Where to Find Inspiration for Your Social Media Images

May 8, 2019 | 0 comments

You’re looking at your Instagram feed and thinking about what to post. You don’t want to share another motivational quote or grammar tip.

You want to post something inspiring and meaningful, not just fill in space.

But inspiration is taking its time.

Well, maybe instead of waiting for inspiration to come to you, you’ll need to go and find it. Below are nine places where inspiration might be waiting for you. Because you can’t inspire others if you don’t feel inspired.


1. The Spectacular Now

Timely posts create a feeling of shared experience and are a great conversation starter. You may create posts based on the season, holidays, day in the week, or news (if that’s in line with your brand).

For every day of the week, there are specific hashtags that people use, the most popular being #mondaymotivation, #wednesdaywisdom, or #flashbackfriday. Maybe you can find even more relevant ones for your brand?

Another fun idea is to look up national days that would resonate with your audience. Here are some national days relevant for online language teachers as an example:

  • March 4th = National Grammar Day
  • April 23 = Spanish Language Day
  • April 10 = National Encourage a Young Writer Day
  • And so on! See the list of resources at the bottom of this article


2. Art and Literature

Aren’t you a bit tired of all the overused inspirational quotes (“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” …)?

I find it so refreshing when I see a nugget of wisdom that is actually inspiring because it’s a) meaningful, b) surprising, and c) used in context.

You won’t find these gems by googling “inspirational quotes,” but by reading literature and poetry, listening to song lyrics, reading memoirs, or talking to people. In other words, you won’t find them by looking for them.

When something inspires you, there’s a good chance it will inspire others. But when you do it the other way round—try to find something inspirational so you have something to post—there’s a good chance you’ll only find a meaningless cliché.


3. Your “Ordinary” Life

Sharing grammar tips, pretty motivational quotes, and curated flat lay stock photos is one thing, but sharing your life is something completely different. It makes you more of a 3D human being that your people can relate to and trust.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. My life? All I do is sit around in my yoga pants, work on my laptop, and drink tea. No beach parties, traveling adventures, or hanging out with celebrities is going on here!

But you know what? Your everyday life is more interesting than you realize. Because the everyday, mundane things you take for granted may be exotic for people from different cultural backgrounds.

Even if it’s “just” your favorite café, your family life, your country-specific traditions… or even your dog sleeping in your home office.


4. Your Past

If you’re like most people, your phone gallery is full of photos. And if you’re old enough to know what I’m talking about, you probably have an album with real photos from your childhood or school years.

Use the photos as prompts or inspiration for social media storytelling. People want to hear your stories, the “big” ones that made you who you are, and the small, everyday ones, too.


5. Your Creative Adventures

What do you create when you don’t create “content”?

You may love cooking, watercolor, doodling, or creating stuff with your kids. This all can be a source of inspiration for your visual content. Document it. Share it. Describe how you feel and what you’re learning during the creative process.

In the resource section, you’ll find a few classes you can take online to learn new creative skills and share your journey on social media.

Because if you are an online teacher, sharing your clumsy, imperfect learning attempts online is a great way to connect with your people and show them that you know what it’s like to be in their shoes.

And in any case, sharing things that make you feel alive is the best way to inspire others.


6. Your Community

By listening to your community, you can come up with amazing ideas for posts that feel like they were created just for your dream client (because they were).

Follow your people on social media, see what accounts and hashtags they follow, read what they talk about, ask them questions. Then curate and create content they’d love to see.


7. Looking Elsewhere

Why do most online teachers, yoga teachers, or life coaches social media accounts look so similar?

People from one industry like following and get inspired by each other, so it’s no surprise that everyone ends up looking the same.

So to stand out, you don’t need to come up with something that no one has never thought of.

You just need to look for inspiration elsewhere—other industries, non-business social media accounts, brick and mortar businesses, and so on. They also have their clichés, but their clichés aren’t our clichés.


8. Your Swipe File

Each time you see something inspiring, take a screenshot or a photo. It only takes a second, but when you run out of ideas, you’ll be glad you have a swipe file—a collection of ideas to steal from.


9. Stock

Finally, there’s a whole awesome world of stock photos (and illustrations) that you can use for free or for a fee.

Sure, using stock images on social media can result in an impersonal and alienating brand experience. But when you use them creatively and strategically, they can help you achieve an outstanding and consistent online presence.

To avoid the first option, remember to:

  • Use stock images as fillers, together with your own photos. Don’t use only stock.
  • Curate the images carefully and only use visuals that support the feeling and personality of your brand.
  • Use stock images as a raw material: Spend time curating and editing them to create something new out of them. Put them in context.

Here’s what to do now

To never run out of inspiration, take some time to create inspiration-friendly systems and creative habits:

  • Plan your content in advance. This way, you can see where your timely posts (holidays, important days, national days, your launches) go and you don’t have to start with a scary blank calendar.
  • Get into the habit of capturing inspiration: Quotes, images, stories, notes from listening to your community, other people’s content, stock images. Carry a notebook, create a Dropbox folder for screenshots, and most importantly, create some white space in your life for following your curiosity, enjoying art, talking to people, and doing nothing at all.
  • Create. Learn a new creative skill, get your hands dirty, do something “useless”. Inspiration comes when you aren’t looking.


Timely content:

79 Hashtags For Every Day Of The Week by Vision Creative Group

The Ultimate Social Media Holiday Calendar for 2019 by HubSpot

National Day Calendar


Short, project-based online creative classes:

Skillshare: Get 2 free months (←my referral link)

Don’t know what to choose? Here’s a list of beginner-friendly photography classes.


Swipe file and stealing other people’s content legally and creatively:

Austin Kleon: Steal Like an Artist (book)


Stock images

Free: Unsplash, Rawpixel

Premium: Creative Market


Planning your Instagram content in advance:

Planoly (referral link)

Feeling inspired? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you liked the article, would you please share it on your favorite social media? Thank you!


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