Most brands struggle with social media. Coming up with eye-catching content day after day is quite difficult.

Many marketers, however, are tasked with doing just that and need a constant flow of new ideas about ‘what works now’.

To help out, here are three examples of Facebook posts which have outperformed, contrasted with three which have not worked out so well and a takeaway lesson from each.

Background

It’s easy to find examples of social media posts which have really taken off. There are many lists of these, and they all seem to include ‘Don’t dunk in the dark’.

But these examples are typically one-offs. What worked for that brand in that instance is highly unlikely to work for your brand today.

Additionally, such examples don’t help with the day-to-day social media postings. Most brands have guidelines about what type of content should be posted and, hopefully, few say ‘post something viral’.

So, instead, it’s more interesting to look at brands that:

  • Have a large audience.
  • Post regularly.
  • Rotate content.

Then, have a look at the brand’s posts. Compare ones which have a lot of likes, shares, and comments with those which do not, and try to draw some lessons from them.

And it’s not hard to do. Anyone can do this analysis just by surfing brands on Facebook.

To make it a bit easier, though, I used the paid version of Socialbakers which makes it easy to find brands which are active on social media and then neatly organises social media engagement data.

Why Asia-Pacific travel sites?

In theory we could use this method across any brand, in any country, but it’s sensible to focus on a particular industry and region.

The reason is that brands in the same sector are trying to attract the same audience, so it should be possible to see some similarities and elicit trends.

The lessons

1. Share the fantasy, not the reality

Headquartered in Singapore, COMO Hotels and Resorts offers ‘handcrafted hotels and luxury travel experiences designed just for you’.

The company website is stunning and you almost couldn’t invent a brand more suitable for social media.

So what can we learn from the brand’s posts?

The posts with a lot of likes and shares show off the fantasy of the COMO Hotels and resorts.

They capture scenes of the brand’s properties which people do not see every day and receive comments such as ‘I don’t know where this is but let’s go there’.

High-performing

Those with fewer shares and no comments are still beautiful pictures, but less popular posts are about things which people encounter frequently in their everyday life.

They show thingss like food, restaurants, and pretty, yet unremarkable, views.

Lower-performing

The lesson?  If you got it, flaunt it. Don’t waste your posts on pictures of everyday things.

2. Highlight what makes you unique

Resorts World Genting is a resort in Malaysia which targets a budget-conscious traveller.

Though the brand doesn’t have the drop-dead gorgeous scenery of COMO to draw on, its marketers post regularly and the posts have a wide variety of engagement.

Through looking at the brand’s posts, it is clear that those which highlight unique aspects of Resorts World Genting do well.

Its audience seems to enjoy reminiscing via social media about things which they cannot experience elsewhere.

High-performing

Posts which perform poorly feature things which are easily available elsewhere and do not draw on the unique personality of the brand.

Lower-performing

The lesson? You don’t have to be fancy to be shareable on social media, just unique.

You have to emphasize what distinguishes your brand from all the others on social media.

3. Be different, but pleasant. Avoid disturbing, shocking, or disgusting topics.

TravelBook.ph is a Philippines travel site run as a joint venture by a number of large conglomerates in Asia.

The brand marketers post regularly on social media about a variety of travel-related subjects.

Many of the general travel posts do okay, but the posts which get the most likes and shares link to original content about places to visit in the Philippines.

High-performing

Occasionally the marketers will shake things up a bit and post something a bit more challenging.

Posts which are about unpleasant topics tend to perform much worse.

Lower-performing

One example of a recent post which performed poorly was about balut. Balut is a Philippine delicacy which consists of a developing bird embryo still in the eggshell.

It’s hard to think of anyone who would appreciate such a photo on their timeline.

Other more challenging posts may have their place, of course. But when engagement is the main criteria, keeping the subject of your posts pleasant is the way to go.

The lesson? Be unique, for sure, but also try to fit in with what people want to see in a social media newsfeed.

So…

So the main social media lessons from Asia-Pacific travel sites are that posts on Facebook which are attractive, pleasant and emphasize what makes your brand unique will deliver the highest level of engagement.

All of this makes sense, yet it is surprising to see how many brands don’t adhere to these rules and have reduced engagement as a result.

Low social media engagement is discouraging for the team and also means that more posts will be required to get your audience’s attention.

Without doing this sort of analysis (i.e. finding what types of post are successful and doing those types of posts more often) marketers will be making an already hard job, harder.