Social media marketing, done right

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule for social media marketing? If you’re using social media for business purposes, it’s one way to help you decide which types of content to post. If you follow this rule, 80% of what you post should be informative or entertaining (and NOT brand specific) while keeping any content that’s self-promoting to about 20%. Or how about the 5-3-2 rule? The rule was first proposed by TA McCann from Out of 10 social media posts:

  • Five should be content from others, relevant to your audience.
  • Three should be content from you, relevant to your audience (but not directly promoting yourself or your business)
  • Two should be more personal, something non-work-related to help humanize yourself and/or your brand.

Put simply, focus more on your target audience than yourself. There are many variations on this idea, such as the 4-1-1 rule. With this one, for every piece of content you post promoting yourself and your business, you should share four pieces of original and non-promotional content and re-share at least one other piece of relevant content from another source. There’s also the 555+ content ratio rule. With this rule, for every five pieces of promotional content you share on your social networks, you should share five posts of someone else’s original content or a link pointing to resources outside yourself/your organization and engage with your audience in five different ways, such as liking or replying to a comment made on your page.

Do you see what’s missing in any of these approaches? The nonstop sales pitch! Too many business people who use social media are too sales-y. Give your audience what they want, whether it’s an article to read, an interesting fact, a useful tip or an inspirational quote. Whatever you do, you don’t want to be constantly promoting yourself and your own company. It’s been proven time and time again to decrease engagement and do the opposite of what the business is trying to do — generate interest and business.

There are many different approaches to effectively marketing yourself and your business on social media. But all of them are based on providing value to your target audience, not constantly promoting your business. The bottom line: If your audience is interested in the content you’re putting out, they’ll have a more positive reaction to your company and the product or service that you are providing. To generate and retain interest, you need to go light on the sales pitch. It’s that simple.