If you’re trying to figure out how to find your most successful social media posts, your head is in the right place.
Because marketers today are expected ever to create content that grabs their audiences’ attention.
Creating attention-grabbing content starts by understanding which of your posts drive the most engagement. This ultimately makes your life easier as a marketer as you figure out which types of content to create and recreate.
Likewise, digging into your top-performing posts makes you more accountable to your clients and colleagues. The most recent Sprout Social Index notes that the majority of marketers are expected to regularly discuss the results of their social presence with their bosses.
So, where do you start? Below we’ve highlighted how to find your most successful social media posts, broken down by platform.
What makes a post “successful,” though?
Before we dive into specific platforms, we should note that defining “success” isn’t one-size-fits-all.
As noted in our guide to social media trends, marketers rely on a variety of engagement metrics to figure out which posts are their top-performers. Whether you’re totally new to analytics or just need a quick refresher, here are some key metrics to help you determine your most successful social media posts.
Sure, “Likes” are often considered a vanity metric that doesn’t mean much in terms of your overall social media ROI. That said, posts that score rack up “Likes” represent pieces of content that your audience enjoys at a glance. The more Likes, the better.
Comments and replies
With so much competition in the social space, engaging with any sort of dialogue with your audience can be a challenge. Looking at comments and replies, you can figure out which messages actually compel your customers to strike up a conversation.
There’s less than one month left until #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons arrives! What’s the first thing you’re planning to do on your island getaway?
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 23, 2020
Shares and hashtags
Shares (including hashtag shares) signal that your content was not only meaningful to your followers but also worth getting in front of others. Highly shared posts and hashtags can clue you in on ways to expand your audience beyond your current base.
Impressions and reach
Some brands are laser-focused on getting as many eyes on their social profiles as possible. Looking at your impressions and reach, you can figure out which messages are spreading the word. Although, be sure you know how to properly define impressions and reach, especially when explaining your metrics to managers or higher up the hierarchy.
If you’re interested in building a social media marketing funnel, tracking link clicks is crucial. Doing so allows you to attribute everything from web traffic to purchases to specific social networks and posts.
Sometimes considered a vanity metric, new followers signal that you’re actively growing your audience. If you have a post that results in a flurry of fresh followers, you should be able to break down its messaging and why it was so compelling.
With an understanding of these metrics and why they matter, you can start looking into how to find your most successful social media posts by platform.
Facebook is known for its robust (and sometimes overwhelming) analytics platform
Through Page Insights, you can zero in on a big-picture summary of your presence and likewise look at a list of posts that scored the most engagement. Selecting a certain timeframe (think: last week, last month), the platform breaks down the reach, engagement and content type of any given post organized line-by-line.
Beyond native analytics on Facebook, Sprout’s platform can quickly provide answers to anyone asking “Where’s my most-liked Facebook post?” Not only does Sprout highlight top-performing content and engagement metrics, but also a breakdown of which content types (video, photo) are performing the best.
Figuring out how to find your most popular tweets is actually a cinch through Twitter Analytics.
The platform actually puts your “Top Tweet” front and center next to your account metrics. In addition, the platform summarizes your impressions, mentions and other engagement metrics over the last 28 days.
The beauty of Sprout’s platform for finding your best tweets is that you can drill down into specific days to see which messages scored the most engagement. Also, you can see which types of interactions (replies, retweets) occurred.
Although Twitter’s platform provides some of these metrics natively, they don’t spell ’em out as clearly as Sprout. Also, Sprout is capable of showcasing data that is beyond a month old.
“Where are my most-liked Instagram photos?”
Assuming you have an Instagram Business Profile, you can quickly identify your best photos without having to tap through them one-by-one.
On your business account, click the three lines in the upper-righthand corner and check out your “Insights.” The “Content” tab allows you to filter your top-ranking posts by metrics including impressions, reach, engagement and more.
Sprout can do the same, only with the added bonus of ranking your top-performing content automatically and sorting your posts side-by-side via “Lifetime Engagements.” If you want to know what’s working on Instagram, this easy-to-read report has the answers.
With LinkedIn Page admin, you can access your individual post data by clicking on the “Show stats” tab of any given post.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn’s native platform also provides a list of updates and impressions, clicks and other interactions. Each post is also assigned an engagement rate, the ratio of impressions to actions taken by users.
No big surprises here. Like Facebook, Pinterest’s platform provides a day-by-day analysis of content performance coupled with individual post metrics. These are sorted automatically by impressions from the previous 30 days.
Sprout’s Pinterest analytics allow you to look at your performance via audience growth and individual pin performance data. In the “Pins” tab, you can look at specific posts to see which ones are moving the needle by the numbers.
Finally, we need to talk about TikTok.
Although the platform might exactly seem like a priority in terms of analytics, note that we’re seeing more and more brands on TikTok as of late. The platform isn’t going anywhere, signaling the need for brands to understand what “success” looks like on TikTok, too.
As of March 2020, TikTok provides a detailed analytics dashboard for Pro accounts. At a glance, you can see engagement metrics for specific posts within the “Content” tab. This view is very similar to Instagram’s Content Insights platform.
How to keep track of your most successful media social posts
Let’s say you’ve honed in on your top-performing posts for the platforms you’re active on.
Awesome! Now what? Here are some next steps to consider.
Take notes on your successful posts
Start with some analysis. We recommend organizing and writing out the details of your most successful content.
This isn’t just for your benefit: doing so also makes it easier to report your findings to managers and colleagues if necessary.
Below is a quick template you can use to track your best social posts:
- Post URL: a link to the post being recognized
- Metric #1: # related to your priority KPI (clicks, impressions, “Likes,” etc)
- Metric #2 # related to a secondary KPI (shares, comments, etc)
- Campaign: which bigger campaign is this post part of (think: influencer campaign, summer 2020 campaign, holiday sale, etc)
- Notes: specific details about the post in question, how it compares to your other pieces of content, etc
The goal here is not only to recognize top-performing content but also to find common threads between your best posts. For example, here are some points to consider while you’re taking notes:
- What is the format of the post (photo, video, text-based)?
- What do the captions and headlines look like? Longer or on the shorter, minimalist side?
- Which call-to-action phrases are you using?
- Which landing pages are you sending visitors to?
- Is the post in line with your existing content or an outlier (think: totally different from what you’d normally post)?
With these notes handy, you can start refining your content strategy based on what’s proven to work.
Put together social reports that highlight your success
Lastly, it’s crucial to track and identify your most successful posts through reporting.
With Sprout Social’s analytics, you can quickly spot your top content across all platforms, both in aggregate and by individual platform. Additionally, you can see how that content stacks up against each other.
Then, with a bird’s eye view of all of your posts, you can figure out which networks are your top priorities and also change strategy for underperforming channels.
Looking at these reports regularly, you can point to the exact types of content you should be creating without second-guessing.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Do you know how to find your most successful social media posts?
Having a pulse on your best posts is a must-do for marketers and brands alike. By regularly auditing your content, you can improve and optimize your social posts for the long-term.
If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Sprout’s full suite of engagement and performance analytics with a free trial. Get a glimpse of how Sprout can help you recognize your top performing posts and succeed on each platform.
But we still want to hear from you! What do you think defines your most successful posts on social media? How do you pick them out? Let us know in the comments below.