Many people that I talk to are worried about providing a good balance of social media content so as to not come across as “too sales-y”. Lots of channels only post pitches to buy stuff without any soul or entertainment value. The majority of social media users are there to talk to friends or family, find out information, or be entertained. Non-stop commercials are no fun for anyone and hurt a brand in the long run. The algorithms that determine what people see in their feeds has a lot to do with how interesting the content is and how many people are responding to it. Put out good stuff, the algorithms serve you more – you get more engagements then you get served more. It’s a circle.
What is that balance?
I find that great social content follows the 70/20/10 rule – 70% value, 20% promotion, and 10% human. You can apply this to content you create on any platform or tool. 70% of what you’re posting should be of value to your audience. Not valuable to you or what you want to talk about, it should mean something to them. Now you’re racking your brain trying to think of what’s important to your audience.
Think about the last phone call, email, or conversation you had with a current or potential client or lead. What questions did they ask you? What were they concerned about? Frame your content around their needs and worries. Answer their questions so that when they search for information, your content may very well be served as the answer. Remember, everyone’s biggest concern is themselves and if you offer them solutions for their problems, they will view you as a vital resource.
When it comes to 20% promotion, think about where your for-profit business makes money. Know what your points of conversion are, where where your customer pays you. Do you have a “Buy” button on your website or somewhere else? This might be your online store, your shopping cart, an author page, or event registration site. Your social media promotional goal is to get a return on your investment of time and in order to do that, you will need to drive sales from your efforts. Get them right to the buy button, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe you don’t have that running properly. You’ll need to get that squared away before your social promotions will work.
Non-profit organization conversion
For non-profits, educational, or government organizations, conversion can look like receiving donations, finding volunteers, or getting them to sign up for your event. Whatever it is you want your audience to do, your social promotion is going to be driving them to those points of conversion. Know where those points are backwards, forwards, and in your sleep.
The pixie dust of content
Now the most elusive (and difficult) percentage is the 10% human part. What does that mean? It means you need to sound and act like a real person or group of people in order for your social efforts to really gel. If your audience is going to buy from you, you better evoke emotion or inspire them to act. They need to feel something in order to want to part with their money.To get to that point, you’ll need to build a relationship with them. Show them your face(s), your place of business, your pets, food, fun, SOMETHING to make them want to work with you. After all, we are all humans and we require human relationships with depth. The internet doesn’t change that, we still need to connect with each other.
How I learned this was true
I was sitting in a seminar hosted by Constant Contact and that’s where I first heard the 70/20/10 concept and I immediately knew that was the answer to the problem I was having with my own channels. I simply wasn’t human enough. This is a byproduct of my job where I tell and teach people how to behave online all day. I had lost my ability to color outside the lines, if you will, I had lost my personality. It took me quite a few tries before I found my stride (Unicorns were a No but my audience LOVES my personal stories.)
Each of us has that special ingredient that makes us unique and your business or organization is no different. When Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” he had no idea we would be applying it to expressing yourself through a digital medium. Experiment with what feels right for you when it comes to defining your brand’s online voice. It takes time to find the style that works for you. Your audience will tell you with their engagement when you’ve gotten it right.
Kerry is a Social Media | Technology Trainer | Speaker | Author based in Santa Rosa, CA. She offers consulting and social media training in the form of individual lessons, customizable classes, and is available to speak at your event. People and tech, together changing the world.