How to build your social media recipe

By Tim Priebe on September 22, 2015

By Tim Priebe on September 22, 2015

Frustrated with the effectiveness of your organization’s social media presence? I’m going to share with you the method we use at T&S for both ourselves and our clients to determine the right recipe for social media.

The Problem

You probably don’t do this, but many organizations treat social media like an online billboard. The point of social media isn’t to advertise, it’s to have conversations and add value.

When talking about the right recipe for your online marketing, I like to use the acronym P.I.E.

  • P – Promotional
  • I – Informational
  • E – Entertaining

If your content is about you or your organization, it’s Promotional. Doesn’t matter if it’s information, it’s still promotional.

If it’s information that can help your target market, it’s Informational. This may be content you created. The key to informational content? On its own it should be helpful, whether your reader buys from you or not.

If the information is just for fun, or for inspiration, it’s Entertaining. Entertaining content is okay for just about any organization, though you should always practice moderation.

The mixture of those three categories differs from organization to organization. For some, it’s okay to have much more Entertaining content than others. Others will be much more heavy on the Informational.

The key mistake to avoid? Don’t have too much P in your P.I.E. That’s gross. Too much promotional content will turn your audience off.

Your Ingredients

While longer form content like blogs, ebooks, and other articles will have some mixture of all three, social media updates can usually be individually categorized.

Here are some of the types of content (or ingredients) in each category we use for ourselves and clients, and that you could use for your organization. Note that many of these should actually be a link to the item mentioned, with a brief enticing description. And they all need to be relevant to your ideal audience member.


  • Upcoming events
  • Specific products or services
  • Sign up for your email newsletter
  • Another social media platform you’re on
  • Mention strategic partners or nonprofits
  • Your website
  • What others have said about you
  • Awards you’ve won
  • New clients or staff


  • Blog articles you wrote
  • Blog articles by others
  • Videos by you
  • Videos by others
  • Short facts
  • Studies
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks
  • Industry news


  • Quotes by famous people
  • Quotes by staff, strategic partners, or clients
  • Jokes
  • Photos from around the office
  • Older photos of your team or workplace
  • Major holidays (or weird ones)
  • Birthdays

Of course, depending on your organization, not all of those may apply. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, you might want to grab a copy of my book, 102 Tweets.

(See, that was me with a tiny bit of Promotional content in a mostly Informational blog article.)

Prepping Your Recipe

So how do you actually implement all this?

We like to use Hootsuite for our pre-planned social media. And to do so, we create a spreadsheet of an entire month’s worth of social media updates, and upload that. While we do supplement that with more spontaneous content as well, that helps us stay consistent.

Hootsuite tells you to include three columns in your spreadsheet:

  1. Date and Time
  2. Message
  3. URL

We include which type of content it is in a fourth column. So a few rows might look like this for us:

30/10/2015 07:15It can be frustrating to write how you speak. Read this shortcut to doing so.
30/10/2015 14:15Paperback books: Still a thing. Get 102 Tweets in paperback or on Kindle.
31/10/2015 07:05Keywords aren’t only for website search engine optimization. Read more uses of all that data here! party article
31/10/2015 14:05“It’s not marketing until it leaves the building.” – Andrew Lock

We fill in the date and time first, then the content type, and then we determine the text and link. This allows us to evenly spread our various ingredients (types of updates) throughout the month.

Take Action!

Of course, you don’t have to be a Hootsuite user to take advantage of this method. The same basic spreadsheet can work for planning even if you aren’t going to be scheduling your content ahead of time.

Steal from our list, or come up with your own type of ingredients for your social media. Then create your list of updates for the next month.

By using a variety of ingredients for your social media recipe, you can be sure you’re providing value on an ongoing basis, and moving people through the Know, Like, and Trust process. That’s something you can’t do if you have to much P in your P.I.E.

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