When I’m talking with my clients about what they post on social media, they tell me one of the biggest barriers is this fear of their feed being a page of me, me, me.

We’ve all seen it. In fact, I have even seen social media management companies whose own profiles look exactly like that. Read my blog post, try my service, get in contact with me.

But what is the alternative? What should a social feed look like?

The 80:20 Rule

The 80:20 rule of social media is

“80% OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS SHOULD INFORM, EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN. 20% SHOULD DIRECTLY PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS.”

So for every ten tweets or Facebook posts you share, only two should directly promote your business. This might be a sale, a featured product or new service. Followers will accept this 20% if your 80% is good and interesting enough.

This rule sort of answers the question, but a lot of your own content might be stuff that informs, educates or entertains. So can you fill up the 80% with your own funny blog posts and weird thoughts?

Sort of.

There is a concept in the social marketing world called the Rule of Thirds.

It goes like this.

Three images describing what to post on social media. The first showing a New Blog Post page overlaid with the text 'Create'. The second is a group of people standing overlaid with the text 'Curate'. The final picture is a person sat at a computer with a muffin overlaid with 'Converse'.
The Rule of Thirds: A third of your social posts should be original content, a third should be curated content and the final third should be interactions with your followers and peers.

First Third – Share Your Content

This could be your blog posts, or just tweets with (interesting, educational or entertaining) thoughts and points of view.

Second Third – Share other people’s content.

Curated content is an important part of a social media strategy. This could be user-generated content, articles or posts from your industry and inspiration from complementary (but not direct competitor) brands. They might follow or like the tweet as thanks! Don’t forget to @ tag them!

Final Third – Interact With Your Followers

Retweets, conversations and replies. These conversations are public and are where real engagement happens.

I include retweets, shares or reposts in the final third rather than the second one, as they don’t take much effort. People see a retweet on Twitter as a social interaction rather than a true endorsement.

A share on Facebook is closer to true curated content, but can also be used as a way of encouraging or engaging with another social user.

So do I need to count every time I post on social?

Rules and advice on social media are overwhelming. They can take the joy out of it. So rather than seeing this rule as a limiting factor, why not use it as a tool instead?

If you want to do five tweets every day to promote your business, two of them can be somebody else’s content, and two of them replies and retweets. Now you only need to come up with one tweet showcasing original content. Fantastic!

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