Let’s be clear about the basics: businesses claim social media property and invest resources into strategies because they want to see some form of return. Whether that’s a monetary return, a boost in visibility and brand awareness, a strengthening of customer relations, or an increase in retention rates, depends on the company’s strategy.
Where many entrepreneurs fail is in the execution of social media marketing. They mistakenly translate “social media marketing” into “promote, promote, promote.” With so few companies succeeding at this approach, it’s a tactic that clearly doesn’t work.
The reality is that social media platforms aren’t advertising forums—they’re designed for the creation and exchange of ideas and information. If any business hopes to succeed in the online social sphere, it’s crucial to remove the focus from the promotion of a brand’s product and service offerings to the creation of meaningful conversation. Does that mean you shouldn’t promote your content at all? Absolutely not. What it means is you have to create an ideal balance between social media promotion and interaction.
The Problem with a Promotion-Focused Strategy
- You risk alienating your target audience. People don’t join social media sites so that companies can shove branded content down their throats or sell their latest product and service offerings to them. They join to connect to the world outside of their local communities, to interact with people who share the same interests and values, and to have fun.
- Your brand will fade into obscurity. Think about it: if you alienate the very people who are meant to spread your social media content and endorse your brand, how will you keep your name in front of the right eyes?
- You miss opportunities to connect with clients, partners, influencers, and future employees. When you’re failing to participate in crucial conversations around your brand and key topics, you’re neglecting to fulfill a major part of any successful social media strategy. Why would any business want to miss the opportunity to build potentially fruitful relationships?
- You may overlook critical insight. Interaction with like-minded individuals can help stimulate the big ideas that may just put your company on top. You never know when valuable links, stories, or industry data will make their way into your hands thanks to your participation in relevant groups.
So, what should you do to make sure you don’t implement a strategy that’s too focused on promotion?
The 80/20 Rule Can Help You Find the Right Balance
In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule, which is also known as the Pareto Principle, states that for many events, approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
In other words, you should be using your social media assets for interaction 80% of the time and for self-promotion 20% of the time. With one out of every five posts being a promotional post, you shouldn’t have too much trouble following this rule of thumb, right?
Just in case, here are tips for the best 80/20 outcome:
- When you’re promoting, provide value.
When you’re interacting, be engaging and helpful. Show that you’re genuinely interested in the topic of conversation.
- Don’t make a promotional post a blatant sales pitch. Subtlety is the way to win over followers.
Keep it real when you’re posting a conversational post. Let people know there’s a person on the other end of the computer.
Always be audience-oriented.
The bottom line: stop killing your brand by constantly talking about your brand. Social media demands that you get rid of the “me, me, me” mentality and start focusing on others. People will buy from you if they like you, and you’re not going to attain that favorable position if you’re bombarding them with advertisements and self-flattering posts. Finding a good balance will ensure you’re not viewed as narcissistic, but rather an all-around social media player.
Do you struggle to obtain a balance when it comes to social media promotion and interaction? Perhaps you have a different viewpoint on the 80/20 rule. Share your thoughts with us below.