Social media

Social Media’s Oft Forgotten 80/20 Rule Should Be the First Strategy for Businesses

I cannot say this enough: people use social media primarily to be social, not to have products or brands paraded in front of them non-stop. If you own a business that is posting about your products or brand more than 20% of the time on social media, you are driving customers away, plain and simple.

I find that some marketers really find this rule difficult to adhere to because they falsely believe the more their products or brand is promoted on social media, the more likely their followers will buy an item online or visit their store. Perhaps they are following a strategy they learned in traditional marketing, but I would encourage marketers to think of social media marketing as they think of email marketing.

Most marketers seem to understand that they do not want to flood their customers with too many email broadcasts because it will annoy them, or worst yet, cause them to unsubscribe from their mailing list. I believe this is because the marketers themselves don’t like it when they receive too many emails from a company. It’s off-putting and many times they simply unsubscribe from the “trash” that is filling up their inbox because they don’t want to see it anymore. The exact same view should be taken when they are considering their social media strategy. I suspect that since email has been around since the early 1990s vs. 2004 (Facebook’s birth year) and more marketers use email than social media, that this may be one key to the difficulty in understanding how to best approach social media marketing.

Whatever the reason, I urge marketers to reconsider their strategy for social media marketing and try out the 80/20 rule instead if they are looking to “sell” on their pages. It may be easier to just “promote, promote, promote,” instead of “engage, engage, engage” on social media, but it is well worth it and will never drive your followers away.

So what exactly should a business post 80% of the time if it isn’t about their brand? First of all make sure the post is interesting to your audience so they are more likely to share it. You will need to gather content from influencers in your niche that meets your audience’s needs. These should be influencers whose business ideas you jive with. Examples of content: questions, news links, learned quotes, etc.

Follow these two steps:

  • Follow and engage with influencers and gather knowledge from what they post and find interesting. If you actually engage with them, they are much more likely to share your posts.
  • Post interesting content and try to make actual connections with your followers through comments and conversations, sharing, liking, etc.

As for the remaining 20% of your posts, post content that represents your brand and don’t forget to include information the will help your audience out. For example, include a promo code, add a special discount, offer free shipping, etc. Be sure to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) that persuades your audience to find out more about your business and by doing that you open up the possibility of potential sales.

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