The 80/20 Rule for Social Media


The idea of the 80/20 rule gets thrown around a lot. At its core, the 80/20 rule is the Pareto principle: 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. More recently, though, the term has been used in various disciplines. When it comes to small businesses and social media marketing, the 80/20 rule is quite different from the Pareto principle.

For social marketing, the 80/20 rule says 80 percent of your content should inform, educate, and entertain your audience. No more than 20 percent of your content should be direct sales. Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t abide by this unspoken rule, and they pay the price.

As a customer, if every post from your favorite store, restaurant, real estate agent, or other small business is them to trying to sell you something, you’ll likely be largely uninterested. That means you simply scroll by the post with engaging–no likes, no comments, no shares. The less you engage with a business’s posts, the lower they rank in Facebook’s algorithm, and the less likely you are to see ANY of their posts in the future. Makes sense, right? Facebook has decided you’re not interested in what they’re posting, so they’re just not even going to show it to you. And believe it or not, that’s the best-case scenario. You might also just get annoyed with all the sales pitches and unfollow or unlike the page altogether!

Still with me, small business owners? That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in! Only 20 percent of your posts should be sales. The other 80 percent should be things your audience wants to know about–local happenings and news, tips and trends in your industry, you get the idea. So how do you know what to post when? Let’s just look at Facebook since that’s the most widely used platform for small businesses.

My general rule for small businesses is that they post 4-7 times per week on Facebook. Absolutely do NOT post more than twice per day. Statistics show engagement drops off drastically for small businesses that post three or more times per day. Let’s say you decide you’re going to post five times per week. In order to follow the 80/20 rule, four of those posts should be informative, educational, or entertaining for your followers. JUST ONE should be a sales post.

Stick to the 80/20 rule, and watch your engagement climb!

Read more:
Best Times to Post on Social Media
How Often Should My Business Post on Social?

3 thoughts on “The 80/20 Rule for Social Media

  1. I just posted the other day about this in a round about way. I mentioned it in terms of thinking about yourself as a curator of quality relevant content and that you should remember it is called social media not internet media. It’s not all about you. I think about my social media account as a conversation between my audience and myself. Imagine being at a party with someone who only talks about themselves. I’d move along quickly and your customers will to. Have personality, be awesome, and share good content. Its simple.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s