As you continue to hone your social media strategy, you will soon discover that there is no secret to being successful 100 percent of the time (we wish it were that easy). But with time and experience you will find that certain practices tend to work well, while others do not. So yes, we do have a few basic rules of social media marketing that we can share with you. Perhaps the most important is the 80/20 rule.
What is the 80/20 Rule for Social Media?
The concept of the 80/20 rule is simple: 80 percent of your social media activity should be geared toward providing something to your audience. The other 20 percent can be devoted to promoting yourself or your business.
Why is the 80/20 Rule Important?
Think about why people use social media. Think about your own social media habits, likes, and dislikes. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today, I hope lots of businesses advertise stuff to me”. If that were the case, we could thrill our audiences by providing a constant stream of advertisements and self-promotional pitches. But that’s not the reality in which we live.
People do wake up and say, “I need to solve this problem soon… I’m interested in learning more about this topic… I’m feeling bored and could use some light-hearted entertainment… I’m feeling lonely and would like to connect with someone”. Those are some of the primary motivations for going online and participating in social media.
Essentially, you want to give your audience what they seek (connection, entertainment, information, and solutions for their problems). Doing this will help you gain and keep their attention, and help you build a relationship. The relationship part is important: a recent report by Sprout Social found that 64 percent of consumers want brands to connect with them, and 76 percent are more likely to buy from a brand with which they have connected on social media. Similar results are consistently demonstrated in other studies. Buying from those we know appears to be a part of human nature.
And, to be blunt, constant self-promotion can come off as cheesy at best, or pushy and obnoxious at worst. When you follow the 80/20 rule, you focus on building relationships through positive interactions, and avoid turning off your audience.
How Do You Implement the 80/20 Rule?
First, ask yourself what your target audience wants from you. For example,if you’re a financial advisor, they seek information on retirement or news about Social Security. If you’re a realtor, they’re looking for updates on the local housing market, how-to guides on getting a mortgage, and so on. Of course, everyone also enjoys a bit of humor and personal connection from time to time. Simply devote 80 percent of your posting activity to providing these things to your audience.
For the other 20 percent, you can publish promotional posts. You might provide information on a sale, invite your followers to a special event, ask them to participate in a free trial, or simply update them on your business accomplishments. Since you’ve spent time building a relationship through positive interactions, you’ve “earned” the ability to ask for something in return.
Continue to Experiment and Adjust Your Strategy.
Like any other social media marketing practice, the 80/20 rule is just a general guide. Continue to experiment with content, identify audience reactions, analyze the results of your posts, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
For more information on how you can use the 80/20 rule to grow relationships with your target audience, give us a call. Once we learn a bit more about your business, we can make specific recommendations to help you succeed.