How to Generate Content Ideas to Stay Active on Social Media

You know for a fact that more traffic means more business.

To drive traffic and gain awareness, you can’t ignore social media.

For one, you want to distribute your content EVERYWHERE. On top of that, you want to generate engagement where your prospects pay attention.

In this guide, we’ll give you tips and tools for coming up with content ideas for social media.

This way, your social accounts can stay active, contributing to your

  • Branding
  • Awareness
  • Website traffic

Why Keep Publishing on Social

Why should you stay active on social in the first place?

Just take a look at these numbers:

We Are Social Singapore suggests this great insight:

Social is the only practical way for us to converse and engage at scale.

If you’ve already created content, why not share in other places as well? Why not maximize your existing material through scale?

This way, you get a much bigger footprint, minus the spending and effort. Let more people discover the hard work you’ve already produced.

Social media gives you access to audiences in their platform.

For example, folks normally discover new content on Twitter through hashtags. Your prospects discover new brands by browsing Instagram. Your leads discover new products when searching on YouTube.

Through social platforms, you reach new audiences that you would not have otherwise. Get discovered with content that you already produced for your blog and mailing list anyway!

 What to post on social media

What to Post on Social Media

Here are 3 main categories:

  1. Links to other people’s content
  2. Links to your website
  3. Original content for that social network

Let’s look at each one…

1. Links to other people’s content

The rest of the internet has far more content than your brand.

That’s a pretty easy statistic to accept, right?

There’s far more interesting stuff that you can curate rather than create. So why not take advantage of the very best content from relevant people?

Sharing other people’s links comes with instant validation…

Based on their post’s performance, you can observe what gets high engagement vs. what doesn’t. If your post references a story from a known figure like Seth Godin or Neil deGrasse Tyson, there’s also a higher likelihood that their content will get high engagement.

You can take a peek at what is already getting high engagement before you even share. You use other people’s authority at low cost because you did not have to create the content, plus experience an extra advantage of influencer outreach in building relationships.

In the process, your brand will be building relationships with thought leaders that you mention.

Do this often.

2. Links to your website

We also might want to share links to our own blog posts.

It is imperative to share your blog posts on social networks.

Don’t be afraid to publicize blog posts over and over again. For one, it’s normal for Twitter that people would miss your tweet. Only 5-10% of your followers see each and every single tweet because a tweet is grounded in the timeline. It’s highly unlikely that followers will see your tweet five hours later because it would have drowned in all the latest content.

 Occasionally promote your offers on social

Every once in awhile, you want to promote your offers. But not so often!

For example, once a week, you can post a Tweet towards your lead generation page.

If you do this often, that would not be classy and folks will tend to unfollow you.

More often, share your own content.

Share every single blog post, video, podcast, etc.


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3. Original content for that social network

Post visual content on social media

For the most part, your success on a social network depends on your ability to be ‘native.’

What do you tend to upvote on Instagram? What kind of Tweets do you tend to <3?

Other than curated links, you want to post:

  • Tips
  • Quotes
  • Inspiration

Make it as visual as possible.

Custom graphics are great (like what they call “Quote Cards”).

Alternatively, you can publish GIFs! That’s an easy way to add action to your feed, taking advantage of Hollywood footage or the internet’s best memes.

Check out @erinthomaswong’s awesome tweet for more ideas:

How to Avoid Running Out of Content Ideas

Keep listening.

Most of our content are responses to our followers, clients, and the general market.

Instead of being in the business of ‘making things up,’ we focus on the firehose of content ideas put forth by people we care about.

If our mindset was to just keep churning out content, we will fail.

Jay Baer says it best, “Smart companies realize that social media is about people, not logos.”

Check out TopRank Marketing Agency’s SlideShare for more pro tips:


The healthy mindset here comes with the desire to get to know your audience and provide value out of what the market is already asking for.

Here are some ways to practice this:

#1: Follow Trending Hashtags

Use current trends as a gauge of the newsworthy discussions that you want to participate in. A key here is to filter through themes related to your audience, as global hashtags will include topics unrelated to your brand.

#2: Monitor Customer Conversations

Your customers send you messages.

Based on what they ask, create content that you do not need to create twice.

If you already wrote an email about a topic, use that as a template for content that you can add to your blog or knowledge base.

#3: Answer Questions on Quora and Reddit

If you do not already have an active following, you can take advantage of market demand expressed publicly on Quora & Reddit.

Folks already gave away the keywords and details of their issues. No need to pay an expensive market research firm.

By crafting articles based on real Q&As, you already know that there is demand for the topic before you write the first word.

#4 Take a look at free tools like Pocket, Feedly, and Flipboard

For inspiration, you may also list your current news consumption tools.

Check your smartphone. Check your browser history.

Where do you tend to get the latest and most insightful stories?

I strongly advise using your current consumption habits to see how a consumer might discover new content.

#5 Repurpose Content

Alla Bogdan of Promo Republic put it nicely,

By repurposing your top-performing social media posts, you will maximize the value of your existing content. By reusing, you are saving resources and time. Instead of constantly creating new content, repurposing takes what you already have and in turn boosts your returns.

As a consumer, you are in the best place to produce content. You know what you enjoy.

Compare that to the perspective of someone focused on merely completing work projects. In that condition, you are not in the best mindset to judge what the audience will enjoy.

Post visual content on social media

Take action: List 5 brands that your audience likely follow.

Who are the influencers that are close to your values? Who would your subscribers appreciate to hear from?

By listing ideas of who to source content from, you gain insight on your brand’s positioning.

After that, select their top stories for you to share to your social media.

Take Advantage of Content Curation

Okay, I admit. Producing content for social media can be expensive. It can also be ineffective. That is why you are careful about investing in social media marketing.

Is that an excuse for you to leave your social media accounts silent? Nope!!

Prospects look at your social accounts for social proof and to get an indication of how lively you are.

An easy way to keep your social media accounts active and effective is to take advantage of content curation.

Joshua Nite nicely laid out 5 reasons:

  1. Fill Your Editorial Calendar
  2. Provide Variety from Promotional Content
  3. Enhance Your Brand’s Credibility
  4. Expand Your Audience
  5. Spark Influencer Relationships

If you think about it, these are the same reasons why we are taking advantage of content like Joshua’s!

Every brand needs to stay active on social. Every brand needs to be careful with too much promotional content.

Take action: Check how much self-promotion you are posting.

How often do you blog? How often do you Tweet? In every 10 posts, how many are promoting your offers?

You should not just keep on asking. Show your followers that you offer enough free value, only occasionally asking for their signups or other forms of commitment.

This way, your followers would not feel that you are merely broadcasting your sales promos all the time.

From discovering content to publishing them, you go through a process when curating content. Most likely, you ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do I source content?
  • What kind of content do I curate?
  • Where do I publish curated content?

Look at stories from newsletters. Curate statistics and research, and add your editorial opinions. Curate multimedia like YouTube videos and SlideShare decks.

Publish on your social media accounts, forums, bookmarking sites, or others that work for you.

Make Your Content Engaging

Stay Authentic and Natural

While there’s a million ninja tools that allow us to see keyword trends and calculate algorithm… nothing beats authentic participation.

Especially today, when LSI keywords are super relevant. We have to use the most natural language to please Google.

Effective content is about relevance.

What are the stories that best appeal to your audience? How do you engage in the conversations they’re having? There’s a ton of theory behind relevance, but we’ll look at real data here…

These are platforms that your audience actively and authentically participate in.

Look at the top stories on Reddit:


Browse through the most viral content on social using Ruzzit:


Scroll through trending videos on YouTube:


By browsing through these, you get a general idea of what tends to work and what is relevant to your audience.

From there, use filtering tools to narrow down to content that’s related to your brand.

Does your brand happen to be about golf? Then go to Quora’s corresponding page for that:


There, you will see the topic discussions and FAQs. The same applies to other social networks and topics.

Get inspiration from forums.

I’ve noticed that places like Quora allow me to geek out in ways that my Facebook friends would find irrelevant.

Why? Places like Quora and Reddit are built for your interests. It’s for people who are very much into a topic.

If I want to talk about SEO, I can go to these topics.

On the other hand, I can’t talk about UX, SEO, and Inbound Marketing all day long on my Facebook feed… my friends from school would find it too noisy and irrelevant.

Quora allows me to reach people who are interested in things I currently want to talk about.

By answering on Quora, I’m able to speak real language addressing issues expressed by the community.

This way, I’m not making up social media post topics. Instead, all answers I write are responses to real demand. 

Let your ideas flow by hanging out at forums. Use the discussion topics as content ideas for social.

Use Proven Ideas

To create highly-engaging posts, there’s another secret recipe:

Do what’s proven to work.

Now, you might think this more easily said than done, but social media content surfaces what works vs. what does not.

Here’s how you see what works:

  • Find a SubReddit for your audience then sort content based on “Top All Time”.
  • Check out your Twitter Analytics then arrange it based on ‘Top Tweets” (you can adjust the date range to 91 days).
  • Search through top content using a tool like BuzzSumo or Epicbeat.

In short: Replicate what worked best for the top influencers… and what worked best for you.

Create a habit of checking the best performers every Monday, to maintain a pulse for what the market wants.

Over To You

Keep your brand’s social media profile alive.

Stay opinionated. Keep publishing your opinions.

Every once in awhile, do not be afraid to promote your offers.

Avoid too much automation! They’re spammy.

Folks already learned to ignore them. If you don’t have any tip that you feel strongly about, it’s better not to post anything.

Only post high-quality content, while attempting to have something great to share every single week.


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