6 Lessons From Hootsuite’s Top Social Posts of 2017

Social Media


At Hootsuite, we’ve published hundreds of blog posts and crafted thousands of social posts. Some work wonderfully. Others fail miserably. Today, I’d like to skip over the mountains of mistakes we’ve made in the past and focus on Hootsuite’s most successful social posts of 2017.

Stick around and you’ll find out more about:

  • Our top-performing social posts of 2017 and what we learned from them
  • Successful examples of Facebook video, LinkedIn, and Instagram content
  • Why the internet loves to laugh at my face on LinkedIn (a true story, I’m afraid)

Let’s jump into what worked in 2017.

Our top-performing Facebook video:

Our top-performing social video of 2017 was a listicle of TED Talks for social marketers. This video was based on a successful blog post (written by Hootsuite’s Dara Fontein).

How it performed:

Video views: 132k
Shares: 1,051
Link clicks: 2,551
Comments: 353
Likes: 2,402

Why did it work?

If you look at the copy in the social post, you’ll notice a very clear promise to the reader: we did work so you don’t have to.

This value proposition—“we spent 10 hrs hunting down the best TED Talks for social media marketers (so you don’t have to)”—came from Dara’s original blog post. It’s a good reminder that the content format doesn’t really matter. It’s more important to have a compelling concept and simple story that can be told across multiple platforms—whether text or video.

In terms of promotion, we invested a bit of paid budget. “Our secret here,” explains Hootsuite’s social marketing lead Amanda Wood, “was targeting the ads to people who are interested in TED Talks and social marketing. This helped us gain traction with a specific audience who would appreciate the value of the video.”

How we’ve replicated this success:

As we saw success with the TED angle, we created a similar social video called “3 TED Talks to Boost Your Creativity.” It wasn’t as successful. Guess you can’t win them all.

We also use Hootsuite’s social video integrations—including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram—to schedule successful video content again and again. This feature is included in all our plans including for free users.

Our top-performing Facebook post:

Screenshot of Facebook post featuring an article on Instagram Hacks

Instagram is a fast-evolving network with an endless amount of new features. And we know that our audience of social media professionals need to keep up with these changes.

In this Facebook post, our goal was to use curiosity to attract readers to our blog post, enticing the reader to make sure they know all of these helpful tricks.

How it performed:
Link clicks: 14,194
Likes: 1,656
Shares: 477
Comments: 45

Why did it work?

If you look closely at the metrics above, you’ll notice that this copy was incredibly successful at driving one particular metric: link clicks. This is the holy grail for promoting blog post content on Facebook as you obviously want people to click through to the post, not just comment or share.

“This was very much intentional,” explains Wood. “The copy specifically called out a specific audience—people who run a brand’s Instagram account. We knew they’d click through as they want to make sure they are up-to-date on Instagram’s hidden tricks and new features.”

As a side note, if you’re wondering how we gather data about our social media performance, we use our own solution Hootsuite Impact. With Hootsuite Impact, it’s pretty easy to gather data on different content formats (like video or paid posts), quickly create reports, and simplify UTM tracking.

How we’ve replicated this success:

Love them or hate them, the concept of “hacks” work. We’ve used the “hacks” format for other social networks with similar results. It’s easy to hate on these types of posts—but the reality is that our minds enjoy the pull of curiosity.

Our top-performing Instagram post:

Screenshot of an Instagram post featuring a puppy asleep at a desk | Hootsuite Blog

As my first creative director used to scream at me, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. James, the secret to success in advertising is DOGS, DOGS, DOGS.”

Our top-performing Instagram post of the year included—as you’ve likely guessed—a dog. Hootsuite, of course, is a dog-friendly workplace. Posts like these are part of our Instagram strategy—sharing customer stories and glimpses of our workplace culture. Though, we didn’t expect a simple photo of a dog to do so well.

How it performed:

Likes: 1,033
Comments: 32

Why did it work?

I think we’ve covered this.

How we’ve replicated this success:

When Instagram content performs well, we reschedule it. By the way, you can now schedule Instagram posts directly from Hootsuite. No workarounds. Just click and schedule from your dashboard. This feature is included in all plans including our free plan.

Our top-performing Instagram Story:

Instagram Story of a live event at Hootsuite | Hootsuite Blog Instagram Story of kombucha bottles at live event | Hootsuite Blog

As I mentioned, we use Instagram to share customer stories, build our employer brand, and share education with customers.

Our top Instagram Story for the year was pretty simple: a behind-the-scenes look at one of our customer and industry events held by our advocacy team.

How it performed:

Opening views: 3,179

Why did it work?

Instagram and live events are a powerful combination. This Instagram Story was widely shared by attendees, helping to share a few tips about measurement and ROI strategies with our broader Instagram audience.

How we’ve replicated this success:

“This event was on Social ROI, a topic that we knew would resonate with our audience as we’ve seen high engagement in 2017 on this topic,” says Wood. “It’s a good example of social data being used to inform event strategies and an example of how all of our content—whether Facebook Live, social videos, social posts, blog content—tends to always be replicated and extended into many different formats throughout the year.”

Our top-performing LinkedIn post:

LinkedIn post on LinkedIn Etiquette Fails featuring a man with a funny expression | Hootsuite Blog

In our final post—a successful blog article about LinkedIn etiquette tips—I am faced with the rather odd professional job of explaining why the internet loves to laugh at my face.

As you can see above (or from the comments on the post), it is the photograph that helped to make this one of our most successful LinkedIn posts of the year. The good news is that this photograph worked, bringing lots of engagement every time we share this post.

The bad news is that photograph is of me. As I wrote the article, I sent our social team a picture of myself looking like an off-balanced professional—or, as one commenter on Facebook put it, “like looking into the eyes of Satan himself.”

How it performed:

Link clicks: 15,337
Shares: 65
Comments: 13
Likes: 365

Why did it work?

Apart from me nailing the look of a workplace weirdo, the copy also uses a sense of urgency to make sure you’re not making one of these mistakes.

“From spammy salespeople to clueless networkers, everyone has experienced some form of questionable etiquette on LinkedIn,” says Wood. “It’s a hilarious photo and universal fear of people—that they’re making a mistake that might be embarrassing in a professional context.”

How we’ve replicated this success:

As I covered in our Social Trends 2018 webinar, we’ve seen LinkedIn evolve their social features. This means that LinkedIn offers a bigger platform of content beyond white papers or your standard career advice posts.

We’re looking for more ways to balance this humor and emotional-style content on LinkedIn, while also making sure we’re delivering practical things that help people do their job better.

Our social toolbox:

If you’re interested, here are a few tools that Hootsuite’s social team uses to manage our campaigns and report on ROI.

Scheduling Instagram content: As mentioned, we use Hootsuite to schedule Instagram content. It’s a feature of all of our plans, including free. Schedule your first Instagram post here.

Hootsuite Impact: we use this solution to track UTMs, gather data about content performance, and measure the revenue impact of our content. As you can see below, it’s easy to analyze different content formats including video, text, photos, and paid social. Learn more about Hootsuite Impact here.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's Social Media Dashboard with top posts and metrics | Hootsuite Blog

AdEspresso by Hootsuite: this tool helps us easily optimize and test different Facebook ad formats. It’s an amazing product—and now, the AdEspresso team works at Hootsuite, so we’ve been able to learn a ton about paid social from them. Learn more about our tool (and download some helpful paid social resources) here.

Social video integrations: we schedule and manage our Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter videos using our native video tools. This feature is also included in all of our plans, including free. Use our video tools here.

Connect with your audience using Hootsuite. Easily manage your social channels and engage followers across networks from a single dashboard. Try it free today.

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