Podcasts, Unscripted

Seneca Media Unscripted: The Secret Success Formula to #Winning Social Media ft. Dani Gagnon



It’s an Instagram world and we’re all just living in it, or at least that’s what it feels like sometimes. Whether you’re in a band or an artist looking to share their work, social media is the way to get it done. But as most people quickly discover, it’s not that simple. There is so much content out there, but a lack of understanding on how to get yours seen. There is always a bit of a struggle when starting out. Most will begin by just posting anything, others spend far too long trying to get the perfect post out. So, is there a balance between these approaches. Is there a success formula to getting social media right?

There may just be.

On this episode of Seneca Media Unscripted, we sat down with Seneca College prof and Digital Marketing mastermind Dani Gagnon. Through focus and attention to detail, she has cracked the social media code and figured out the hacks to increase the reach of the content you put out into cyberspace.

When Dani started her own digital marketing firm there weren’t very many other businesses like it because everyone else was still doing a lot of print work. She made a point to focus hers on social media marketing strategies. As word got out about the services her firm offered and social media grew in popularity, a lot of the businesses in her area started reaching out to her to help with their social media presence. With a knack for understanding social media patterns and coming up with creative content ideas, Dani maintains a steady flow of work with big companies in the Toronto area, working on various campaigns for them.

An artist herself, Dani shared the secret sauce to help artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives of any kind get their content seen. It’s all about working with the algorithm instead of against it, understanding exactly who your audience is, and strategically promoting posts for real results. Below are a round-up of some of the burning questions you’ve probably had and the solutions no one has told you.

When it comes to your content always think – who would be interesting in seeing this?

  • If you create content for a certain fanbase, then when you’re pushing it out you have to make sure you’re reaching the audience you intended it for.
  • Dani illustrates this with a scenario where you plan to put out a cover of a Tegan and Sara song
    • First, look up Tegan and Sara on Instagram, go to their account, check out their most recent post and follow the people that have commented on it.
    • Then, go to #TeganandSara and like people’s photos and leave genuine comments.
    • Interact as much as possible so that when you actually post your cover, you can promote it and boost it to people who like Tegan and Sara. The engagement will flow organically because of the interactions you did leading up to the post.

What’s the deal with hashtags these days?

    • Hashtags are all about jumping onboard already relevant conversations or trying to kick off a conversation that is
      going to be relevant.
    • The only time hashtags are really useful is when you know you can get top post (on Instagram).
    •  How can you get top post within a hashtag?
      • Check the hashtag and see what the top post is and how many likes it got
      • If you boost a post with that hashtag, in some cases, you can trick it into getting top post because the boost gets you the likes needed to do so
      • If you use really generic hashtags like #tbt, it’s not going to happen
      • The Tegan and Sara scenario mentioned above is a good example of how to get the most out of a boosted post and get top post in a hashtag

How do you target a promoted post properly to get the biggest ROI?

  • Know what your audience is interested in and use that in the targeting
    • If a brand wants to reach a demographic between 16-22, they might target to people who like Drake or Taylor Swift
    • If it’s a TV show, target to people who have shown interest in TV shows from the same genre (i.e. a new crime show, would target people who have shown interest in other crime shows)
    • If your target is people with a higher income, think of the places those people might shop and target based on that (i.e. if they shop at Whole Foods or Holt Renfrew that’s an indication they might be in your target demographic)
    • A face cream brand, might target young women who are watching the new Sabrina show on Netflix because their product is geared towards young women
    • It’s all about knowing your audience’s interests and predicting their behaviour
  • Creating marketing personas can help with the targeting process
    • A marketing persona is basically a character you create that is a potential customer/consumer based on what your product/content provides
    • Give them a name. Where do they live? What do they do? How old are they? Are they single? Do they have pets? What
      do they do on the weekend? What are their hobbies?
    • You should create at least 10 different ones for one brand
    • This helps because every time you create a piece of content, even though you might like it, you have to make sure that it would be good for at least one of your marketing personas, otherwise you shouldn’t post it because that means it’s self-motivated
    • If you know which persona a certain post would be good for, then you know what kind of tone to use and you can push it towards that persona using a promotion that targets the characteristics of the persona
  • Boost internationally
    • You get a way higher return on your investment because the potential reach is bigger and it’s all about ratios

What’s the minimum to start spending on promoting posts?

  • Dani’s legendary $1 a day forumla!
  • If you put $1 on a post and it says you’ll reach 100 people, you’d assume that putting $10 on a post will reach 1000 people but you don’t- you hit 800. If you put $100 in, you’ll probably only reach 7000.
  • Every time you add more money, you actually get punished for getting it further out in a shorter amount of time
  • The algorithm is set up this way so that big corporate companies can’t come and use their huge budgets to reach an entire target demographic. They can’t come in and reach everyone in a day
  • If you want to spend the $10, but still reach the 1000 people instead of 800 here’s what you do
  • If you spend $1 per day, manually, you’ll reach 100 people per day and after 10 days you’ll reach 1000 total
  • This also helps increase the relevancy score of your posts (when Facebook or Instagram see your post getting attention, it shows them that you’ve posted something relevant and they reward that)
  • Having a good relevancy score also helps increase the reach so you could get even better results out of that $1 as your relevancy score goes up each day

Social media can be difficult to navigate, even if you’re a young millennial that has grown up with it. You may know the basics of adding filters, using hashtags and location tagging to boost your personal posts. However, using it professionally is a whole other ball park. Even we – the Seneca Media team were blown away by the ingenuity of Dani’s advice. It’s inexpensive and easy to apply and requires only a little thinking outside the box. We know we’re going to apply ALL the tactics mentioned in the upcoming year!