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Leveraging Social Media as Inspiration: A Content Marketer’s Guide

How can you leverage scrolling through social media in your free time as a way to get a head start on content creation for your marketing day job? We've got the ultimate content marketer's guide to using social media as inspiration just for you!
Angela Fu
July 30, 2021
April 19, 2024

As we live in a world more digitally plugged-in than ever before, there’s bound to be more people taking on the roles managing the digital content for brands. Chances are, if you’re reading this, that person is you: curating the content, executing the front-facing brand voice, essentially the one managing your brand’s digital presence on all social channels. 

Working in the world of content marketing poses an interesting double-edged sword because you constantly sit on two edges of the blade: 

  1. As an everyday user scrolling through the platforms (whether that’s through your personal or professional accounts)
  2.  As a creator publishing the content that populates the feeds for people to scroll through

When your marketing professional hat is on, how many times have you had that anxious feeling that your brand’s content inventory is soon due to run dry? Probably at least once, but that’s one too many times! And when your social media user hat is on, there’s likely been a time where you’ve paused your scrolling to marvel at an account with great content and, naturally as a marketer, wonder how they keep up with such trendy, “on-brand” content for audiences like yourself and beyond. 

Now instead of sitting in these two separate buckets, here’s how you can leverage your passive downtime scrolling into active opportunities of inspiration for your brand’s content creation! 

Think about your audience

Everyone loves a great post that can stop users in their scrolling tracks and engage them thoroughly enough to get through the whole thing, whether that be the entire caption, length of the video clip, etc. When you come across a post like that, begin building the habit of pausing to think about the broader perspective of who you’re enjoying this content as. Are you a millennial? An avid fitness enthusiast? A parent of a toddler? With all the different forms of content out there, different styles will be much more effective for tapping into different audiences, so it’s worth taking that pause to start developing a sense of what styles your brand’s audience(s) enjoy consuming.

Sometimes something as simple as genuinely defining and reframing how you see your target audience(s) with social media in mind helps open up the gate for what to consider and incorporate into your content creative briefs.

Save it! Pin it! Add it to your “Watch Later” list!

Going back to when your marketing professional hat is on, there are times where you hit a wall just when you need to come up with more content to schedule for your brand. One tip we love, as cliche as it might sound, is to stay organized! Keep a folder, whether that be directly in-app, a Google doc, a notepad, etc., to house all of the bussin’ posts that had a little somethin' that you’d like to incorporate into your brand’s content. We love Instagram’s customizable saved collections feature for its convenience, especially if you’re already an avid user). Regardless, the sky is truly the limit for where and how you’d like to keep your inspiration collection.


Watch Finley take you through a quick walk-through on how to create a Saved Collection on Instagram!


Once the folder is set up, it’ll eventually become a split-second practice-turned-habit to add to your inspiration collection often. This will essentially give your marketing-end a head start, even when you’re on the user-end in your downtime. With this collection on hand, you’ll know exactly what to ask for in your next creative brief. 

And an extra little perk for Cohley users:

Within our platform, creating a new creative brief for your campaign becomes a breeze; simply fill the “Content we want” section with direct links to the inspiration you may have saved in your Instagram inspo-collection. Your creators will be able to see auto-generated image examples of the exact type of content you’re looking for them to create!

Hash out & explore relevant hashtag feeds

Hashtag away! Search and follow hashtag feeds of keywords relevant to your brand.
<img src="" alt="Hashtag away! Search and follow hashtag feeds of keywords relevant to your brand."> Hashtag away! Search and follow hashtag feeds of keywords relevant to your brand.

The importance of hashtags is not mind-blowing news by any means, but odds are the ways that you can leverage them to your brand’s advantage could be broadened. It’s common practice for many accounts aiming to reach specific large audiences to include relevant hashtags in their posts. You might see it directly in the bio or sometimes as a post comment. On the flip side, since hashtag feeds are quite literally already highly curated for specific keywords, what’s in these feeds can be a good source of inspiration for what styles of content your target audiences are engaging with at the moment.

From passive to active scrolling

bootsWalking_MEME (1).png
<img src="" alt="bootsWalking_MEME (1).png">

From Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest to TikTok, no matter what social media platform you’re on, it was literally made for scrolling. But the difference with leveraging it as a source of inspiration comes from whether you’re actively or passively scrolling. But what does that mean? Well, glad you asked!

  • Passive Scrolling is using social media with no intended agenda, sometimes even “mindlessly scrolling” as a means to unwind after a stressful or overstimulating day.

  • Active Scrolling is using social media with an agenda or purpose, no matter how front or back of mind it may be. Our emphasis on that second bit is that you don’t necessarily have to dive into your social media usage with a head-on mission. Instead, simply having a sense of wanting to see content to potentially apply to your brand’s content is enough. 

In our context, active scrolling would be using social media with the mindset to be inspired. Once you have this mindset realized, you’ll be much more likely to think one step further than just liking a post and moving on, especially with collections and “audience-first” reasoning now in your toolbox!

Watch Finley swim through how easy it is to save inspiration posts on the fly once your Instagram Saved Collections are set up.
<img src="" alt="Watch Finley swim through how easy it is to save inspiration posts on the fly once your Instagram Saved Collections are set up."> Watch Finley swim through how easy it is to save inspiration posts on the fly once your Instagram Saved Collections are set up.

Now that you’ve got your sources ready for scrolling and folders ready for storing, all you need to do is what we as social media users are programmed to do - consume and get inspired by the content! Here are some ideas of things you may want to keep an eye out for your brand’s inspiration collection:

  • Photo Assets
    • Color schemes & combos
    • Style (flat-lay, clean solid background, infographic slides, etc.)
    • Fonts [if it’s a graphic style post]
  • Video Assets
    • Transitions
    • Music/audio
    • Overall mood evoked
    • Pacing (is there a buildup to the main point or is it shown from the get-go?)
  • Written Assets
    • Specific verbiage (keywords, hashtags, etc.) 
    • Call-to-actions
    • Engagement “bites” (i.e. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?)
    • Stories, narratives, personal testimonials, etc.

Once your collection has grown to a starting size, you’ll have something you can reliably go back to whenever you’re experiencing a creative block on what you’d like your content to look like. For more on how to continue building out your brand’s social media style, we love referring to this guide from our friends over at Sprout Social that covers everything from brand voice to visual guidelines to competitor and customer interactions, and more. Now go forth and make your brand voice come to life across all your platforms! What’s next? Ready to get your brewing ideas into a reality? Check out our campaign offerings ranging from User-Generated Content (UGC) and professional photography to product reviews and more to get started! You can also get in touch with us to learn how Cohley can help with your content and product review campaigns by filling out the form below.

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Angela Fu
Social Media