Why PILES Is About to Be Your New Favorite Social Media Acronym

Social media marketing can be pretty complex, especially if you’re new to the ropes and want to get the most out of every hour you spend. Some people go the simple route, posting whenever they think about it and about pretty much whatever they feel like. Others try to rigorously control what they post, but aren’t sure what the most effective types of posts are.

In any case, most social marketers don’t have a clear idea how often they should post (or what they should post about). That’s why I came up with this simple acronym for personal brands—PILES—which outlines the five main types of posts you should be making.


Personal posts are tied to your personality (and sometimes your personal life). Show off what makes you “you” (keeping it professional, of course), and people will trust and respect you more. Examples of posts in this category include images of yourself, your friends, your family, and maybe even your pets. You could also make jokes or commentary about current events, or participate in ongoing conversations.


Informational posts are all about providing value to your users. They can be “quick facts,” like short tweets with random bits of information, or the presentation of an article that explores a topic in detail. The goal here is to provide information or resources to your followers, in whatever format you choose.


Your local posts are an offshoot of your “personal” posts, but have more to do with what you’re doing in the present moment. For example, you could attend an industry conference and use their hashtags to post about the experience, or talk about the new sandwich shop that opened down the street from you. The intention is to show that you’re an active part of the community, and to earn more visibility to similar community members.


This one’s a little trickier since technically all of your posts should be engaging. Posts exclusive to this category, however, are designed specifically to encourage audience participation. You can post questions, quizzes, contests, or even start an open dialogue—how you do it is up to you. As long as you’re getting responses, you’re doing it right.


Finally, don’t be afraid to post a bit about your personal agenda. List a few products or services, offer a discount code, or just remind your audience what you do for a living. Never post “sales” related content more than 20 percent of the time—any more than that, and you’ll instantly alienate your audience. Instead, post these sporadically, and only in between other, more valuable types of social content.

Start implementing PILES in your own social media feed, and experiment to find out which combination works best for you. If you need some help brainstorming specific posts that could fall into these categories, don’t hesitate to contact me—I’m here to help.

photo credit: Sign on the woodpile via photopin (license)


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