Six Elements of Social Media Success

Article 4 min
In order to be successful with social media, it is important to learn and understand what plays into it.

There are six factors at work with any successful social media platform. Strategy, audience identification, commitment to communicate, allocating resources, establishing an identity and maintaining composure online operate together to lead to social media success.

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The strategy provides validation for all social media activities and a reference point to stay on track. Once a strategy has been established, refer back to it to ensure the platform is being used the way it was intended. You will quickly lose your audience if social media managers abandon the strategy and instead use the platform as a bulletin board. Maintain consistency across platforms and through personnel changes.

Strategy can be broken down into four elements:

  • Policy & Procedures: abiding by rules and regulations put forth by your service and installation
  • Functionality: comparing the most relevant platforms and determining the effectiveness of those platforms
  • Analytics/Evaluation: determining success and failure
  • Content Generation: discovering what drives the audience


Understanding who constitutes the audience and where they spend their time is an important element of social media success.

Platforms have specific audiences and the message, tone and language must be adapted to fit that audience. Tone will affect who listens to and who ignores a message. Think about it like this: you wouldn't talk to a grandparent using the same tone and language you would use to speak to a close friend.

Use your analytics and insights to find out who your audience is, and social listening to figure out how they communicate and what they value. You can also look to other mediums such as email and website to see who your audience is or could be. Knowing the audience makeup allows the social media manager to tailor a message to reach a specific group, using a tone and language unique to them. Focus on one audience per platform.


Establish a commitment to respond in a timely manner for your platform to realize success on social media. Quick responses result in a more loyal audience and a competitive advantage. Your comment strategy should address how you'll monitor the platform, how frequently you or a team member will check the platform, how frequently you'll respond and how you'll respond. Keep in mind that 79% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first 24 hours, but 40% of consumers are expecting a response within the first hour.

Social media implies two-way communication and constant interaction. Users have an expectation that someone will respond to a post or comment and then a conversation will take place. This conversation generation is the entire purpose of social media and requires commitment and follow-through. Posting and disappearing will cause the platform to lose control of the narrative.

Plan and commit to respond, show up and engage. Generating conversation equals greater reach, but failing to respond is a missed opportunity to convey a strategic message and control the narrative.

Note that not every post will require you to message in the comments, but especially when posting on sensitive topics, expect to monitor the account more closely than you would for non-sensitive topics. It is important to be able to respond to any post so that you are ready and available when your audience wants to engage. This sets a tone for potential trolls, who will realize that you are looking at the comments and will respond as an official presence when necessary.


Maintaining strong social media platforms requires adequate resources. People are needed to produce content, manage the platform and interact with the audience, so it is important to know what is and is not possible to do. Do not create accounts that will require more support than you have available to maintain. One active account generating fresh, good content is better than five semi-active accounts used as bulletin boards. Know who you have and what is reasonable to accomplish.


Social media calls for a genuine, authentic approach, often determined by the identity established by the organization. There are millions of social media accounts, including fake accounts and bots that push out false narratives and strike tension points to sow discord and misinformation. It is important that your account's identity is authentic, with a specific tone and style that fits the content generated.

Authenticity is KEY! Ensure content and responses from the official presence is in line with your brand's voice/tone/character, which will reinforce the authenticity of the page. If these tactics run against maximizing posts on the algorithm, then you may have to use other tactics like employing your comment strategy to make up the difference.

Your identity should be relatable to the audience and unique to the platform. Building an authentic, genuine identity will create a narrative over time and across platforms that will keep the audience coming back and staying engaged.


Fortitude is an absolute requirement to succeed in social media.

There will be times a post is planned out to the last detail, is posted to the platform and then torn apart by the internet. This is the way of social media; there are people out there whose only aim is to tear down others, and they have lots of time on their hands to accomplish this. Maintain composure during these times and recognize when you are being pulled away from more important tasks. Some people will argue with you until doomsday, which will only distract you from the larger strategic goals.

Failure is inevitable, but it is important to learn from mistakes and move on. The key is to use mistakes to improve and build upon your social media strategy.

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