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Why Data-Driven Social Media is Smart Marketing

Posted 07 January, 2016


Do you have a Facebook business page?

If so, you probably have one question: How can I get better engagement on my content?

But if you're honest, what you really want to ask is: "How can I find shareable content that gets massive engagement?"

My answer? Find the outlier.

What do I mean by this? 

If you want to amp-up your Facebook likes, shares and comments, you have to share *proven* content.

So how do you do this? I have the answer!

Today we launched the first training in the Post Planner, "Social Media Bootcamp" webinar series. In it, I gave a never-before-seen look into the strategy we use every day at Post Planner.

That's right -- we pulled back the curtain and exposed our exact process.

I also shared my spreadsheet to help you make data-informed, social media decisions. Stay tuned for that link (and an explanation) below.

Here's a few highlights from the webinar along with a link to the full video. You will want to watch it from beginning to end... guaranteed!

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Why Data-Driven Social Media is Smart Marketing

A few months ago, I was up early reading some saved articles on my iPad mini. (Instapaper, baby!)

One in particular caught my eye: A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Ben Horowitz about Management, Investing and Business.”

As I read through the post, I came across a great quote.

I have a friend who is a venture capitalist and one day, during a press interview in his office he was asked by a journalist, “What is the secret of your success?” He said, “Two words.” “And, what are they?” asked the journalist. “Right decisions.” “But how do you make right decisions?” asked the journalist. “One word,” he responded. “And, what is that?" asked the journalist. “Experience.” “And how do you get experience?” “Two words.” “And, what are they?” “Wrong decisions.”

Brilliant, right? And definitely shareable.

So here's what I set out to do. I re-worked and re-formatted that quote to make it easily digestible -- then I posted it as a status on my personal Facebook account.


The response surprised me. People loved it!

I mean, I thought the quote was good, but I didn’t expect the big response (for my profile).

It got 85 likes, 9 comments, 5 shares.

For a text post on my profile, this was an outlier.

And the comments on it were pretty enthusiastic, confirming my thoughts that it was a GREAT quote.

Creating a Data-Driven Social Media Experiment

Next step: I went to our social media team and I shared my post.

I asked that they create a new image with the same text. I wanted a completely different look and feel. 

Then I created a new one myself.

The team came up with a simple, white text on the Post Planner green background with our logo at the bottom. We’ve used this style a lot on Instagram:


My version had a photo background with the ocean and a SUP surfer. I found the background image here.

Once we had the two versions, we decided to try one on Facebook and the other on Instagram.

Here are the results:

Facebook: 605 likes, 459 shares, 62k reached


Instagram: 177 likes, 6 comments


Not bad.

Our next step was to up the ante. We wanted to know how the surfer image would perform on Facebook in comparison to the branded green design.

The results?

Facebook: 1,913 likes, 23 comments, 2,240 shares, 407k reached


Impressive. But the good news?

Each of these posts were successful. And even better? I predicted that they would be successful before we posted them.


Data, baby!

The content (the original text post on my profile) had already proven itself.

I was being data-driven in my approach on the Post Planner page and the Instagram account.

I was posting proven content. Scientifically proven, in fact.

Why Data Should Drive Your Posting Decisions

Let’s go to my profile and look at the average of all my text posts for the last 4 months:

After crunching the statistics on the above post data, it turned out that my "CEO/Journalist" post was in the 98th percentile of all text posts on my profile.

Ie. it performed better than 98% of text posts.

And here's where the story (and experiment) takes an interesting turn. We weren't the only ones to notice this posts popularity or its ability to go viral.

9GAG, a page with 29 million fans, did exactly what we we did -- and what we recommend everyone do:

Post proven content!

They found our original "CEO/Journalist" photo (with the green background) on Facebook, noticed the good engagement, and repurposed it for their page, adding their own branding.

While swiping someone's content and calling it your own is never something we'd condone, it does prove a point. 

The 570k likes, 4.5k comments, 177k shares on their post shows how powerful (and how scientific) you can be on social media, if you just pay attention and make an effort to post only *proven* content.

Btw, the reach on this post an estimated 32.7 million !!!


Final Thoughts

Want better social media engagement?

Stop finding random content with no data or context, posting it on a hunch and then hoping it will resonate with people.

Be more scientific!

This is pretty much all we do on the Post Planner fan page. And check out our engagement vs. some of the other brands/pages in our domain:


Yes, we only post proven content when it comes to images. The images go viral and boost engagement and page growth, while the articles we share (95% from our own blog) keep people going back to our website to read them and get exposed to our marketing funnel.

Now, the question remains: HOW do we do this at scale??

We use our own app, of course!

Grab the Spreadsheet (and get data-driven)


Watch the Full Training Replay

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