When it comes to keyword research, most of us will turn to tried and trusted tools and methods. Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, Answer The Public, and Google Search Console are all great ways of discovering the best keywords to optimise your content for. Add this with SERP research – looking at auto-suggest keywords, People Also Ask and Google Ad copy, and we have a range of tools and methods available to us in order to help us identify the best possible keywords.

One often overlooked tactic, however, is to use social media platforms as a way of identifying the keywords that people are most commonly searching for.

According to the latest research from Statista, in 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year.

Given the amount of time people spend on social media platforms, it’s a no brainer to turn to these platforms as a way of discovering how people search on them to find information and content.

Here are some of the ways you can use social media for keyword research.

YouTube Auto-Complete

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

Let’s start with YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine (behind Google). With so many searches carried out on YouTube each day, and with Google powering that search engine, it makes sense to turn to this platform as an additional way of identifying relevant keywords.

This is especially true for those creating video content as that is the type of content that people are searching for on YouTube, however, it is also useful for generating new ideas for all types of content marketing.

Like Google, YouTube has an auto-complete function that provides suggestions based on the words you start to type into the search bar.

Tap into Instagram’s Hashtags

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

Whilst many businesses use the hashtag function on all social media platforms to help group content together, add context to their posts, or use them to manage competition content, hashtags are also a great source for people conducting keyword research.

When people publish posts and use hashtags, they will typically use a series of hashtags in the hope of their content being discovered through Instagram’s search functionality.

Simply search for a topic you are interested in and check out some of the leading posts for that particular hashtag as it is likely that other hashtags will be contained within the post.

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

Instagram also has an auto-complete function, and this can also be a good source for identifying prospective keywords as well as identifying potential hashtags for use in your own social media marketing.

Use Facebook targeting

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

If you manage a business Facebook account, you can gather some excellent insights from the audience insights functionality. Facebook gathers a lot of information about its users, which is then used to help businesses target specific audiences with their advertising on the platform.

Whilst this might not necessarily provide you with specific keywords, you will find out valuable information about your prospective customers including gender, interests, education, place of work, and more.

This can help you to refine your keyword research and make it more specific to your audience as discovered through Facebook.

Of course, Facebook also has similar features to YouTube and Instagram when it comes to search with the option to search by hashtag and discover potential keywords through auto-complete.

Identify key influencers on LinkedIn

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

If LinkedIn is the most relevant social media platform for your business, there are some good options when it comes to identifying relevant keywords for your business.

LinkedIn is full of influencers. Not in the same way as you get influencers on platforms like Instagram or Facebook but thought leaders and business leaders in their various fields. Identifying these influencers is relatively straightforward. Simply carry out a search on LinkedIn for a relevant keyword, then filter by “People” and then take a look at the posts and content that these influencers have posted recently.

LinkedIn also has an auto-complete feature on its search box and hashtags are another common feature on the platform and can be used in the same way as other platforms mentioned above.

Use BuzzSumo

YouTube Auto-Complete Screenshot

Carrying out keyword research across all these social media platforms can be time-consuming. Thankfully, there is a tool that will allow you to carry out keyword research across a number of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit – BuzzSumo.

Enter a seed keyword, such as “digital marketing” as we have been using in all our examples above, and BuzzSumo will return a list of the most engaging content for that particular keyword. From there, you can identify topics and themes that recur throughout the list, and then dig deeper into those posts for more ideas when it comes to the most relevant keywords.

You can also look specifically at content across Facebook and YouTube which is great if you are a social media manager, or you publish a lot of content on YouTube.

There is also a nifty feature that allows you to look at the leading influencers on a particular topic across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs/content.

The tool has evolved over time, and it now has a keyword research feature on paid accounts as well as tools to help you identify relevant topics and commonly asked questions. BuzzSumo has become a one-stop shop for keyword and content research and is a must for content marketers.


Social media platforms offer way more than escapism for marketers – they are a great resource for uncovering search trends and topics and identifying keywords that are likely to drive highly relevant traffic to their business if they are well optimised on their website.

Every social media platform presents an opportunity to uncover keywords and topics that you might not necessarily find through traditional keyword research methods.

The next time you are researching a topic, head over to your social media platforms and see what you can find.

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