A new report from Sprout Social provides an interesting insight for brand social media managers: Pay attention to the milestones and other life moments people are posting about on social networks.

The gist of the report is that people are not only sharing those moments on social media but that they’re using social to research and get recommendations about upcoming purchases related to them. Those moments range from vacations to holidays to weddings, promotions, home purchases and more. Of course the more positive the moment the more likely people are to share it. And when they do so they’re often mentioning a brand in some manner.

Those mentions are intentional and often come with a purpose in mind. They might want the brand to recognize or acknowledge the mention in some manner as they may want something more tangible, like access to an influencer program or at least a coupon as a form of thanks.

sprout life moment social media brands

In the other direction, people are being influenced by what brands post when it comes time to make a purchase in preparation for a life moment or milestone. That’s especially true for younger people.

There are lots of ways brands could potentially take advantage of this trend. It shows how valuable listening programs are since that’s how managers are going to find these opportunities for engagement and acknowledgment. And if you in content that’s specially designed to be tied to some sort of life moment – the specifics will vary from one brand to another – you increase the potential conversions.

There’s that old quote about how no has ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the public. That’s certainly true, but this report and the underlying behavior hint at a new maxim for the content marketing age: No one ever went broke underestimating the narcissism and vanity of the social media public. The opportunities for marketing here involving playing as much as possible to the habits of the online community, including their penchant to reward the companies that speak directly to them and give them access that seems exclusive or special.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.