Last month we taught a group of business owners all about using Facebook for Business and in that training session, we mentioned the 80/20 rule for social media. Most of them scribbled that down in their notes and so we thought it was worth going into more detail about this to help business owners, directors and employees with content ideas.
It’s not a new rule by any means, but plenty of people may not be aware of it or are just not sure how to achieve it. As you will have heard, there’s going to be the Facebook algorithm changes to battle with soon, making business post reach harder, and perhaps Instagram will follow. However if you are putting excellent content on Facebook that gets a reaction from your followers, this is the first step in maintaining your reach on the social media platform.
The 80/20 rule applies to all social media when using it for business purposes.
Known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. The ratio has been applied to many situations including:
- 80% of sales come from 20% of clients
- The hardest 20% of software coding takes 80% of the time
- 20% of employees do 80% of the work
- 20% of the most reported software bugs cause 80% of software crashes
How does it apply to your social media marketing?
The theory is that the best ratio for engaging and shared content vs sales-led messaging and content is 80/20. So only 20% of your business social media posts should be focused on selling to your audience or promoting your brand. You should be aiming to resonate with your followers in many other ways with the occasional ‘salesy’ post thrown in. As we always say to our trainees, remember that social media is social and your primary aim should be to
Entertain — Inform — Educate
those that like or follow your business Facebook page. Pushing sales messages too regularly will put your followers off.
How to identify content that falls into the 20%
If you are communicating a special offer, promoting your own ticketed event, talking about your products or services, you have something to sell. If your content has a call-to-action that aims to deliver a lead, a purchase or an enquiry to you, then it is sales-led content. Only two out of ten pieces of your social media content should be directly sales-focused.
What counts as part of the 80%?
Everything else you post needs to fall into the 80%. And there are plenty of interesting, exciting, humorous, informative and topical pieces of social content that you can create. Added to this, share news or articles from other organisations, things that you believe your followers and fans will enjoy reading or seeing. Try and put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes.
“Posts with images and video receive 2.3x more engagement”. Research by Buzzsumo
Here are some ideas to help you achieve the 80/20 rule for social media:
- Answer customer questions from your blog or any social media page
- Share other businesses’ events or competitions (if you follow us on Twitter, you’ll notice that we are fans of this one)
- Share authoritative articles or videos
- Invite interaction (and do some subtle market research) by asking your audience to respond to questions
- Start a topical (yet moderated and friendly) debate
- Highlight a particular customer that is willing to participate – when you tag that person, your post will be seen by their friends and family too
- Do something for charity and tell your followers about it and the cause
- Share industry news with your thoughts added
- Run a contest/ challenge /competition
- Post images about where you are or what you are doing that day/week
- Highlight an employee with some personal facts about them
- Showcase an awards shortlisting or win
- Say thank you to suppliers, customers, supporters
Live social media content
Live content can be planned to fall into either the 80% or the 20%. Here are some specific live social media content ideas:
- Host a live Q&A and this can also be with a live expert guest
- Behind-the scenes/live tours
- Breaking news
- Appearances from events/conferences
- Product launches
- Explaining a product or service
- A regular video show, same time each week
We’d love to have your input and ideas too! Do you regularly post non ‘salesy’ social media content? Please share how you achieve the 80/20 rule for social media.