The 80/20 Rule: Are You Doing Social Media Right?

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of results are driven by 20% of factors. In sales, it means that 80% of business is driven by 20% of customers, and in marketing, it means 80% of leads are generated by 20% of marketing approaches. However, what are the implications for the rule with respect to the content you produce on social media?

The 80/20 Rule for Social Media

The rule isn’t meant to imply that 80% of your inbound traffic, leads, or inquiries come from the top 20% of your social media content. Instead, the belief is that 80% of your content should be conversational, while 20% should be focused on building your brand by using high-value keywords and proactive calls-to-action (CTAs).
Social media
Every B2B marketing strategy must have a social media component.
Customers don’t want to be inundated with constant messaging. They’re all-too-familiar with overly-aggressive sales tactics and they no longer respond to constant branding, up-selling and cross-selling. Instead, they want to have a conversation. They want to be informed, intrigued and engaged.
Companies who spend all their time boasting about their product’s features and benefits on social media will find an audience unwilling to listen, less likely to share and less interested in being engaged. It’s the reality of using marketing solutions to appeal to today’s customers; focus too much on how great you are and your customers will tune you out.
Ultimately, 80% of your social media content should be used to leverage the insight, opinions and positions of well-recognized market influencers, ones who support your viewpoints, have similar values and one who have the same approach to business. So, what are the pros and cons of adopting the 80/20 rule in social media?

Pros of Adopting the Rule

Overselling in today’s markets is never a good thing. Customers nowadays are more socially conscious and they attach themselves to brands that care about the same things they do. Focusing too much on your products is guaranteed to push customers away. It’s overaggressive and not conducive to garnering any kind of customer response.
Conversations get shared through social media because they elicit a reaction. Content that’s written as one big advertisement will never connect with an audience that eschews “in-your-face” sales, marketing and advertising strategies. A large number of today’s customers use ad-blocking software to avoid digital advertising on their browsers, cell phones and laptops. It just stands to reason that those same customers would easily ignore content that’s too salesy.
By all means, structure 20% of your content around your brand. However, be sure to use incentive-based CTAs that get customers to respond. This might include offering free consulting, rebates and discounts for future purchases in addition to free downloads like eBooks and whitepapers.
Social media
Well-written conversational pieces help increase leads.

Cons of Adopting the Rule

Whether customers are aware of it or not, they are in constant comparison mode. They spend most of their time online searching for answers. They want to know what solution is best and content that’s structured around a conversation doesn’t lend itself well to providing those answers.
Another issue pertains to the speed of response. Let’s face it, when you’re searching online for answers, time is of the essence. Nobody wants to read an entire content piece before finding that time-critical solution they desperately need. This eventually leads to high bounce rates, which are never ideal.
Finally, how effective are your CTAs when so much of your content isn’t geared towards converting readers? Ultimately, an argument can easily be made that the 80/20 doesn’t apply at all and a more balanced 50-50 proposition is best. It’s a balancing act for sure, but it’s one that must be found.
It’s all about finding a balance between promoting too much and not promoting enough. However, the answers as to the best approach for your enterprise lies in the analytics and data emerging from your content. Interpret that data properly and you’ll have a greater idea of how to structure your content.

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