Let’s talk about the big three. And no, unfortunately I don’t mean Destiny’s Child, the Harry Potter trio, Busted or the 3 Musketeers.
Nope. The big three we’re referring to are the thirds of social media content: promoting, sharing and interacting.
Image: David Cheetham, Hootsuite
As an inbound agency, it is our solemn duty to teach you how to use the social media rule of thirds to absolutely boss your social media marketing. But before we get started, it’s important to note that this is not the same as the 80/20 social media rule. 80/20 defines an optimum ratio between entertaining and promotional post (sort of like using lit internet slang phrases when you speak) so don't get forget to brush up on that topic, too!
The first third: promoting your content.
If you're reading this, you're probably not too bad in this area. After all, you no doubt have an inherent desire to promote your business, want to encourage more visitors to convert to leads, and make some good ol’ ROI.
Within content promotion there are three broad types (yes, that number again! Haven’t you heard three’s the magic number?) – coverage, distribution and broadcasting. Basically, this is the stuff you earn (like relationships), pay for, or personally own.
These can be utilised across all of your social media platforms, but before socialling away, you should always have your target personas for each channel in mind. For instance, you'll need to think carefully about: your tone of voice, the hashtags and person tags you might use and the visuals of your promotion including colour schemes, images, video and so on. The guide below can help you with all that.
However, like any generic dinner party, it’s likely your audience will get bored if you talk about yourself the whole time. So, it’s probably about time you put that pride aside and start valuing the input of others…at least a third of the time, anyway.
The second third: sharing other's content.
Whilst we all know sharing is caring, curating other people’s content a third of the time can actually do a lot more than just give them an ego-boost. It can give your brand exposure (who doesn’t love a cheeky RT?), allow you to demonstrate your kick-ass industry knowledge, and help establish your business’ authority.
Don’t go promoting any old news update though, and don’t over-do it. Consider what your audience would enjoy reading, what would increase your social media reach, and entwine it in-between your own content. After all, you don’t want to appear like you’ve done nothing yourself now, do you?
Here are some key sharing prospects to consider:
- New and important industry news
- Articles, links and stories from key industry leaders/influencers or like-minded businesses
- Trending industry hashtags and keywords e.g. #InboundMarketing
- Good reviews and mentions of you, of course! Although this may slightly overlap with self-promotion, but technically it wasn’t you, so…
Additionally, don’t forget to credit when sharing, offer your perspective on the topic at hand (if you have one) and encourage others to do the same – it’s all about getting that social media ball rolling!
The third third: interacting with others.
For the final third of your social media content, it is fundamental that you focus on building the personal side of your brand. You may love the idea of X-Machina or the Terminator, but people do actually like to believe they are interacting with real people, not automated robots. So, with regards to this, here are some of our top tips to humanise your business:
- First and foremost - don’t be shy! Get involved with commenting, likes, and messaging others
- Tailor your language and tone of voice to the customer and circumstance - if you’re sharing a joke, then it’s okay to #LOL about it
- Be quick when responding – no one likes to be left hanging
- Build relationships by interacting often
- Ask for, use and thank for UGC
- Share some of your employee activities or office antics - even if it’s you goofing around, the relatability and possible hilarity can go a long way.
The Best Of Three
Using the social media rule of thirds in this way allows you to give a balanced message to your audience. There is a huge amount of competition online, so you want to be sure you’re using a strategy that continually illustrates you and your company’s ethos and values in the most reliable and interesting way. After all, your future customer may be reading!
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