Social media provides unbelievable opportunities for companies to build their brand and community, develop relationships with customers, and encourage these customers to become evangelists. But reaping the rewards of social media doesn't come overnight, and it doesn't come by luck or magic.
It comes with strategy.
More specifically, your strategy should remember that social media exists to engage, not to SELL, SELL, SELL!
That being said, what good is investing so much time and effort into social media unless you see some type of return on that investment? Clearly you need to put into place a strategy that builds trust and loyalty, yet somehow introduces conversion opportunities at just the right time.
That's why we suggest you abide by our 50/30/20 rule.
Remember this: Your content isn't always read
The first step of our 50/30/20 rule requires you to accept this fact: your audience sees only about 10% of your content. That's right, a lot of your content is falling on deaf ears. Armed with this knowledge, you should post to your platforms around 3-5 times per day, this maximizing your reach and getting your content in front of as much of your audience as possible.
But exactly what you post each time can make all the difference in the world.
In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, author Gary Vaynerchuk discusses his approach to effective social media strategizing. The three jabs of his book's title refer to relationship building. The right hook is where you ask for a sale.
This is the premise behind our 50/30/20 rule.
Nobody follows a social media account to be sold something
Whenever you engage in any form of marketing, it's important to put yourself in the shoes of your potential audience. Think, for one moment, about the social accounts you follow in your personal life. Do you follow these accounts because you're hoping you'll be asked to buy a new product or service?
No. Rather, you most likely follow your accounts because they offer you some type of value, such as news, entertainment, or engaging multimedia (images, infographics, video, audio clips).
Since that's what your audience wants, you must give it to them, in spades.
1. Involve your audience with friendly content (The 50%)
We suggest that 50% of all of your social media posts should focus on entertaining and engaging content. This is the easiest way to win over new followers and build momentum for your platform. When we say, "entertaining" we don't, necessarily, mean you should tweet jokes or snarky comments. Find a way to maintain consistency in your branding, while connecting with your target market. Create content that will catch the eye of your audience. This will help tremendously in establishing your brand's unique voice.
2. Give your audience the 411 that they're thirsting for (The 30%)
Another reason why people flock to social media is to get news, tips and ideas on the things that they're interested in. Filmmakers want to know about the upcoming film festival. Health enthusiasts want to know about that latest exercise fad. We suggest that roughly 30% of your social media posts should offer information and resources to your audience. This will help establish you as an influencer in your field. While creating these posts, we encourage you to relay information you've gathered from other sources (namely industry experts), as well as content from your own blog. Relaying information provided by other influencers will help you grab a foothold in your industry. Think about it like drafting in race car driving, where a driver can avoid the drag of wind resistance by closely trailing behind the race car in front of him.
3. Sell without selling (The 20%)
The smallest piece of the social media pie is where you sell ... sort of. Keep in mind that your audience doesn't want to be sold to. That's not why they opted to follow you. They want to feel like they're part of an exclusive community. They want to feel special. When you share promotional posts selling a product or service, you can't be Captain Obvious. You have to be Sergeant Stealth.
If you've done your job correctly thus far, then you've built trust and community among your followers. You offer up engaging and informational content, so your followers are interested in what you have to say.
Use this to your advantage.
For example, let's say that you're a car mechanic. You've decided to create a series of postings that focus on the dangers of not rotating your tires. To start it all off, you share an image of a car driving on two wheels, with the message: "It's been a while since Frankie rotated his tires."
Notice how there's no sell here. There's no mention of your business or services. This is just an engaging post to amuse your audience (and encourage them to share with their followers). After a series of similar posts (remember, only 10% of your content is seen by your audience), you also add a sprinkling of informative posts (including, perhaps, an infographic that shows the damage caused by not rotating your tires). Again, you're not selling anything. You’re simply informing your audience.
Finally, you decide to implement a sales-based post, where you, perhaps, revisit that original image of the car on two wheels. This time you could say something like "Don't be like Frankie. Rotate your tires. Free now with an oil change."
Sure, you're pushing a sale, but you did so in a creative manner that also includes multimedia content (which helps you stand out in a timeline).
This approach not only encourages conversions from some of your followers, but it also helps you avoid losing followers by overselling. Those not interested in your offer will look past it, because they know the majority of the time you offer more engaging and helpful content.
Mix it up. Don't follow a timeline.
The 50/30/20 social media strategy doesn't force you to follow a timeline. There's no reason to believe you should create engaging content first, followed by information and then, finally, the sale. In fact, this can be counterproductive and too formulaic. Rather, mix up your offerings, while staying true to the frequency of each type of posting. That way you're more likely to reach all of your followers - with each type of content - throughout the day.