about the developments in your industry to establish your brand as an authority
- Myth-Busting News: State facts and bust any long-established myths to provide people with useful information
While there are many other educational content pillar examples, these are the top ones you can utilize for your brand.
Figure out the type of information your audience wants to learn and then satisfy their search queries with your well-designed Instagram posts.
Educational Content Pillar Example: Paulas Choice
As you can see in the example above, Paulas Choice is busting any misconceptions and myths related to moisturizers. The brand is known for researching extensively before creating skincare products.
They are reemphasizing this brand value by conducting thorough research and busting any myths related to moisturizers. The brand has also used a reel format and explained the myths in the caption as well.
Anyone that wants to consume text content can read the caption, while visual learners can click on the reel and gain useful information.
3. Interactive Content Pillar
Goal: Encouraging engagement and user participation.
Interactive content pillars on Instagram are all about encouraging engagement and participation from your target audience.
It helps brands foster a sense of community, gain feedback, and ensure visibility.
Let’s review some top interactive content pillar examples you can add to your Instagram strategy today:
- Story Polls & Questions: You can insert polls & questions in your stories to ensure people interact daily with your content on Instagram
- Challenges: Create social challenges on your Instagram page to encourage users to create content and utilize specific hashtags related to your brand or industry
- AMA (Ask me anything) Sessions: Invite your audience to ask questions in your comments or stories. Then, you can answer these questions to help your users
- Instagram Live: Host live sessions on your page to interact with your viewers in real-time. You can opt for discussions, live tutorials, and Q&A sessions in this format
- Content Decisions: Take the opinion of your audience to help with decision-making. After all, if you want to ensure the success of a product or service, it is important to ask straight from the source
There are many other ways you can incorporate interactive content into your Instagram marketing strategy. We recommend you get creative and see what suits your audience and brand the most.
Interactive Content Pillar Example: Fujifilm
As you can see from the example above, Fujifilm is asking its customers to make a decision for them regarding the frames. They have posted various frames on their Instagram feed and invited the audience to help them with the decisions.
So, if you are also conducting a brainstorming session for your brand, you can always invite your customers to weigh in. After all, no one else knows what your customers want better than your customers.
4. Industry News and Trends Content Pillar
Goal: Establish your brand by staying updated with the latest developments in the industry.
Yes, industry news and trends can fall within the educational content pillar on Instagram. However, if your brand value is to offer analysis and insights, then you can turn this into an important content pillar.
There are different kinds of things you can post under this content pillar. Some top content pillar examples for this include the following:
- News Updates: Update your audience with the latest news in your industry that is important. These can include brand announcements, tech advancements, regulatory changes, and more
- Expert Commentary: Create a video to offer your expert analysis on the latest developments in your industry
- Case Studies: Share examples from the real world about how certain trends and news have impacted your brand or audience
- Thematic Series: Create a series of posts around a certain theme. For example, you can have “Tech Thursdays” where you can share tech advancements in your industry every Thursday
Remember that the industry news and trends content pillar will not be applicable to all types of brands. For example, if you run a florist business, then this content pillar is not for you.
On the other hand, if you are in a field that is rapidly changing and has a lot of data and information, then you can opt for this as a content pillar on Instagram.
Industry News and Trends Content Pillar Example: Social Media Today
Social Media Today is a platform that offers the latest news about social media and its trends and tips. In this specific post above, they are highlighting the news about how Instagram is opening Reels API Access to third-party platforms.
In the same way, they constantly share social media news and updates. Anyone who wants to stay updated about it can follow their content.
In the same way, many news outlets and publications have industry news and trends as an important content pillar. So, you can also decide whether this is the right choice for you.
5. Entertainment Content Pillar
Goal: Increasing audience engagement and reach.
As the name suggests, entertainment content is all about increasing the audience engagement and reach. You offer entertaining content to hook your audience to ensure they stay on your page.
The primary goal of offering such content should be to provide a positive brand experience to your target audience.
Let’s review some top entertainment content pillar examples that you can possibly add to your brand page:
- GIFs & Memes: Share relatable and relevant memes & GIFs to connect with your audience. Resonating with them is crucial to connect with them and retain them as your followers for a long time
- Humorous Take on Current Events: If you think you have a unique or humorous perspective on current events, you can provide light-hearted commentary on these happenings to bring a smile to your audience’s face
- Viral Challenges: You can participate in viral Instagram trends and challenges related to your industry that are shareable and entertaining
- Comedy Skits: Share comedy parodies and skits for topics related to your niche. These will help show information in a light-hearted manner
Remember to fit your brand voice and audience preferences in your entertainment content. Make sure you don’t touch sensitive or controversial topics as that can hurt your brand reputation in the long run.
Entertainment Content Pillar Example: Duolingo
Memes and GIFs are incredibly popular on social media, especially Instagram. Big companies such as Duolingo employ the use of entertaining content to hook their audience.
As you can see from the example above, Duolingo has posted its Fan Art GIF at its birthday party. It is a fun way to showcase that you care about your audience while promoting their artwork.
You can also opt for these techniques and find creative ways to post entertainment content on your Instagram story.
6. Behind-The-Scenes Content Pillar
Goal: Offering proof and connecting with customers.
Offering proof about your brand is a fantastic way to showcase to your audience what your brand’s core values are. It humanizes your brand, builds trust, and helps deepen your connection with the audience.
Because of this, creating behind-the-scenes is one of the most important content pillars for your brand.
Our social media marketing experts have listed some top examples you can include in this content pillar:
- Team Introductions: Show the people behind the brand who work hard daily to give the customers what they want. Doing this humanizes the brand and puts faces to it
- Production Process: If you have a facility where you produce or source the products, then you can showcase your production process on Instagram. It reveals that you care about quality, and are transparent about your business processes
- Day-In-The-Life Features: These show the daily life of your employees and help to showcase the company culture you have at your brand
- Product Development: If you are in the midst of creating or launching a new product, then you can offer sneak peeks into these items and ask for feedback
- Brand Milestones: Share the company milestones and achievements with your audience to help them understand where you came from and where you are going
Behind-the-scenes content pillars are crucial to showcase authenticity, build credibility, and tell the story of your brand. So, be sure to add these social media content pillars to your strategy.
Behind-the-Scenes Content Pillar Example: Chick-fil-A
According to research, videos have a 135% higher organic reach as compared to images. As you can see from the example above, Chick-fil-A employees bonded over a scavenger hunt, and they posted these pictures on their Instagram page.
When you go through the page, you will see a lot of content about employees having a great time. So, behind the scenes is one of the most important content pillars in their Instagram strategy to humanize the fast food chain.
7. Community & Cause Support Content Pillar
Goal: Showcasing commitment to social responsibility and building community.
Leverage the power of the community & cause support content pillar to showcase your brand’s commitment to social responsibility. Building such a brand means you resonate with your value-driven consumers and leave a positive impact on society.
Here are the top content pillars examples in the community & cause support category:
- Awareness Campaigns: Create or participate in campaigns that raise awareness about a specific social issue or cause and share relevant content
- Partnering with Charities: Highlight any partnerships you have with NGOs, charities, or community organizations to showcase the work you do with them
- Support Local Business: Showcase and promote local businesses or artists, especially if your brand collaborates with them
- Sustainability Practices: If your brand is committed to sustainability, then you can share your practices and progress in this area on Instagram
Any brand that focuses on social responsibility can have this content pillar in its Instagram strategy. It will allow you to share core values with your consumers and find the right target audience on social media.
Community & Cause Support Content Pillar Example: Zipcar UK
Zipcar UK is one of the most popular car-sharing clubs, and community spotlights are a regular part of their Instagram content strategy.
In the example above, they are showcasing a local Italian deli that is being run by an all-female team. In the same way, their Instagram features various people and events in the community.
So, you can take some inspiration from them and also create a content pillar for your brand to foster a sense of community among your audience.
8. Collaboration Content Pillar
Goal: Adding credibility to your brand and reaching new audiences.
Partnering with other brands, industry experts, influencers, and even customers is a great way to create content and build credibility for your brand. It expands your reach and brings fresh content to your page.
In the long run, such content pillars will also help you build relationships with the people in your industry. Let’s review some top collaboration content pillars examples:
- Brand Collaborations: Partner with other brands that are not your direct competitors for giveaways, co-created content, promotions, and more that will benefit the audiences of both brands
- Influencer Partnerships: Team with influencers in your field who can create content for the brand and showcase its services/products or participate in campaigns
- Industry Expert Takeovers: Invite industry experts to take over your Instagram account for an event or a day to offer valuable information to your target audience
- Joint Live Sessions: You can also host live sessions with collaborators and host discussions, interviews, Q&As, and much more
Collaboration content pillars must align with your brand’s value and messaging. It should also benefit your audience and the partner so it can be a win-win situation for everybody involved.
Collaboration Content Pillar Example: Grey Bandit
If you check the Instagram account of Grey Bandit, you will find that most of their content is partnerships with digital creators and influencers. Even in the example above, they have partnered with an influencer to showcase how their clothing line would look and fit.
There are many reasons to reach out to people in your industry. Once you do, you will benefit from their audience and enjoy a much wider reach than before.
Top 5 Content Pillars for Influencers on Instagram
It is not just brands that have Instagram accounts; even influencers are on Instagram, and they also require content pillars for their platform.
So, if you are an influencer looking for fresh content pillars, you have come to the right place.
We have listed some content pillars for influencers with examples that you can add to your Instagram strategy:
- Product Recommendations & Reviews: Partner with brands and provide honest recommendations & reviews to your target audience
- Lifestyle Inspiration: Provide a glimpse into your lifestyle and offer inspiration for your niche. This can be travel, cooking recipes, fitness routines, fashion tips, and more
- Personal Experiences & Stories: If you want to build a more personal connection with your audience, then you can share personal experiences, life lessons, anecdotes, milestones, and more
- Entertainment & Humor: Offer light-hearted fun on your page through entertaining content to engage your audience
- Creativity & Art: If you DIY arts and crafts or create something, then be sure to share it with your followers to offer inspiration and aesthetically pleasing content
You can choose from any of these content pillars for influencers on Instagram. However, the one ideal for your personal brand will depend on what you want to create your brand around.
Then, you can create ideal content pillars that will support your influencer journey. We recommend you start with only a few content pillars and then branch out further once you have built a solid brand.
Content Pillars Template for Social Media
Content pillars template for social media must map out your content pillars and everything you will cover within those pillars. There are various visual representations you can choose to design a template of your liking.
We have provided two images as examples below for you to use as a template for your social media content pillars.
You can download these templates and fill them in as you like.
Content Pillars Template Example #1
Content Pillars Template Example #2
What are the 5 pillars of content?
The 5 content pillars can include brand offerings, product offerings, educational posts, customer feedback, and company culture.
What are the 4 pillars of content?
You have to incorporate a mix of strategy, substance, style, and structure for fantastic content pillars.
What are content pillar examples?
Content pillar examples include the following:
- Showcase your brand story
- Collaborate with other brands or influencers
- Post humorous memes or GIFs
- Create user-generated content
- And much more
What are content pillars in PR?
Content pillars in PR are topics that your brand will consistently amplify and discuss to create content for social media. The pillars you select will depend on the brand messaging and values.
That was everything you needed to know about social media content pillars and how to create a winning social media marketing strategy. By now, regardless of the business you own, you have an idea of the type of content you can post on social media.
So, instead of waiting around, it is time to execute these Instagram content pillars today. However, if you are intimidated by this process, we recommend hiring our social media experts at The Dreams Agency.