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Look Through the Social Window

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That glorious “bing” heralding from your social page signals more than just a comment or mention.

Repeat after me:

“Bing” = Content Ideas

The comments fans and followers leave on your brand’s Facebook page and the tweets that mention your organization ultimately convey the thoughts and experiences of your consumers (i.e., the source of current and future leads and sales).

So, get into position and take a peek through your social window.

For quite a while, brands have used social channels as another touch point in their customer service strategy. Consumer-centric social strategies acknowledge both the positive and the negative content from fans and followers. They expand on positive comments by answering questions or offering additional resources and address the negative comments by offering solutions and tips. But in order to maximize the return on your brand’s investment in its social strategy, your should use these comments from fans and followers to generate content ideas. Just how do you do so?

Check out the following strategies to rock both social and content.

Uncover Keywords

Comments from fans and followers help generate both content ideas and the keywords for that content. Notice: do consumers use a certain word or phrase in their comments? Is that word or phrase used consistently? These keywords are indicative of (1) how your followers relate to your brand and (2) the language they use to relate to your brand. Keep a running list of words and phrases that consumers use for keyword use in later content. Because, if we aren’t writing content to and for our consumers, then just what are we trying to accomplish?

The keywords your consumers use in their social comments and posts can be used in more than just blogs or eBooks. Consider incorporating them in your brand social profiles and social posts in addition to blog posts and blog titles.

Capture User-Generated Content

Again, content is written to and for our consumers. So, help your audience share their stories about and experiences with your brand and products. Storytelling is engaging and shareable, and sharing your fans’ stories and content confers third-party credibility.

Just how do you solicit and find this user-generated content? Try conducting surveys and polls or hosting content submission contests. And, always be on the lookout for that enthusiastic consumer that creates and posts a video to YouTube that features your brand. Those fans are gold.


Perhaps your consumers aren’t supplying ready-made content via social media, but you can use your social communities as channels to ask your consumers questions that can lead to content ideas. Consider asking the following questions:

  • What form of content (i.e. infographics, video, etc.) do you like to engage with most?
  • In regards to our product or service, what type of content (i.e. tips, how-tos, etc.) is the most beneficial?
  • What has been your best experience with our brand? The worst?

Hearing the answers to these questions may scare you, especially that last one. But, be brave. Ask them. Addressing the negative experiences and responding with positive and helpful content will score you major brownie points with your consumers – and your mom. Moms love honesty and integrity.


While not openly discussed, creeping is, indeed, a marketing-approved activity. Oh, come on. You know what creeping is, and you’ve surely done it. Here’s my own definition of it:

Creep /krēp/(v.) to stealthily investigate someone’s social media profile and activity in order to glean conclusions about his or her desires, wants and/or needs in relation to your company (or just because you think they’re cute)

Some clarification: marketing approves the first part of this definition (i.e. creeping for the sake of investigating an attractive individual is NOT marketing-approved, although I’ll give you a pass).

When fans comment on a post or mention your brand in a tweet, look into their social profiles a bit. Ask yourself:

  • Where are they from?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What type of content do they post?
  • Do they interact with other brands? If so, which ones?
  • How large of a social following do they have?

These prompts will help your organization not only better understand your target consumers but also help you write content they’ll find useful and entertaining.

Use Your Analytics

Track and study your social content’s effectiveness. Monitoring what posts generate engagement is a direct sign of what content your fans and followers enjoy. Did that photo of the office cat generate several shares and comments on your Facebook page? Perhaps your fans appreciate seeing your “team” in action (or just really adorable cats). Did a lot of followers re-tweet your how-to blog? Maybe your audience found that post so engaging that they wanted to share the info with their own followings.

This is true vice versa. If some posts don’t engage as well as others, consider why: time of the post; length of the post; type of post, etc. Your fans and followers will tell you what they like and dislike, but your brand must pay attention.


By now, your organization is most likely already investing resources into at least one social channel. These channels are excellent spaces to push content to your communities and generate awareness about just how totally awesome your brand is. But, remember: that “bing” is more than just a virtual high-five. That “bing” is an opportunity to provide useful and entertaining content to your consumer. 

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