The 80/20 Rule, Explained - BrandMuscle

The 80/20 Rule, Explained

You may have heard that varying your social media content according to the 80/20 rule can boost engagement with your audience and help build your business’s following. But what exactly is the 80/20 rule, and how do you implement it into your social media strategy? Read on for answers on how your social media content can drive more revenue and build meaningful relationships with your audience.

What is the 80/20 rule?

The 80/20 rule indicates that 80% of social media posts should be useful to your audience — meaning, it educates, entertains, or offers a solution to their problems — and only 20% should explicitly promote your business.

Why should I follow the 80/20 rule?

People don’t go on social media to see advertisements. They log on because they’re bored and want connection, entertainment, inspiration, or information that can improve their life. In fact, finding “funny and entertaining” content is the number one reason for using social media, followed by the desire “to fill up spare time,” according to a report by Global Web Index. Providing the type of content that your audience goes to social media for gives them a reason to follow your brand.

In addition, by providing helpful content to your audience, you’re able to give them something rather than just ask them to buy things. This allows you to keep their attention long-term and build a sustainable relationship so that they’ll continue to be loyal to your brand as their consumer needs evolve.

Sure, giving your audience what they want and building customer relationships are important. But what about the bottom line: driving revenue? The 80/20 rule can help with that too. When you only post promotional content 20% of the time, users will be more likely to act on your message. If you post about products, sales, and discount offers too often, it isn’t special, and the users tune it out.

Useful social media posts

Useful social posts should make up about 80% of the content on your business’s social networking pages. These types of posts can be curated, original, or a mix of both. Create and look for third-party content that’s relevant to your industry, locality, and audience’s interests, while refraining from explicitly promoting your brand. You can still include product pictures or links, but your post shouldn’t focus on your business. Instead, prioritize adding value to the user’s life by providing education, entertainment, and valuable information, and let your brand fade into the background.

Examples of useful social media posts include:

  • How-to blog posts, articles or videos
    • DIY projects, recipes, etc.
    • Life hacks and tips
    • Advice or insights from an industry expert
  • Aspirational photos
    • Desirable lifestyles
    • Before and after transformations
    • Inspiring or satisfying images
  • Timely articles
    • Industry news
    • Hyperlocal news
    • Positive or uplifting stories

Promotional social media posts

Promotional social media posts should make up just 20% of your content. These types of posts should drive consumer action, such as making an online purchase. They should also include a call-to-action, such as “learn more” or “shop now.”

Examples of promotional social media posts include:

  • Special offers
    • Coupons
    • Sales
    • Seasonal offerings
  • Product spotlights
    • Beauty shots
    • Demos
    • Detailed description of features
    • Competitor comparisons
  • Third party mentions
    • Positive media coverage
    • Positive customer reviews or testimonials

How to plan social media content according to the 80/20 rule

Using a social media scheduling tool or through-channel marketing automation platform can help you plan content according to the 80/20 rule. You can easily look at the calendar to see how much of your scheduled content is geared to be useful to your audience and how much is promotional, or designate certain days of the week for different types of content. For example, if you post 20 times per month, about 16 posts should include helpful content and 4 posts can be promotional.

Connecting RSS feeds to a social media scheduling tool can also make it easy to find helpful content that’s relevant to your audience’s needs. Find news outlets that produce compelling lifestyle pieces that align well with your product offering, then curate it to appear on your social media feeds.

Need help becoming a local social media savant?

Contact BrandMuscle to learn about how our leading software and services can be leveraged to meet your social media marketing goals and scale its impact.



About the Author

Maggie Sullivan provides SEO support through content development, organized project management, keyword research and copy editing. Her experience includes journalism, content marketing, and public relations, which she has used to serve a range of B2B clients.