The 80/20 Rule: Is this Golden Rule of Social Media Marketing Right For Your Business?

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Let’s face it, social media is a tricky business. With a constantly changing landscape, even the most business savvy and tuned-in customer centric professional can be confused on just how to approach their social media presence.

The constant evolution of algorithms, access to technology, information and new platforms along with changes in engagement rates and consumer expectations and values, make a seemingly simple task even more challenging.

At the heart of this idea and what we believe here at Spring Digital, is that there is no ‘One Size Fits All’ approach when it comes to creating this optimised social media strategy. Golden Social Media principles such as the 80/20 Rule, which I will break down and discuss for you in today’s blog, can be considered a good starting point and a helpful guide. We would argue however that it is lacking in its ability to truly capture what it is that your customers want to hear from you and is outdated as a means to create an authentic and meaningful connection with your audience and to represent your brand in the online space.


For those of you who are unfamiliar, the 80/20 rule states:

“that 80% of your social media posts should inform, educate, and entertain your audience, while only 20% should directly promote your business”.

Sounds relatively simple right? And some might argue that the 20% self-promotional material should stay at this lower level because today’s consumers are bombarded with messages from every device, online and offline.

While this may hold true in general, what we are talking about today is the type of content that your business should be creating and publishing and what type of content your customer will enjoy, engage and resonate with.

We feel that just like the changing landscape there too is a shift in what type of content is sought after and being consumed. This trend is pointing to more self-promoting material – not less!


When you think about it your customer has actively made a choice to follow your business because well, they want to. They want to know more about you and your brand and what you are doing and how you are doing it? What’s your style, what’s your message, what do you stand for? It is your chance to engage with your target audience on a one to one, informal level and show them that you see them and that you care.

Think of your customers as nosy neighbours wanting the behind the scene scoop and an exclusive insight into just how you tick and what you’re made of. Self promoting material therefore should capture a larger part of that 80/20 pie and studies have shown that in 2020 this is what the people want.


In actuality the optimal ratio doesn’t exist and will inevitably vary from brand to brand and within industries. There are a variety of approaches you could take a.
A 50/50 ratio may be better suited for you or perhaps follow The Rule of Thirds:

“1/3 promoting your product or services, 1/3 interacting with others, and 1/3 sharing industry news and tips you believe your followers could benefit from”

In the hotel industry for example (which the majority of our lovely clients are in!) it has been found that self-promoting content outperforms other types such as industry news and entertainment. We believe this is because this is the type of content hotel guests truly desire. It builds a sense of trust and familiarity and can unlock the booking potential of the hotel.

However, we could go one step further and argue that in some form or another all social media content self-promotes and then you really throw the 80/20 principle out the window altogether! Looking at it from this perspective, we could say that the 80/20 principle is irrelevant. In fact it is quite difficult to distinguish between whether something is purely self-promotional or informative but rather it is usually a combination of the both.


What we need to remember is that today consumers are savvy enough to know that you are trying to win their business so don’t attempt to post content under the guise of some other motive. Be honest and conduct your social media strategy with integrity and authenticity, just like you would do in any other aspect of your business. Try to connect with your target audience in a genuine way and reflect this when planning the type of posts in your Content Strategy. Other than building brand awareness and driving leads and sales, the main goal and focus of your social media activity should be to connect with and build a relationship with the customer. This will create much more value to you in the long run.

Whatever ratio you find best suits your brand and target audience, remember great things take time! Don’t be afraid to try out and experiment with different kinds of self-promotional content. For example, here at Sprint Digital we have found employee advocacy to work well for our brand story. We believe that to empower your employees is to empower your brand and content produced from your employees can work wonders to show personality, gain traction and build a human connection beyond numbers on balance sheet or data in analytics platforms.

Remember to have some fun with it and show your brand’s personality.
Of course, the basics of content marketing still apply, you must still ensure to align your content along your brand’s message and target audiences’ preferences. Use A/B testing. Analyse your content to see just what type is working best for you and your business.

Look at a range of metrics from Engagement Metrics (comments, likes, @mentions), to Awareness Metrics (likes and shares) and Conversions Metrics (clicks, bookings, email sign ups) and find what’s working well for you and your customers. As we said there’s no magic recipe or One Size Fits All Approach, just good honest hard work and genuine brilliance – easy

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