I love social media.

It’s true! I’m not just saying that since it’s my job. Let’s rewind to 2007 Andréa…

2007 Andréa
^ Hoop earrings, flared jeans, and all.

I had just gotten my first laptop before heading off to college. Before then, I relied on my communal home computer to catch up on Harry Potter news, check my MySpace, and search weird facts on Ask Jeeves before getting kicked off by my siblings. Am I dating myself?

So with my first laptop in hand, I proceeded to join Facebook and YouTube, spiralling into a world of constant entertainment. It was love at first sight.

The internet offered me the incredible opportunity to choose exactly what I wanted to be entertained with and for how long. I was in charge. If I didn’t like a YouTube video, I could turn it off and had hundreds of thousands of others to choose from instantly. If I had a falling out with a friend on Facebook, I could unfriend them… or worse, completely block them.

I wasn’t the only one who was pleased, I assure you. Many of the people in my generation prefer to get our news online instead of the newspaper or watch our shows on Netflix over trying to catch one on TV.

But it isn’t just us “millennials” who are captured by the lure of the internet. Seems like everyone and their mother — and grandmother! — has a Facebook account. And users of social media are 100% in charge of how they consume it.

Let’s just say, the online space is more diluted now than it was 5-8 years ago. Brands are catching on! But users are catching on even faster. They don’t want to be sold to (who does?) and they definitely don’t want to be pestered about brands they only have a mild interest in. Otherwise, they move on, unfollow, or worse…. report you as spam!

So if you’re a new brand — no one knows who you are yet — how do you capture the short attention spans of this new era?

My friends, let me introduce the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 Rule Explained

We all want to be the go-to place for online shopping, finding new musical talent, or learning how to be a yogi.

But how can you be that without coming off as spammy to your potential new customers? When they first visit your page, why will they follow your brand? After they follow your social media account, what will encourage them to like, share, or comment on your content? Will they even pay attention to your posts at all?

That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in.

As defined by Social Media Today, the 80/20 rule goes like this:

Use just 20% of your content to promote your brand, and dedicate 80% to content that really interests your audience and engages them in conversations.

And because I love ya’ll, here’s a little graphic I made to go with this idea…

80-20 rule of social media explained*Not to scale, obviously. I’m a social media manager, not a mathematician.

So for every 10 posts you share on social media, 8 of them should be engaging, inspiring, beautiful, shareable, informative, humourous, etc. Your other 2 posts are where you can share information about your brand along with a call-to-action.

Using the 80/20 rule of social media allows you keep your audience engaged without coming off as a sleazy salesman. Remember, social media is a two way conversation. You have to keep up your side of the conversation.

Social media is a two way conversation. You have to keep up your side of the conversation. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself this: Why would potential customers follow you? What’s in it for them? If you keep the “what’s in it for them” question at the front of your mind, you’re sure to grow an engaged following that actually cares about the things you share.

But to break it down even further, I’ve got some examples of the types of content you can share on social media.

Types of Engaging Content

Honestly, the engaging content is my favourite part of social media. And it can be yours, too!

As a brand, you’re intruding in the space of potential buyers. And just like TiVo allows you to skip commercials, social media users will skip over your advertisements if you don’t first capture their attention.

Below, I’ve listed a few engaging types of social media content to spark your content creating social strategy:

  • Question of The Day
  • Inspiring Quote
  • Fun Fact
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Tip of the Day
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Caption This
  • Current Events / Local News
  • Industry information
  • Meme / Joke

Did I miss any? Leave a comment below with a type of engaging social media content you like to share.

My first piece of advice for finding engaging content is to figure out the parallels in your audiences’ tastes. For example, if you sell exercise equipment, sharing healthy eating content is likely a similar interest to your potential audience.

Finding common ground with your audience makes it easier for them to relate to your brand. So if you sell shoes, maybe talk a bit about handbags your audience would love. If you’re a dog walker, then mentioning some fun pet toys on your social media accounts adds value to your followers. And if you provide home renovations, then chatting about throw pillows could pique the interest of potential buyers as well.

Finding common ground with your audience makes it easier for them to relate to your brand. Click To Tweet

My second piece of advice for finding engaging content to share on social media is to do some digital listening. Find out what bloggers are saying about your industry. Locate a few influencers and see what kind of content they post. Stay abreast of industry trends and changes.

Take what you’ve learned from doing a bit of research online and share the bits of content that your social media followers will find interesting. If bloggers are chatting about an industry event, then jump on that band wagon. If industry influencers are using a certain hashtag, consider using that hashtag as well.

Takeaway: Post Content Your Fans Will Share

Types of Promotional Content

Now that you’ve entertained, delighted, and informed your audience with your engaging content, it’s time to talk about your brand’s services and/or products.

And since your audience is now paying attention, make sure you also include a call-to-action with your promotional posts. It’s totally okay to let your followers know what you need from them now that you’ve given so much away for free.

Here are some promotional types of content you can share on social media:

  • Sale Announcement
  • Product Introduction / Explanation
  • Blog Posts
  • Videos
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Reviews

These are all ways you can promote your brand without a “hard sell.” Again, no one likes to be sold to. Instead, give users a reason to continue paying attention to your brand.

No one likes to be sold to. Instead, give users a reason to continue paying attention to your brand.Click To Tweet

Does your product do something unique that other products don’t? Highlight that detail. Or write a blog post about the benefits of your services versus your competitors. You can even create a short video interview with your brand’s founder highlighting your background, values, and how you started.

Just remember to include your call-to-action. It doesn’t have to be “buy this,” but can instead be anything from “visit our blog” to “share our promo with your friends.”

Takeaway: Post Content Directly About Your Brand That Includes a Call-to-Action

In conclusion, by providing valuable content upfront, your social media followers are more likely to continue tuning into your channel so-to-speak, even if you talk about yourself a bit.

If you’re wondering what to do with all this content, when to share it, and how to engage with your fans daily, download the D-I-Y Social Media Checklist I created for you!

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^ Seriously, download this now! It will save you so much time in your daily social media activities.

Until next time,

Andréa Jones Signature

If you're a new brand, how do you capture the short attention spans of your audience in the digital age? In this blog post, you'll learn about the 80/20 rule and what types of content to share on social media.
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