The 80/20 Rule of Marketing
Or: Why constantly promoting yourself and your services can have the opposite effect.
One of the best ways to explain the 20/20 rule of marketing is to imagine a scenario where you are hanging out with your friends. What if you only talked about ONE thing… every single time you hung out. And that one thing was something you were trying to sell to them. YIKES! Probably not the best way to keep friends, right? Perhaps you would be lucky if those same friend would hang out if you only talked about what you were sellingt 80% of the time. Then you could engage in conversation about other topics 20% of the time. How about, an even better idea. What if you switched the 80/20 rule around and most of the time you could talk about mutually entertaining and enjoyable subjects, leaving only 20% of the time to promote your product?
The same idea holds true for social media practices. If a company only posts about their products and services, their friends and followers may quickly tire of hearing about it. Ideally, companies will intersperse this type of information among other content that is a little more personal and engaging. Just as your friends want to learn more about you, a company’s following typically wants more than just a sales message.
At Jemully, we encourage our clients to follow the “80/20” rule for social media marketing. In fact, we recommend the 80/20 marketing mix for all of your content marketing. This rule says only 20% of the content will directly promote your products or services. The other 80% can be topics related to your brand, or things that you have strategically planned that your audience will enjoy. We can adjust these percentages, depending on the client, but it is a good rule of thumb. You are more likely to get engagement on your posts if they vary in type. It makes your sales pitch less likely to be tuned out by your audience.
After all, your content (sales messages or otherwise) is going to work best with people that appreciate your vibe, humor, and personality. A great way for them to get a feel for your brand’s personality is through social media. If you only post about your products, they aren’t going to get to know you.
We know how important it is for people to understand your services; we just happen to think that it’s equally important for them to see you as a personality and maybe even an expert in your field. Show your followers or potential followers what sets you apart from all the other companies in your industry. We feel that these social media practices are essential tools that can give companies a powerful advantage over competitors.
Make It Happen
When developing your social media strategy, start from the beginning. What is your company’s personality? Is it fun, casual, or quirky? Getting to the bottom of this will help create your own vibe on social media. Naturally, this vibe is expected to appeal to your target market.
“Fun” companies can post industry related gifs, comical videos, and satirical posts. Caption an everyday photo with something comical, or snap a picture of the nearby coffee shop chalkboard quote.
If you have a casual workspace, the strategic social media possibilities are endless. Post images around the office, client meetings, or photography from around town.
Think you have a quirky office? How fun! Post things that your office “nerds out” about in their free time. For example, our founder, Kit, is a hard-core Trekkie. We embrace our quirkiness and let the world know. We even have a Star Trek-themed client wall with category titles like “First Contact,” “Federation Membership,” and “Missions Completed.” There are people out there who love what you love, and others those who will simply admire your openness and creativity.
Make It Interactive
Avoid talking about your company all the time by posing questions to your followers. Many companies say they want feedback, but not all of them act on that impulse. You can put your money where your mouth is by explicitly inviting such feedback and giving your audience a forum to say what they have to say. You can ask them to comment on recent events. To keep it relevant, ask them to post pictures of themselves with their favorite products from your company. This is a small way to show your followers that their voices matter to you. Even if it starts out light and fun, it sets a precedent of openness and responsiveness that will have a subtle impact on your customers.
Make It Shareable
Social media is an opportunity to take advantage of an extremely valuable tool: shareable content. This can simply be interesting news updates, inspiring images, or beneficial industry information. Social content that is strictly products and services driven, tends not to be the type of content your followers are going to share. According to Kentico Digital Experience Survey, the most common reasons for unliking or unfollowing a brand: uninteresting posts (32%) and too many posts (28%). It’s about quality over quantity (especially with Facebook). When you create content that your followers want to share, your brand gets much better mileage out of those efforts that can extend well beyond your own following.
Remember, once you’ve created a solid following on social media, you want to keep those followers. We strongly recommend that our clients follow a structure similar to the 80/20 rule. Our experience has shown that followers tend to appreciate it.
Let us know what has worked for your company! Do you have your own strategy for social media content? Do you use anything similar to our 80/20 rule? We want to know. Thanks!