The 80/20 Rule was once the golden rule of effective social media marketing. It states that 80% of your social media posts should inform, educate, and entertain your audience, while only 20% should directly promote your business. However, with social media marketing exponentially growing with companies and brands of all kinds using varying strategies, an increasing number of experts argue that the 80/20 rule is not as effective anymore. The perfect percentage of social media marketing is that... there isn't one. There isn't one single perfect percentage that will be a magic potion to boost your social media presence overnight. Each brand and each company has a different voice, message, goals and an overall different approach to strategy. It's important to discover YOUR brand's voice and test the ratio and see what best represents your goals and fits your brand.
When it comes down to it, everything on social media is promotional, in some form or another. Whether it is self-promotion (blog articles, mentions, etc.) or direct promotion (purchase links, direct ads, or sales specials), consumers are savvy enough to understand that you're trying to earn their business. The standard 80/20 rule isn't wrong and works for some brands, but the key word is some. Every social media page, whether it be for a personal brand, business, corporation, etc. will have a different target audience, different demographics, and an overall different strategy. Upholding the same standard ratio as an overall guideline for everyone is a little constricting.
Take the company I run, for example. We are in the publishing industry, and we encourage the authors we work with to have a strong platform, including a strong social media presence. We encourage authors to share blog articles, articles they've written for publications and any information about their book via their social media channels. In essence, this essentially "breaks" the 80/20 rule, but that's what has worked for our authors and what has affected their book sales. The trick is to find a ratio that works for you and your brand.
Each unique author has a different ratio as well. Paulo Coehlo is the New York Times bestselling author of The Alchemist. He has a specific goal for his social media that put a human face behind his writing and allowed his readers to connect with him on a personal level. He started tweeting in 2007 to create a space for his audience to experience storytelling through his thoughts and feelings. He sticks to a consistent schedule tweeting twice a day, once in his native tongue of Portuguese. He tweets inspirational quotes, blog content, and takes time to engage with his readers. He runs a successful blog page where he posts new content twice a week and sticks to a consistent posting schedule to create a trusted relationship with his audience. Paulo Coehlo's brand is to present a friendly face to his audience, someone they can relate to and in turn, relate to his work. He has worked hard to build a successful social media strategy with a specific goal in mind and thus has created his own ratio for his own unique brand strategy.
Each company, person, or cause needs a different branding strategy and different goals for themselves or their business. Social media takes time. It will take brainstorming, A/B testing, and consistent posting to create successful platforms. Take the time to define your brand and goals to set yourself up for stronger social media results down the line.