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5 Key Ingredients to Successful Social

Over the last 30 days I have immersed myself in everything social and have taken the time to not only look at how we do “Social” but why we do it. I guess there is no great surprise to learn that the number one reason social works is because that is where our audience’s attention is. However I have also looked at what factors combine to make a successful social campaign.


The parameters of what exactly make a successful social campaign, will vary from business to business. With that said there are things that you can do that will ensure that you can win before you even start. The following five are just some of the indicators that I have come across while examining social campaigns and this is by no means definitive, but all of the ones I have looked at and been involved in, contained the same ingredients


 5 Key Ingredients to Successful Social




Having a very clear understanding of your audience is key when it comes to planning out your social media efforts. When it comes to creating a product, it is done with an “ideal customer” in mind, which is great. The research that goes in to this is fantastic, but sometimes it doesn’t go far enough. People will look at age, gender, family circumstance, education, pains, problems ect, yet fail to convert these when it comes to social.


Once you have taken the time to research your client, you need to understand which social network fits that persona. If your “ideal customer” is late 40’s, male, collage educated, earning over $60,000 a year, they are not likely to be on Snapchat, or Pinterest for that matter. Yet I have seen so many people decide that, this or that platform is the latest and greatest and as a result they have to have a “presence” there.


No you don’t! You need to be where your “ideal customer” is. After all, a 22 year old woman on Pinterest is highly unlikely to care about your product or presence, so don’t waste your time. Instead take the time to do the platforms that do fit with your “ideal client” even better. Understand not only who, but also where!


Have a plan in place


Much like having an Editorial Calendar, you need to have a social media calendar. Having a plan in place is key to executing. Whether is it assigning which content will go out on what days or who is going to reply to any and all comments on certain platforms, it has to be done.


Due to the fast acting and ever changing nature of social, you need to try and stay proactive instead of reactive. So while knowing what content is going to go out is great, staying on top of comments and in particular what is trending will help you boost your reach.


Time and Respect


I think the days of been seen as someone who just “plays around on Facebook” are long gone from a business point of view, thankfully. No longer is it seen as a secondary task when it comes to promoting content. Giving it the time and the respect it deserves is key. There is no point in having a plan in place or setting goals, if you do not give it the time it will take to execute or achieve.


Factor time into your day or week solely for the purpose of utilising social media. There are automation tools out there that will certainly help speed up the process, so learn to harness them. Not only do you need time to programme your social updates, but you also need time to interact. After all that is why they call it social. Don’t just post and forget about it.


Drive “Stick”


I know I have just told you to utilise social software to automate the process, but sometimes going manual is great. Much like driving an automatic car, it is easy and carefree and requires little effort, simply apply pressure and steer. However, sometimes it is great to drive a manual or “stick” as it is called in the U.S. Having that feeling for control and being able to fully manipulate the car to your every reaction can be exhilarating.


The same principal applies to your social, sometimes you need to go “manual” to be able to fully manipulate the platform to get what you want. I think this is the reason that people are evangelising Instagram. “Instagram is great for engagement” has been said to me on numerous occasions, but has anyone ever stopped to think about why?


I have and the main reason in my mind is the fact that you can’t fully automate your Instagram posts. You can plan them and schedule them, but you still have to log in and post them manually. This of course leads to more people logging in to post, seeing new followers, then seeing new comments and thus replying to them there and then. This drives interaction;


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To drive interaction sometimes you have to drive “stick”


Know your Why


This one may seem like a rather obvious one, yet many people fail to recognise it’s importance. Why are you doing it, what is your end goal, what are your KPI’s. Without knowing where the finish line is, how will you know if you have won the race?


Set clear, tangible goals for each campaign and platform. Know what you want to achieve from it, it is only though truly understanding what it is that you want, will you ever be able to determine if it has been a success. Don’t worry about what other people will tell you about the R.O.I on social, each business is different and has different goals.


If you are only starting out, maybe the goal is to drive awareness. If you are months or years in, it could be to grow your list. If you have a product, maybe your social is part of the launch sequence. What ever it is, you need to be clear on the end goal, otherwise you will never really be able to determine not only which content should go out, but if you are winning.


Analyse and Recognise 


I know I promised you five ingredients, but this one is so important you can consider it your dessert. Having the ability to track metrics is fantastic and we all have access to them when it comes to our social media accounts, so use them.


As I said earlier, the world of social is fast paced and this is great, so be sure to track every post, every interaction, every unsubscribe. Use these data points to see what is working and what isn’t. Give the crowd what they want and they will keep coming back for more. You can not do this if you don’t know what is working.


Take the time each week to analyse what has worked over the last seven days and what has bombed. Then once you can recognise your audience’s wants, you can be proactive in providing the content they will keep coming back for.



So there you have five, Six ingredients to successful social. As I said these are by no means definitive, but they are a great foundation to build your house on. Let us know your thoughts, what other ingredients are you putting into your social?


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About the author, Phil

I am passionate about great content and some what of a perfectionist, but remember, you can't edit a blank page!

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