Some brands use social media as if they were competing in a sales task on The Apprentice, adopting a hard-sell approach as if their lives depend on it, forgetting that, unlike The Apprentice candidates, they’ll be interacting with their customers more than once – or at least they hope to.
While Lord Sugar might not appreciate the “softly, softly, catchee monkey” tactic – it doesn’t really make for good TV, to be fair to him – it’s absolutely essential on social media.
However, it can be difficult to rein yourself in on social media – you want to achieve a decent return on your investment; you want to make your followers aware of what it is you are able to offer them. After all, that’s why you signed up to social media in the first place: to increase your revenues by upping your brand visibility.
Thing is, your audience don't really care what you want to achieve.
Accurate representation of your customer's interest in your goals.
They’re on the platform to be social, to be entertained – engaging with the accounts they find most interesting. Brands, then, need to prove themselves to be a source of useful information, first and foremost. Users will accept a little bit of promotion, as long as the company offsets it with relevant and engaging posts.
The optimum ratio of entertaining content to promotional posts is 80:20, we (and many others) believe. We’re normally averse to abiding by the rules here, but the 80/20 rule is largely common sense.
Is the 80/20 rule still relevant?
The 80/20 rule has been knocking about for a good few years now, but as recent research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) proved, it’s still as relevant in 2016 as it’s ever been.
CIM’s survey from earlier in the year showed consumer trust in brands on social media to be falling, with firms seemingly more inclined now to try and manipulate their reputation through a number of grubby tactics.
Some 30% of consumers say they now have little or no trust in brand information they see on Facebook, up from 20% in 2014. That increase is matched by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Ouch.
The advice of Chris Daly, CEO of CIM, is to focus on building relationships with customers on social media, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to promote your brand image, at all costs.
“With consumers increasingly expecting a two-way conversation, brands must be far more honest and authentic in trying to build that trust and engender customer loyalty,” he said.
Applying the 80/20 rule
5 tips for the 20% of promotional content
- Include persuasive call-to-actions
- Include information that benefits your customer: discount, special offer, useful stat etc.
- Link back to your website
- Be self-aware, i.e. “indulge us by taking the time to look at this relevant blog post.”
- Drop in your two promotional posts after a particular fine piece of educational content
5 tips for the 80% of educational content
- Share influencers’ content that supports your thinking and the way you do business
- Get a nose for what content appeals to your audience by creating buyer personas
- Don’t just simply share valuable content – highlight what makes it a must-read
- Prioritise visual content
- Consider sharing competitors’ content, in the name of building trust with YOUR customers
The 80/20 rule is a fairly basic rule to incorporate into your social media strategy, but it’ll set the foundations as you go about the complex matter of trying to gain the trust of your followers. You know what to post and when, which is half the battle on social media. The other half, of course, is finding the time to actually do the gosh darn social-media-ing in the first place. For that - idk, maybe you wanna download our handy (free) PDF?