9 ways to guarantee a winning social campaign

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Business: 69 percent compared apples with apples

Everybody goes to conferences and a must-do is to find out how your efforts compare with others. That's a wonderful thing to do provided there's a level playing field. You may be comparing the 0-60 mph accelerations of a Ford F150 pickup and a Lamborghini. Easy, the Lamborghini wins. But if you compare carrying capacities or even mpg, the pickup wins.

Comparing your efforts to another company's without having all the details is a loser's game unless both businesses are using the same "out of the box" campaigns, and less than 0.5 percent of the businesses monitored were successful with out of the box solutions. These are not good odds. It's not that all the top scorers had custom designed efforts; it is that all of them customized their efforts according to their needs, goals, timelines, and budgets.

While everybody compared their results to their peers, 69 percent of the top performers worked to keep their eyes on the prize, and it paid off handsomely.

Social: 79 percent recognized that the bad was good

Red Skelton said, "I might as well love my enemies. After all, I made 'em." This philosophy held true in more than three-quarters of the most productive social efforts; let your detractors have their say, even if it's on your property.

There's a reason to this madness. People who share negatives on your site are doing it where you can see it and easily address it. The rest of your audience will see you responding and being proactive toward your detractors. This wins lots of points, especially among the undecided. You might even win over some of your detractors.

There have been several studies demonstrating that sites with only glowing comments lead to fewer conversions than sites with a mix of positive and negative comments. As in cooking, if you want something to taste sweet, add a pinch of salt.

How many pro and con comments are enough? The most successful efforts had a ratio of 4.6:1 pro to con. That ratio only considers the number of UGC. It doesn't consider size, author, audience, or any other factors.