When you own your own business you can find yourself heavily involved in the marketing side of things and with the advances in Social Media advertising it can be hard to see the wood from the trees and know whether you’re hitting the right mark when connecting with your audience. There are some simple techniques that can make knowing what to post and where to find content much easier: enter the 80/20 rule.

What is it?

The 80/20 rule when applied to business posts on Social Media states that 80% of your content should inform, educate and/or entertain your audience and 20% should be selling your product/services.

What does that mean?

It means that your audience will be more engaged with your accounts; liking, sharing and commenting on your content and are more likely to receive promotional adverts well, with a genuine interest in what you offer, as opposed to repeatedly seeing an advert for your business and switching off or hiding your adverts.

How you can work with it to build success

For some, the thought of posting content that doesn’t directly relate to their business can be a frightening concept. However if you think about your audience, particularly when using Social Media, they’re not on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to specifically look for services. They’re on there to catch up with friends, family and see what the web has to offer that day.

Think about it this way:

You’ve just moved to a new area and you need to find a new GP. You do a couple of NHS and Google searches, read some views, choose one, fill out forms, book your first appointment and that’s it, job done. You can forget about it now until the next time you need a GP.

Some people will move to a new area, join a local Facebook group and ask for recommendations on the group page.

Because of the algorithms that Facebook and Google use to ensure their advertising is targeted to the right audience, if you start googling ‘GP Surgeries, SW London’ you’re likely to start seeing adverts in your newsfeed. Once you’ve signed up to a surgery the adverts don’t go away and eventually in frustration you click on the button at the top of the post asking Facebook to stop showing you the advert. This then hurts the people advertising as Facebook will mark the post as irrelevant to the demographics of the person who asked for the post to be hidden.

How you can stop this from happening

Sponsored posts are a great way of reaching your audience but there are certain factors to consider before you invest in an advertising campaign:

What is the purpose of the post?

To sell something / to build engagement / something else entirely.

Who are your target audience?

Once you know who your prime audience are you can tailor your posts to ensure they ‘speak’ directly to them.

Is this a stand alone post or part of a bigger marketing strategy?

It’s well known that ‘one off’ sponsored posts don’t do very well on platforms like Facebook, however a series of well thought out sponsored posts is more likely to build trust and engage with your audience.

As I mentioned above, people don’t tend to use social platforms to look for services, they surf Facebook/Instagram/Twitter etc to see what others are doing and be entertained by the content. When searching for specific information they may turn to blog posts (like this one). If you have a business page which doesn’t try to overly sell anything to your audience but does offer informative, useful and sometimes entertaining content you are more likely to be able to sell to that user because you’ve already reached them on the social platform of their choice. This builds trust with your user and they are more likely to choose you because they feel they’ve had value from your posts and feel that on some level they already know you/your product or service.

It is possible to organically build your audience and have a much more steady user base than if you were sending sponsored posts out to everybody of a certain demographic.

Know your target audience

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people. Particularly when it’s your business and you need the cash/are trying to build your customer base. Trying to speak to everyone young and old, male and female, parents/non-parents just doesn’t work. It means your posts will be too neutral and no-one will engage with them.

Write for them

Once you know who your target audience is – either who you aspire to work with or who you are already working with and are happy doing so, narrow it down again. This seems frightening at first – what about all those people who you will be excluding? You’ll see where they fit in later on. Once you have it narrowed to the most stringent demographic information, start writing your social media posts to them. Literally imagine them reading it as you’re writing.

Reap the rewards

Once you have narrowed down your audience start creating content that you think they would like to see and will relate to. It doesn’t have to be stiff and sales-y, it just has to be you, speaking to them. You should notice a difference in your engagement pretty much straight away. However, don’t rely on it, the algorithms that Social Media platforms use can be pretty stringent and it can take a few posts to get started. This is where sharing content from other pages that still relates to your audience really helps (this is part of your 80% strategy – the other page that you’re sharing has already done the ‘engagement’ work for you, you get to share it, they get the kudos for having been the people to create it).

What about the audience you have excluded by narrowing your demographics?

This doesn’t actually work the way the fearful part of your brain thinks it will….. on the one hand, you’re excluding the people who wouldn’t have been interested in your product or service anyway. The people who *may* have liked your posts or wanted to use your service will still get to see your content. This is because most people are connected to all age groups on Social Media and they get to see content that friends and family are engaging with. Therefore if you target your posts to a specific audience, your wider audience will still see it.