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Say the apocalypse happens tomorrow. The good news: You survive! No more credit card debt or miserable commutes. The bad news? Infrastructure has collapsed and there’s no clean drinking water. Most people can’t last a few days without it, so what we need is a reliable way to purify some from toxic soup.

Distillation covers nearly all bases, freeing H2O of salts, pollutants, microbes, viruses, and other nasties. A common method is moonshine-style, using sealed pots, fire, and complex plumbing. Or it can be done more safely and lazily by harnessing the sun.

Solar stills elegantly miniaturize the cycle that draws water from oceans and lakes, stores it in clouds, and returns it to Earth as rain. I made the one below using caulk and tools from my workshop, plus a windshield, wooden pallets, duct tape, and simple plumbing I salvaged from a nearby Dumpster.

Suspect water goes into a shallow box; the sun shines through the windshield and evaporates the water—leaving behind a stew of contaminants. When the vapor hits the cooler windshield, it condenses back into liquid, trickles into a gutter, and drips into a bucket.

How much did I trust this theory and pile of garbage to purify water? To the death—or at least crippling diarrhea. I started with a filthy sample pulled from the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund cleanup site. An average cupful contains heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and pathogens.

What emerged from the still hours later was clean, clear, and drinkable—no trip to the emergency room required.

Hackett with his solar still Becky Stern

Build your still by following these instructions closely, and then use different parts as needed—the list isn’t strict. Most substitutions should work as long as you honor the essence of what each part needs to do. The glass should allow sunlight to enter and water to condense, so a windowpane or a coffee-table top could suffice. The body, meanwhile, needs to be watertight; for example, a stainless-steel sink might work.

• Aluminum foil–lined duct tape (the kind actually used in duct repair, although regular duct tape will work if it’s rated to withstand direct sunlight and temperatures of 160°F)

• Hole saw (the diameter needs to be the same as the copper pipe’s)

1. Outline. Trace the windshield’s shape on the plywood, and saw it out.

Frame. Pry off enough pallet slats to make a wall on top of the plywood. They will form a basin and support the windshield; note that a wide, shallow still is a more efficient than a tall, deep one. (Incidentally, one pallet slat’s width is the perfect height.)

Body. On one face of the plywood, screw and glue pallet slats all the way around the edge into a tight-fitting border.

Basin. Apply caulk to the inside of the plywood and pallet slats, ensuring all surfaces and joints are sealed. You want the inside of the still to be a waterproof basin. (I found that scraps of wood and paper made light work of spreading a uniform layer of caulk.)

Gutter. The gutter will run inside the still (along a longer wall of its basin), collect condensed vapor dripping off the windshield, and drain the fresh water through a hole in the basin’s wall. Start by sawing the copper pipe to fit a long edge of the windshield, plus a couple of inches extra (the extra will poke through the wall). Measure the pipe against the longer basin wall, and mark the pipe where it will pass through. Snip the pipe down its length with the shears, stopping at the wall mark. Saw halfway through the pipe perpendicular to the slit you just made and not across it (the cut should stop at the slit). Use the box cutter to score the length of the pipe opposite the slit, stopping at the rounded end of the pipe. Using the pliers, bend the flap you just created all along the length of the score. What remains should be an open trough of copper with a flap down its length and one rounded, un-slit end. Use two extra pallet slats to hammer the flap into a flat lip.

Drain. Drill a copper pipe–sized hole through one of the short sides of the caulked basin, near the top of the wall. Poke the rounded end of the pipe into the hole, and set the flat lip of the pipe along the top of the longer basin wall.

Faucet. Opposite the gutter wall, drill a hole about a half inch from the top of the still. Jam the faucet into the hole so that the business end of the faucet is pointing up, and the pipe end extends into the still. Foul water will get poured through the open faucet into the basin.

Glass. Lay the windshield on top of the basin. Use duct tape to hold it in place, and seal any gaps between the glass and basin with caulk, then with a layer of tape on top, and then more caulk. This seal is very, very important, so take your time and make sure nothing can leak out between the glass and the wall.

Hose. Run scrap hose from the protruding copper pipe, down a slight slope, and into a clean collection vessel of your choice. Seal the connections between the pipe, the hose, and the collector with duct tape.

Sealant. Caulk every nook and cranny, and allow at least a full day to cure. The whole assembly needs to be vapor-tight or it will not work. A simple test for vapor-tightness: Close the faucet, and blow as hard as you can into the copper pipe. Can you blow freely without much resistance? Then the still is leaky; lay more caulk, let it cure, and try again. Does blowing get harder and have you seeing little black spots dancing in your field of vision? The bad news: You’ve killed some brain cells. The good news: Your still is ready to use.

Directions:

Set the still in the most direct sunlight possible. Open the faucet and pour in suspect water until it’s a couple of inches deep, then close it back up. The still should be slightly inclined, with the gutter at the lower end to move condensation toward it. (An extra pallet slat or two should be enough to prop up the end with the faucet.)

After a half hour or so—more if it’s a cold day or the sun isn’t too bright—water will visibly condense and run down the glass, drip into the gutter, and into the collection vessel. Discard the first few ounces of water. This is especially important if your source was contaminated with lighter-than-water volatiles, such as gasoline and acetone, because these will come off first.

Leave the still out all day. It should continue to work after sunlight fades, as the stored heat does the last bits of work. Then bask in the fact that the most basic of human needs has been mastered.

WARNING: Solar stills can’t remove all organic solvents, and improper use can introduce contaminants. If you build and drink from one—including this version—you do so entirely at your own risk. (Consider waiting until after the apocalypse to take a swig.)

_This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of _Popular Science.

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How To Fix A Water Damaged Macbook

So, you’ve just spilled water on your MacBook

Water and electricity are never a good mix and could even be dangerous. If your MacBook is currently connected to a power source, you should unplug it immediately. While it’s tempting to try to fix a water-damaged MacBook yourself, don’t turn your laptop on, boot it up, or attach it to any power source while it’s still wet.

If you just splashed a little water directly onto the keyboard, you may be in luck. The MacBook’s built-in keyboard has an air-right mechanism that should help prevent (a small amount of) water from spreading to important components. You’ll still need to replace your keyboard and perhaps take your MacBook in for service, but you may have dodged a bullet.

What to do right now

Have you remembered to unplug? This is your final reminder that it isn’t safe to interact with a wet MacBook that’s still attached to any kind of power source.

Remove the battery and unplug any peripherals. If you can remove the battery, this is also a good idea. You should also disconnect any peripherals that are attached to your MacBook, such as a printer, camera, scanner, or wired mouse.

Power down your laptop. There’s no time to worry about losing unsaved work, so press and hold your MacBook’s power button. If you have something non-conductive close at hand, such as a pencil, you may want to use this to press the power button. You don’t want to risk getting a nasty shock!

Flip your MacBook into a tent position to drain. This will pull the water back into the keyboard and away from your MacBook’s core components.

Wipe your MacBook carefully. If the exterior of your MacBook is visibly wet, it may help to wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. You can also try drying any ports or vents using a non-conductive instrument such as a cotton swab.

Wait for 48 hours. This step may be painful, but leaving your MacBook in the tent position for a few days lessens the impact of any potential water damage. While it’s tempting to turn your MacBook back on to assess the damage, this can result in a current being transferred through damp components. This may cause more damage to your MacBook. Leave your Mac for as long as possible to give the liquid a chance to drain away completely.

The longer you can let your MacBook sit, the better, but 48 hours is the absolute minimum. To help the drying process, you may want to place your MacBook somewhere warm, such as an airing cupboard, or near a source of heat, such as a radiator. If you own a fan, it may help to move it nearer to your laptop, as increasing the airflow can encourage any remaining liquid to evaporate.

Test your MacBook. Once your MacBook has completely dried, it’s time for the moment of truth! Try to power your MacBook back on and see if it works. If it does power up, then test your trackpad, all of the keys, Internet and Bluetooth connectivity, plus any other features you use on a regular basis. Fingers crossed that your quick thinking has saved your MacBook – or at least limited the damage!

Give your MacBook a clean. If you’ve managed to recover your MacBook, now’s the perfect time to give it a good clean. This is particularly important if the spilled beverage was anything other than water. For example, soda is going to make your MacBook seriously sticky, and soda residue may damage your MacBook over time. A clean, dry microfiber cloth is great for cleaning your MacBook’s exterior casing. You may also want to carefully clean your MacBook’s vents and ports using a non-conductive instrument, such as a cotton swab or wooden toothpick.

What not to do

Now that we’ve looked at steps that can help you limit water damage, let’s look at some things you definitely shouldn’t do which may eliminate any chance you have to fix your water-damaged MacBook.

Do not turn your MacBook back on. Chances are you’re in panic mode and desperate to find out whether your MacBook is toast. However, trying to power up too early is the worst thing you can do. Electricity can cause more damage and may even be dangerous. It’s not easy, but it’s vital that you avoid the temptation to power up your MacBook until it’s completely dry.

Do not shake your MacBook. You may be frustrated, but shaking your laptop will only spread the liquid around. It may even force the water into more delicate areas of your MacBook, causing more corrosion and damage.

Forget the hair dryer. While this may seem like a great way to hasten the drying process, in reality it has little real impact, and direct heat may even damage your MacBooks’s sensitive components.

Ignore the old urban legend of using rice. There’s a widely held assumption that rice will draw moisture from devices. While this may work for your phone, applying a coating of rice to your MacBook isn’t going to pull moisture from core components, such as the battery and circuit board. If only fixing a waterlogged MacBook was that easy!

Would AppleCare Help?

Okay, so you have tried all of the steps above and there is just no other option – you need to replace something internally. As one might suspect, liquid damage is not covered under your general Apple MacBook warranty.

In this case, “AppleCare” is the limited warranty you receive for up to one year of purchase. That includes 90 days of complimentary technical support but only extends to hardware defects such as mechanical or electrical and will not help you fix your water-damaged MacBook.

On the other hand, AppleCare+ is also offered and does cover liquid damage. Available for $99 every 12 months, AppleCare+ ensures that you are covered for up to two incidents within those 12 months. Those two incidents are not just specific to liquid but can also extend to drops, bad battery, breaks, cracked screens, etc.

When you have a liquid-damaged computer, Apple will require a $299 service fee for repair. Turnaround time for repair is frequently dependent on the specific Apple store’s backlog and the same goes for mailing a computer directly to Apple.

How to safeguard your MacBook in the future

Spilling liquid on your laptop is a serious accident. Even if you do manage to recover your laptop, you’ll want to ensure it never happens again!

To help safeguard your MacBook, we recommend not only getting AppleCare+ but investing in a waterproof laptop skin with ventilation holes for both halves of the case, a clear plastic or silicone keyboard cover, and a waterproof screen protector.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, the above methods can help you fix or at least save your water-damaged Macbook. If you’re looking to bolster your Macbook setup, then see our list of the best docking stations for the Macbook and Macbook Pro. We also have a list of ways to apply an equalizer in macOS for audio enthusiasts.

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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How To Get Water Out Of Your Phone Speaker?

Imagine if the speaker starts creating a muffled, crackling sound. It is both an annoying and a panicky experience since mobile devices cost so much to replace.

Mobile phones are sensitive to any kind of physical or liquid damage. Technology has improved somewhat with the IP rating standard of waterproofing, but we still have instances when even these phones face water damage.

Accidental or unintentional, any liquid pour can be damaging. One wrong move and fluids enter the device, slowly eroding its internal components.

If water has seeped into your mobile speakers, do not worry. There are ways to have it working once again.

How to Get Water Out of Your Phone Speaker?

We have compiled a list of DIY approaches and the inclusion of third-party possibilities as there aren’t many options. Try each alternative one at a time and see what works for you.

Do the Emergency Steps

If the device was just submerged in water, take it out and turn it off immediately. At least give it a solid 48 hours before turning it back on.

Clean all the excess water with an absorbing cloth.

Shake the device gently with the speaker port facing downwards.

If you have a computer vacuum or a normal vacuum with a small nozzle, try sucking out the water from the ports.

Leave the phone in such a way that the speaker port faces downwards.

If it’s an old phone where we can take the cover and the battery out, we recommend doing so and cleaning as much as possible.

Use Phone’s Inbuilt Features

Some phones (androids) will have a clear speaker option in the additional section. This option is not found on all android phones. We have tested a few android phones with MIUI and found that some of these MIUI phones have this feature.

If the device doesn’t have this option, move on to the next alternative.

This clear speaker option lets a constant tone out of the speaker. The concept behind this option is that when the speaker is playing a constant tone, it vibrates ever so slightly but in a continuous manner. The vibration might help in ejecting the water from the speaker’s opening.

Please keep in mind that this method only works on the speakers. If the rest of the components are damaged by water, this method might not be enough to fix them all. For eg: Charging Port Water damage might affect the functioning of the whole device.

The speakers do need to be in a somewhat working condition for the app to work. We are trying to force any water off by vibrating the speaker during its use.

NOTE: This option will not work if the loudspeaker/Earpiece speaker has stopped working. This is because the issue may have originated in the flex, component, or the motherboard itself, rather than being contained within the speaker.

Use Tone Generation Apps

A lot of phones might not have the in-built feature stated above. In such cases, we can straight jump to third-party apps, websites, or shortcuts (in the case of IOS). 

These third-party elements can create mechanical tones at a constant rate. We also get options to change the sound frequencies in many of these apps. These sounds, in return, help eject the water from the speakers.

Remember to place the mobile so that the speaker faces downwards. Popular apps to check out are Speaker cleaner for android and sonic V for iOS. 

We can also get Siri shortcuts like Water Eject Siri. We can also generate the same tone directly from websites like Fix my speakers, Online tone generator, etc.

We recommend using full volume while playing these tones for maximum vibration in the speakers. Do it at intervals of 10-15 minutes.

Take it to a Professional Repair Center

They absorb the moisture or water that is outside of the phone. It will not bring out the moisture from inside the device.

The recommended approach is to follow the emergency steps stated above and take the device straight to a professional repair center. The repair center will dismantle the device, dry it out, and clean it with isopropyl alcohol. That is how we should handle a water-damaged speaker.

Generally, when speakers stop working, we understand that the corrosion has started due to moisture. If the moisture affects one component, how long do you think it will take before it starts affecting other parts.

Water leaves mineral deposits, and cleaning them is the only way to fix the speaker. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to replace the component.

Mobile phones are expensive, do not take the risk of it. Do the steps stated above, but understand that taking the device to a repair center should be the highest priority.

We recommend going to an authorized repair center. When tampered with through third-party repairers, many phones void the warranty. Also, note If the phone has had previous repairs, the water-resistant standard might not work anymore. Be extra cautious in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions Should I Use a Blow Dryer on a Water-damaged Speaker?

We do not recommend it. Some repairers use dryers, but they have years of experience with it. They understand the limits of heat that they can use on the internals.

Using a blow dryer at home to dry out water damage will only damage the device’s internals.

Is It Possible to Repair the Faulty Loudspeaker / Earpiece Speaker by Ourselves?

Technically yes! It all depends on how hardware savvy you are. Here is an insider look at how repairs work.

The go-to method for faulty speakers is replacing them. The components are not expensive and can be found at a couple of dollars. So, what makes repairs expensive?

The answer is the Risk Factor. Every mobile device needs to be opened from the front or the back. Back covers, Screens are not screwed in; they are glued and sealed. The only way is to pry it out with mobile repair tools. Repairers generally use a guitar-pick-looking tool.

So, Repairers account for the risk factor on the repair price. With experienced repair centers, the risk factor goes down if they have conducted many repairs on that model of the device, but with water damage, the risk is always high.

Most repairers will first take it under Inspection before quoting a price.

If you are willing to take the risk and void the warranty, approach repairs by first looking up the Teardown of the device on YouTube. 

You will also need to get the risk factor components ready and parallelly do the repairs on the device.

As stated above, Repairers will dismantle the device and dry the device’s internals with a dryer or use alcohol.

Do As I Do, Say What I Say

Do As I Do, Say What I Say

I worked in the North Orange, New Jersey school district for one day. It was a training day. I had accepted a job as a teacher in a fine High School (read: rich) teaching Journalism and Theater Arts. As a challenge, this was a step down from the English teaching I had been doing at inner city High Schools for the past five years, but it would have been a very cushy teaching job. I had been offered a salary of $75,000, which is more than I thought a teacher could make. On my first day of training, a couple weeks before the school year started, I got a call from a Web site to which I had also applied for a job. They wanted me to work for them as a product reviewer and news writer.

[Image credit: Redfire Motion Group]

The Web site was offering less than half of what I would have made as a teacher. I tried to negotiate, but things fell apart quickly. Instead of increasing their offer, they decided not to hire anyone for the position and just stick with the people they had. I got a message on my voicemail that pretty much said “thanks, but no thanks.” I called back immediately and asked if they would let me work for the initial salary offer. Of course, they accepted. As a negotiator, I really suck.

I recently left tech journalism to work with a major phone manufacturer. When I told people I was leaving, I heard two questions repeating themselves over and over. First, would I continue writing these columns for SlashGear. Second, could they have my job. I don’t understand the first question. I didn’t suspect people enjoyed reading reviews of bad movies and sentimental stories about Facebook quite as much as they did. I’m flattered, and I hope that I’ll be back on SlashGear to stay a while longer.

The second question I completely understood. I’ll tell you when I realized I was working a dream job. I started at the Web site on the Tuesday after labor day. That Friday, I did not realize it was the end of the week until around 4:30, when it was time to start winding down. When I realized I had two days off from work, I was sad to be leaving. I wanted a longer work week. That’s my definition of a great job: when you hate Fridays more than you hate Mondays. For the past 4+ years, I’ve never looked forward to a Friday.

So, here’s how to get my job. Let’s start with qualifications. I have an English degree and a Master’s degree, but I wouldn’t say those are necessary. Definitely not the Master’s. But you need to be a very good writer if you want to do well. You need to be completely comfortable expressing yourself in print in a way that people can understand, and in a way that will express subtext and a deeper meaning to your readers. And you need to be able to do it quickly. I wrote 200 word news stories in 5 minutes. I wrote 4,000 word reviews in a day.

However, it wasn’t the writing or the degree that landed me the job. It also wasn’t my prior experience. I’d been teaching High School for five years, but before that I worked at a few top notch Web sites riding the crest of the tech bubble in New York City. I’d written some reviews, done plenty of editing and learned just enough HTML code that I can ask where the bathroom is using only anchor tags.

What landed me that job, and my previous tech jobs, was a connection I made with my interviewer using gadgets. I talked about my first cell phone. My parents bought me a so-called Motorola bag phone in 1991, the year I started driving. I talked about that, and how I had been landline-free since 1997, the year I got my first portable cell phone (an early Sprint TouchPoint phone). My future editor was hooked. He asked all the silly interview questions, but it was talking about my early experiences, and showing wonder for the world that opened up when I started carrying a phone everywhere, that convinced him I would be a good fit. I don’t think I even submitted a writing sample.

Start following some of the smaller Web sites that cover products and topics that interest you. Don’t aim large at first. Sure, sites like SlashGear, or Engadget, or TechCrunch may hire someone with little experience, but it’s not likely. Instead, aim for a smaller, up-and-coming site and plan on working hard until you’ve made a name for yourself.

Web sites usually follow a specific tone. SlashGear is intelligent, slightly longer-form, and family friendly. This site is interested more in discussion than simply blip-by-blip press release repetition. Some sites are more irreverent, with reviews of toys and even paraphernalia of all sorts. Some sites are more strictly news-based. Be flexible in your hunt, and try to write a few samples in the site’s style and tone. Most sites will ask for 2-3 samples anyway, so it’s better to have this ready up front.

Most important, make sure you target your application to the site in which you’re interested. If I could tell from an email that the applicant was sending me the same form letter he or she sent to every other site, I lost interest very quickly. You will have much more success taking the time and tailoring your attack to sites individually. Sure, you won’t be able to hit 20 sites at one time, but would you rather spend 4 months sending 20 emails a day, or 1 month sending one thoughtful, sculpted email at a time.

Now that I’m looking from the corporate side, I realize just how difficult the journalism job can be. There are a lot of fun aspects of the job. In my first week of working for a gadget blog, I went to a fancy dinner with RIM, got a free BlackBerry Pearl (which we then donated to a charity called Phones4Life), reviewed some of the coolest smartphones available at the time and saw my name in lights, err, pixels at least.

I also worked 12 hours a day (though usually not in a row), plus a few hours on weekends. I grew despondent as some of my best reviews flopped with little interest in the product or my analysis. I was rejected by PR flacks and left out of the loop. At those amazing trade shows, I skipped the free booze and greasy fried food and worked until 3AM, only to get up at 7AM for breakfast meetings.

I made far less money than my wife, who has an MBA, and worked more hours. But every hour of work felt like play time. I felt like I was getting paid for a wonderful hobby, and not like I was toiling away at a thankless career. It’s certainly not for everyone, and it isn’t an easy job to find, but for the right person, it’s a job that will have you looking forward to every Monday morning.

17 Fresh Social Media Post Ideas For 2023

This list of engaging social media post ideas will help you out the next time you need to beat that dreaded writer’s block.

Be authentic. Post Reels. Target your ideal audience. Sacrifice a goat. Maybe those things got you noticed last year but not anymore.

With almost half (46%) of Gen Z “constantly online” — and Millennial oldies like me not far off, I’d argue — social media is more crowded than ever.

It’s not enough to post regularly, master Reels transitions, join TikTok, or follow what everyone else is doing. To grow this year, brands need to be original, likable, and useful.

If you’re not any of those things, here are 17 social media content ideas to do instead. (Kidding! You’re already great, and these ideas will make you even better.)

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8 creative social media content ideas for brands 1. Use original audio in Reels

It’s been a classic Instagram growth strategy for a while: Find a trending Reels audio clip, make a Reel, get thousands of new followers, and repeat.

Those days are gone. Yes, you can still use a voiceover of Michael from The Office and yes, it may grow your Instagram a bit. But 2023 is all about original audio.

Brainstorm your own funny skits instead, or for the simplest Reel of all? You + camera = answering your customers’ questions.

Using original audio in your Reels can:

Keep people watching longer, not knowing how it will end (as they do with trending audio after seeing a few).

Showcase your creativity and, potentially, make you — gasp — go viral.

2. Create “how to” content on YouTube Shorts

How-to YouTube Shorts hook people right away with quick visuals and a specific end result. If you sell a product, show your target audience how to use it — either the “regular way” or something creative.

Service providers, share your process or steps to achieve a quick win, like your best sales email script or a software tutorial.

How-to YouTube Shorts can help you:

Attract new subscribers.

Rapidly test to find out what your audience wants to see or learn about most.

3. Start a series

You’ve heard of #ThrowbackThursday and #SundayFunday but instead of regurgitating these tired trends, create your own daily or weekly series. It’s more original, and it’ll make your content planning process easier.

Instead of having to think of three new post ideas for the upcoming week, you’ll already know the format and theme of your series and can get into creating it right away. For max efficiency, keep a running list of all your ideas then pick one to film for the week, or film and schedule them all in bulk a month or more ahead of time.

In-depth educational series work especially well on YouTube. To keep people watching, create a YouTube playlist and link to it from each video’s description.

Source: YouTube

A content series can help you:

Build momentum toward a product launch or event.

Demonstrate your expertise and earn trust.

Keep a consistent publishing schedule.

4. Invest in UGC content

UGC, or “user-generated content,” isn’t new but it’s definitely time to hop on board if you haven’t already. Like influencer marketing, UGC content is created by people instead of the brand, but — traditionally — UGC content comes from unpaid, real customers.

Why bother? Your customers are 2.4 times more likely to interact with UGC vs. brand-created content. Authenticity sells.

Create a hashtag for your customers to use and feature their photos or videos in your feed.

Don’t have a big audience yet? No worries: You can buy authenticity, too. UGC creators are big in 2023: People paid to create content that looks like organic customer content.

UGC content can help you:

Promote your products without seeming too sales-y.

Gather diverse assets to repost across your social accounts or use in other content. For example, photos of people of many different ethnicities using your products, or multiple home decor styles, like Wayfair’s example above.

5. Keep it simple

Spicy take: Some businesses are luckier than others when it comes to social media content ideas.

Exhibit A: What type of content is universally adored by everyone, regardless of language, location, culture, demographics, or interests?

Cute animal videos.

The San Diego Zoo doesn’t overthink their social content strategy. People like cute animal videos, so they give them cute animal videos. It’s really that easy sometimes.

Think of what “simple content” looks like for your business. What can you make in 5 minutes or less? Then, make a bunch all at once and bulk schedule up to 350 pieces of content at a time to automatically publish with Hootsuite. Ahh, the simple life.

Simple content can:

Allow for batched production and scheduling, cutting down content creation time.

Appeal to multiple customer types and audiences.

6. Curate content from others

Great news: Content curation is still hot. Your original content is what keeps people sticking around, but curated content can beef up your posting frequency and attract new peeps.

Set aside time each week for strategic content curation and your publishing queue will never run out.

What you share needs to be relevant to your business and in line with your usual brand voice and tone, of course. Try sharing industry news, or media features from your employees, like this article by Adobe’s Chief Product Officer.

Add getting metaverse-ready to your New Year’s Resolutions! To bring the virtual realm to the mainstream, Scott Belsky…

Posted by Adobe on Thursday, January 5, 2023

Content curation can:

Fill up your content calendar without needing to create visual assets.

Develop cross-promotional relationships with other brands and/or industry leaders.

7. Embrace memes

Humor is always in style because there’s always something to be sad about. So give your audience a lil’ giggle, eh?

Maybe run super spicy stuff through legal compliance first. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

— ReginaPublicLibrary (@OfficialRPL) August 18, 2023

Memes can help you:

Gain new followers by cashing in on new, trending memes.

Appear cooler than you are. (That’s a joke. You’re very cool. Memes will help your audience see that.)

8. Launch a challenge

Challenges are a fun way to boost engagement, potentially get some juicy UGC (user-generated content), and subtly promote yourself at the same time.

Some businesses have more obvious challenge ideas than others. Nikon hosts monthly photography and videography challenges which fits their business perfectly. You may have to hunt for an idea if you, say, manufacture paper cups.

@nikonusa

♬ Hey It’s Me – Official Sound Studio

Challenges can help:

Educate or inspire your audience, and encourage them to take action on a goal or use your product more.

Fill up your content calendar. Share your audience’s work as part of your content curation process.

5 Social media content ideas for small businesses 1. Leverage AI for social content ideas

I’m just a writer standing in front of ChatGPT asking it not to take my job. Just kidding. AI can’t replace this kind of—

Source: OpenAI

Crap. Okay, but seriously: AI is our friend (at least until it tries to reprogram our microwaves to kill us all).

I didn’t use ChatGPT when I outlined this article, but it came up with several of the same social media post ideas. None of them are rocket science, but that’s exactly the point: Let AI do your easy tasks so you have more time to create the original elements of your content that will make you stand out.

As a small business owner, you’re probably either still doing all your own social media or relying on a small team. If coming up with ideas is stopping you from posting as much as you’d like, AI content tools get the ball rolling.

Just don’t put all your eggs in one artificial basket. Use your human brain for content ideas, too.

AI content tools can help you:

Fill up a list of content ideas so you can get creating faster.

Overcome writer’s block.

Save time on idea generation so you can focus on the real work that moves your business forward. (Spoiler alert: It’s content.)

Did you know that Hootsuite comes with OwlyWriter AI, a built-in creative AI tool that saves social media pros hours of work?

You can use OwlyWriter to:

Write a new social media caption in a specific tone, based on a prompt

Write a post based on a link (e.g. a blog post or a product page)

Generate post ideas based on a keyword or topic (and then write posts expanding on the idea you like best)

Identify and repurpose your top-performing posts

Create relevant captions for upcoming holidays

To get started with OwlyWriter, sign in to your Hootsuite account and head to the Inspiration section of the dashboard. Then, pick the type of AI magic you want to see in action.

Start your free 30-day trial

OwlyWriter will generate a list of post ideas related to the topic: 

And that’s it! OwlyWriter never runs out of ideas, so you can repeat this process until your social media calendar is full — and sit back to watch your engagement grow.

Start your free 30-day trial

2. Run a contest

Social media contests are always a good idea because people love free stuff.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the effort of entering the contest in line with the prize value. Smaller value prize = less effort to enter, higher value prize = more effort.

For brick and mortar businesses, target local people with a fun scavenger hunt contest:

Social media contests can help you:

Rapidly grow your follower counts and audience.

Find out valuable information about your customers through surveys to inform your marketing strategy.

Gather content assets you can use for future campaigns (for photo or video submission contests).

3. Feature your customers

What’s the best way to sell your products or services on social media? Showing not telling.

Share a testimonial or transformation story from a customer. It goes much further to gain trust than talking about yourself.

This can be as easy as whipping up a testimonial quote graphic, or better yet: Film a short video interviewing your customer. Edit it into multiple versions and share them across TikTok, Reels, Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, and more.

Keep social media videos under 60 seconds for best results.

Customer stories (especially video ones!) are:

More impactful and versatile than a written testimonial.

Great selling tools: People with the same problem as your featured customer see you as the solution.

4. Partner with content creators

Creators, a.k.a. influencers (or KOLs), are often pictured working with huge brands only, but 2023 is the year small businesses take over.

Our Social Trends report found only 28% of small businesses currently work with creators whereas 42% of businesses with over 1,000 employees do. Adding influencer marketing to your strategy this year will help you stand out from your peers, and deliver cost-effective campaigns in these uncertain financial times.

You don’t need a big announcement to start partnering with creators. New research shows influencer campaigns have up to 30.5% higher ROI when they’re not for new product launches.

Creator partnerships can help you:

Gather high-quality photos or videos you can use in future campaigns, on your website, and more.

5. Get feedback from your customers

Dying to know what your customers want? Just ask them.

This doesn’t mean that because one person suggests something, it’s a good idea or that you need to do it right away. But allowing customers to choose new flavors or the next event topic brings them closer to your business and builds a sense of community.

Asking for feedback on social media can:

Deepen existing customer relationships and develop new ones.

The formula for going viral

Everything you need to make engaging content. Post templates, an AI hashtag generator, and access to Canva and Grammarly Pro in Hootsuite.

Get 60 days for $0

4 B2B social media content ideas

You can definitely use the tips above, but these social media ideas are especially effective for B2B brands:

1. Share your best case studies

Testimonials, success stories, before and afters, yada yada — same-ish, different words for one thing: Demonstrating your capabilities.

B2B buyers are looking for a result, not the hope of a result.

By how much % did your customer’s email open rate increase after using your A/B testing software? Exactly how much money did your solution save your customer?

Pull some key stats out of an existing case study and make a few graphics to post on social, or edit them into a video for a TikTok or Reel (depending which platforms you’re on).

Can’t mention your big client successes by name? Pull together general statistics into averages, like how Heyday’s AI chatbot saved clients an average of $3,000 USD per day during Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Case studies can help:

Build trust. Testimonials are great, but numbers and statistics convince.

Your prospects understand your product’s key features in action.

2. Help your community

Do you regularly give money or volunteer time to local non-profits? Do you offer employees a paid day to volunteer at an organization important to them? Recently sponsored a fundraiser or event?

Show how involved you are with local and industry communities. Tap into the Instagram Reels algorithm by asking your employees to record a short clip of their volunteer day to share.

If you support an event, stitch a few clips together into a quick Reel, TikTok, or YouTube Short and let your customers know the impact of their contributions to the cause.

Community involvement can help you:

Build trust within your local area and make people feel good about shopping at your business vs. a competitor.

Network with other local businesses and indirectly, though effectively, promote yourself to attract new clients.

3. Post your research

Have a new white paper or study? Grab a few key stats and create social content linking back to the full report.

Make graphics for carousel posts and short videos for Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts. Or, offer a few pages of your report as a PDF on LinkedIn with a link to download the rest.

Use online graphic design tools to turn your statistics into animations you can post as Reels for higher visibility in the Instagram algorithm.

Sharing your research can help you:

Target and attract your ideal audience.

Build credibility within your industry, especially for new companies.

4. Share your company culture

Besides selling, recruiting top talent should also be a main goal in your B2B social media marketing plan. Sharing open jobs is part of that, but so is sharing why someone should consider you in the first place.

If you can, weigh in on a popular hashtag to further increase your reach.

Of course, this means you actually have to offer great benefits for your team members. If you don’t already, start now.

Showing your company culture can:

Keep you top of mind when a competitor’s star employee is looking for a change.

Plan, schedule, and analyze all your social media content from one organized workspace with Hootsuite. Go further than the basic features you’d expect with Best Time to Publish, social listening tools, automatic post boosting, and more. Do it all across all your platforms with Hootsuite.

Get Started

Save time and grow faster with OwlyWriter AI, the tool that instantly generates social media captions and content ideas.

How To Integrate Instagram Into WordPress

Instagram is really popular, but it is mostly restricted to your mobile devices. What if you want to view it online or add it to your WordPress blog? Here is how you can do it.

insta.SHOW

insta.SHOW is a WordPress plugin that allows you to display a running slide show of the images in your Instagram account. You need the Instagram login info of the account you’d like to display. The configuration options let you choose the number of images to display, the size of the text and the size of the images. Anywhere you’d like to add the slideshow, you can insert the shortcode “[instagram]” and the slide show will be added.

Instapress

Instapress is a more full featured Instagram plugin for WordPress. Instapress gives a lot of different options to add your Instagram images to different places in your site. You can add them as a widget, in a post or a page or even add it as part of your WordPress template.

The widgets and shortcodes can be configured to better suit your needs. What’s nice about Instapress is you aren’t limited to your own Instagram account feed. There is the choice to show other peoples feeds, popular feeds or even images with a specific tag.

Instagrate to WordPress

Instagrate to WordPress has a feature a little different than what the others on the list offer. The big deal here is, you can configure Instagrate to WordPress ahead of time and then go out and take pictures. When you use Instagram to capture a moment in time, the new picture will be published as a new blog post. Having this kind of plugin will save you a ton of time. You won’t need to take the image, attach it to a blog post then publish it, you can automate the process.

One of the fears I had was not wanting every single Instagram image show up as a blog post.  In the settings, it is possible to have the default post be set as a draft instead of publish automatically.

Final thoughts

For a personal site or even if you travel places for the work, adding in images to show where you’ve been really helps people connect with you. Adding a running slide show to your websites sidebar or posts displaying your recent Instagram images can be a simple way for you to add content to your site too.

How can you use Instagram images on your site?

Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world’s greatest game… Soccer.

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