This Is How We Do It: Untangling Patterns of Super Successful Social Media Activities

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10913)


Online social media plays an important role in the marketing communications mix of many companies. Thus, scholars have recently tried to uncover patterns that have a positive impact on the effectiveness of social media communication, predominantly focusing on message characteristics. Although a lot of valuable insights have been generated, it remains unclear what the drivers of ‘super successful posts’ (SSP) are. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to reveal why a very small proportion of social media posts significantly outperform the majority of other posts. For this purpose, we employed case evidence from the automotive industry and collected 2,000 Facebook posts. In regard to the numbers of likes, comments, and shares, the 20 most successful posts each were selected. After removing the duplicates, a final sample of 42 SSP remained. With an explorative multi-level approach, including two focus group sessions, an in-depth analysis was conducted for every post. Aiming to capture a comprehensive picture, we also investigated the context of each post beyond the online environment. With our analysis, we reveal five typical patterns of social media excellence (co-branding, wow effect, cognitive task, timing, and campaign). In addition, we further elaborate on four selected SSP to enhance the understanding of underlying mechanisms. Among other things, our findings encourage practitioners to employ a broader view when planning social media posts. Thus, the understanding about the five patterns of SSP may support practitioners in enhancing the popularity of their future posts.


Social media Social networking site Facebook Social media posts Marketing communications Social media excellence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergNürnbergGermany

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