How can you turn your funny, witty or helpful content into a powerhouse to generate leads on social media? By sharing it on social media of course. Social media can be a lead generating machine if you know how to use it, and it can keep your followers engaged up until they are ready to buy.

You already know that social media content needs to be a well-blended mix of both engaging and interesting, but even engaging and interesting can be narrowed down. Certain types of content provoke certain types of responses from audience members, and depending on when you are posting and what is timely, you may get predominantly positive or negative responses.

So what content types can help you generate the best leads on social media? Here are my top five content types for your perusal.

Humorous or Sharp Content

Most companies and businesses can find something to laugh about on social media. A well-placed joke or witty remark will ensure that your followers remember your name and will encourage them to repost or retweet.

Taco Bell, the American fast food chain, is legendary for its hilarious photos and tweets. They are known for joking around with their customers, and they sometimes get into light-hearted, funny arguments with other companies like Old Spice.

Remember, you are not a comedian. Your jokes should never be raunchy or potentially offensive. You will lose followers faster than you can count them. Of course, everyone has a different sense of humour, and not everyone will find the same things funny. That is okay. Some jokes will fall flat.

The one drawback with funny content is that it must be aware of any possible sensitivity. When a national or international crisis occurs, such as the Malaysian plane crash, it is not a good idea to try and poke fun at the situation. During these times, it is best to stick to a different type of content and pick up the comedy routine when things have quieted down.

“Teach Me” Content

One of the major uses of social media is sharing information with other users. As an expert in your field, you have plenty of knowledge to share with your customers, and by giving away worthwhile, free information, your followers might be more receptive to your marketing if they already trust your brand.

Posting content from your blog or other relevant articles or sharing how-to videos and ebooks is a great way to earn the trust and appreciation from your audience. Post articles detailing easy how to deep clean carpets or tips for organising your garage. For more help, your followers will come straight to you.

Try creating your own infographics and images. These are easy ways to compile statistics or teach a how-to process. They are also easy to share across multiple platforms.

Inspiring or Thought-provoking Content

Inspirational content gets people talking. Whether you are posting your favourite inspirational quote or a moving article you saw that related to your industry, your audience will at least appreciate the interest. The post might also spark conversation among posters and get them discussing your industry, sharing their thoughts and insights.

The key to inspirational content is to think like your audience members. What teenagers find inspirational may not be what middle aged women find inspiring. Maybe your audience has a major religious affiliation or maybe it doesn’t.

You can also present your own thoughts or opinions on a certain topic relating to your industry. If you sell clothing, you might post your thoughts about Photoshopping models for advertisements, but post your ideas in a respectful manner.

Be careful when commenting on general news. Some audience members might feel strongly against your views, and they will tell you in a not particularly nice manner. They also might feel that you as a company should not be commenting about something not related to your industry.

When it comes to national and international disasters, inspirational content should be treated as humorous content. If you want to comment on a disaster, be brief and do not try to tie your company to whatever happened. In some cases, it is better to not say anything, inspirational or otherwise.

Open Forum or Conversational Content

Social media was made for socialising, and with your whole audience following you, now is the time to speak directly to them. Direct engagement gets people commenting and posting.

This also means that you need to be social as well. Social media is a two-way street. If someone sends you a message or tweets at you, answer them back. Thank anyone who takes time to post on your Facebook wall and respond to any criticisms or comments in a respectful manner.

Marketing or Promotional Content

If you are using social media to market your products, services or company, then it makes sense that you should be promoting them through your content, right? This is partly true. Yes, social media can be a marketing tool, and you should use it to promote yourself and show your customers why they need your product, but too much marketing can drive away followers.

No one wants a salesperson pitching a product to them every day, and let’s face it: marketing copy is not usually the most interesting copy. Your customers want to feel like they can trust you and that you genuinely care about their needs. Yes, you want to sell, but you also want to listen and be a part of the industry conversation.

To help you temper the number of marketing posts, keep the 80/20 rule in mind. Eighty percent of your posts, tweets and other content posts should be non-promotional. The remaining 20 can be used for specific campaigns and announcements.

Of course, some content posts can overlap into any of the categories. The Taco Bell and Old Spice Twitter skirmishes promote both brands by turning them into characters that hyperbolise each brand’s primary target audience. Their arguments are fun, light-hearted and yet promotional.

Experiment with the different types of content on social media and see what works best for your audience.