The 4 “P”s of social media

social media service
There may not be scientific research behind my 4 “P”s of social media, but after six years of looking after various small business and corporate social media accounts, I can speak from practical, hands on experience and share what has performed well on my social media channels.

The evolution of the 4 “P”s

I had an epiphany when I was working with a client, John*, the other day. We were going through our content plan and scheduling and I needed a few things from him. We had built in some elements to the plan to share in addition to his key messages, such as photos of teammates and events.

Half jokingly I wrote ‘and if you can work in an angle to use a puppy photo, that would even be better.’ I say half jokingly, because one of our Businessary social media posts was from our ‘work from home with puppy day’ at my colleague Lauren’s house, and the post went BALLISTIC.

I mean, just look at that face. Big thanks to model and Golden Retriever ‘Fasa’ and his family for the social boost. That got me thinking about the social media posts that have performed well across a range of our clients, and from that, most can be distilled into roughly four categories of high performing posts.

Read on for the remaining three “P”s (I’m assuming you may have already guessed that one of them was ‘Puppies’, but more on that again shortly) and some examples to demonstrate what has worked and why I think it’s working.


First and probably most importantly, posts about people! Your people, your clients, even your family.

Think about the posts that you like to see – well, at least for me I love seeing friends, family and teammates in the photos. Preferably not in a super-staged type of photo, but more in a natural setting or in action (interacting at a conference).

I went through some of our higher performing posts and one of them that stood out was in the early days of when I joined Businessary, when Managing Director Annabel Rees and I attended a Salesforce Conference (note: we use Salesforce IQ and I think it ROCKS.)

Here’s the post ( I’m the one on the left, hello!)

Why do I think this one worked well? Here may be a few reasons:

  • Firstly, who doesn’t love a photobooth?! They always make for more relaxed and fun photos I think.
  • New role – I had just started with Businessary so friends and colleagues may have missed my LinkedIn title change and cottoned on to the news for the first time or were just being lovely and sending their best wishes.
  • New business – at this time Businessary was only just over one year old. Friends, family and colleagues in the business have been so supportive and one of the easy (and free!) ways you can support a start-up business is to like and share its social media posts. We’re lucky to have a number of friends and clients that understand the challenges of a new business so they’re happy to lend us a ‘like’ when we’re up to interesting things.
  • We tagged in the big dogs – tagging the relevant organisations and events does wonders! In this case the social media guns behind Salesforce liked/shared/retweeted our posts across all their channels! It’s a win all around.

If there’s any advice I can give around posting your people on social media, it’s simple: make it real, make it natural, get their permission and TAG them in!


Lauren McCleery (left) and Melissa Montang (right, hi, me again!) at the 2016 NIBAcon…or niBACON as I like to think of it.

The idea is not limited to just puns, but they are one of my favourite dorky forms of online humour, even for business posts (within reason and as long as it’s not offensive).

This particular gem was during the 2016 NIBA Convention (so again some key network and location tagging). It may or may not have been after a few cheeky wines at the event the evening before (curse my socially excited personality and occasional party eyes!) and all I wanted in the world was bacon. You know the only place I found it? In the dang convention hashtag #2016NIBAcon

So we went for it, and you know what? People enjoyed laughing at my pain. Or the joke. I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that there’s something about bacon that is inherently funny. And humour is a solid strategy for your social media.

So if you’ve got a dad-joke expert or a meme-generator-extraordinaire, let them loose**!

I’ve found that if you’re ACTUALLY funny (even if it’s ‘groanworthy’ funny), you’re more likely to get shared by people that don’t personally know you but are happy to give their network of friends a little morning laugh. One of my favourites is George Takei – I follow him on Facebook and can be assured of a decent pun-a-day (today’s morning message on the plight of honeybees ‘make this issue your bees’ness’ <3).

“But I’m not funny!” you say? Never fear – I like to think I’m witty (shush, I know that’s subjective) but even clever cats get a case of writer’s block sometimes. I personally think everyone has their own brand of humour, but I bet you KNOW someone who is funny. So just give them the context and ask for some suggestions. Or else it’s also quite fun and interactive to put up a photo and let your followers ‘caption this’ (if you’re brave and if you are on hand to delete things just in case someone finds ‘the line’ and dashes across it with their post).

Good luck and happy LOLs to you!


As you may have noticed in the intro with the photo of dear Fasa the Golden Retriever, puppies are ADORABLE. But I think there’s a few reasons why they can work well in social media. Firstly, common ground – I honestly only know one person who is not a puppy person…but does such a good job of being diplomatic and appreciative when we all make her look at our puppy/kitty/pony photos, like I try to be when people show me baby photos (oh I know, I shouldn’t admit online and in writing that I like puppy photos more than baby photos but at least 90% of the time it’s true). So aside from M2, most people that I know like (and hit ‘like’) for puppy photos. Actually, our friend M2 even liked our puppy photo on Instagram #goodfriend #selflesslikes

But in all seriousness, I would argue that the photo is also in line with our brand values and what we stand for. We’re a progressive business, we value our friendship with our colleagues, we value work/life balance and flexibility (haha, ‘peternity’ day) and having fun. A puppy isn’t a bad way to demonstrate that, especially since the puppy is an honorary part of the business now (aww, a Businessary fur-friend), so it’s not just any puppy. Having said that, I have never tried just using ‘random puppy image I got from Google’ before, so if you ever do and it works, let me know.


The fourth and final “P” is probably just a good one to summarise the other three above: personality. The success of our social media, and that of our clients, relies on knowing and being true to the brand personality and the character of the business.

We’ve worked hard to understand what we want the ‘voice’ of our business to be, and to consistently maintain that voice. This shouldn’t be something be done by one person unilaterally within the business. It’s not just up to your CEO or MD, or your Marketing Manager to create the voice and brand personality of your business – it’s a summation of your people and your purpose and should therefore be the result of a wide range of input and collaboration. In our case we had our team and even ‘friends of Businessary’ that helped us define who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.

There are some businesses that need to have a more gravitas and serious voice, which requires a different approach for social media (indeed likely a different selection of social media channels as well – I don’t necessarily think all businesses need to be active on all platforms). For those businesses (and for ours as well), the most important component to social media success is sharing important, relevant and informative content that will be useful to your followers’ businesses.

Take your 4 “P”s of social media and get posting!

So summing it up, take some time to think through the personality of your brand and create a content management plan and schedule that reflects that personality. And feel free to pepper in posts about your people, add some puns and when all else fails, maybe a picture of a puppy.

*That is his real name. Thanks to John Manserra at Hillross FP for the blog inspiration!

**Note: Occasionally. Like every other Thursday and public holidays.