The “Pareto Principle” in Social Media Content Strategy

Content marketers follow a marketing model for magnifying the impact of their brand’s content strategy. And while there isn’t just one particular model, a lot of them do follow the same principle and rationale—the “Pareto principle”.

In this article, we explore what the Pareto principle is and how this helps in content marketing, especially building and maintaining better relationships with your audience.

What is the “Pareto Principle”?

Pareto principle is a prediction model from Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th-century economist from Italy who saw that 20% of Italy’s citizens own 80% of the country’s wealth. This ratio has already evolved to include topics outside the realm of economy, like social media, for instance. Here, it has since been used to explain the logic behind winning social media content strategy, especially in relation to content posting.

Other ratios have also been developed since then. But no matter what division it comes out as—with 80/20 as the most common—everything nonetheless works with the same rationale: “__ percent of results often come from __ percent of causes.” Most marketers follow the 80/20 ratio, while others the 70/30. Some, even a 70/20/10!

*Please note that for brevity, we’d be using the original ratio throughout this article: 80/20.

The “Pareto Principle” and Social Media Content Strategy

Now that we have the definition out of the way, it is time to ask: how exactly do these ratios help magnify a brand’s social media content strategy?

Firstly, it is good to know why a content strategy is important. For one, a good content strategy builds brand awareness and contributes to better consumer retention. Remember, content is still king; people will definitely expect to get something of value from your social media accounts, content that resonates with them in some way.

But a more practical reason is that a good content strategy helps prioritise your budget as well as time. Knowing exactly what type of content would yield the best returns allows you to focus on those content instead and magnify it better, instead of wasting time and energy on those that aren’t doing as much for your brand.

So, following the Pareto principle, we could say that 80% of your social media posts must be anything useful for your audience and not promotional.

This content could be:

  1. fun content
  2. how-to or DIY blog posts
  3. inspirational content
  4. timely, general industry updates
  5. lifestyle-related

The ‘shareability’ of these types of content is usually high. For example, you’ve slated 20 posts for your Facebook page every month. According to the Pareto principle, 80% or 16 posts of those must be non-promotional, while only 20% or 4 posts must directly mention your brand or company.

When producing non-promotional content, you’d do well to remember exactly why people are on social media in the first place, and usually, it is for these two reasons: they either want to be ‘entertained’ or ‘informed’. Content that entertains and informs is usually what keeps your brand’s connection with its followers strong; it’s what contributes to a stronger community.

But what happens when you release so much of content that blatantly mentions your brand? You risk having your audience tune out. You risk appearing so ‘spammy’ or ‘sales-y’. Your followers already know what you’re selling—it’s why they followed you in the first place! But creating valuable content means more than that; it means providing them with content that is useful and relatable to their daily lives.

Although you get a lot of freedom on the 80%, you still have to make sure that the content you put out still connects, in a way or another, to your brand. You can’t expect to just ride out any trend that makes noise, otherwise, it will look very out of character and not “on brand”. All in all, you have to remain authentic to your brand and your brand values.

However, focusing on your non-promotional content doesn’t necessarily mean foregoing your promotional ones. Promotional content could be:

  1. new product or service release
  2. product spotlight
  3. special offers (sales, seasonal offers, discounts, etc.)
  4. positive media coverage
  5. customer reviews

(Content creation is another topic altogether. It could be daunting to come up with fresh content every time, even for seasoned marketers. If you’re in a pickle, here’s how to get out of a content plateau.)

Because of their rarity, these promotional posts appear more special and as such, encourage users to act on your message better. It’s what ultimately drives consumer action, so make sure to include clear CTAs when you post content like this.

These ratios, while widely acclaimed and known to be really helpful, need to work well with each brand’s strategy. As always, your brand’s goals should be at the forefront of everything you do content-wise. Writing for inc.com, Tanya Halls puts it perfectly:

Take the time to define your brand and goals to set yourself up for stronger social media results down the line.

Unsure about what content to post or how best to maximise your content marketing budget? We’re here to help! Explore our digital marketing services today and make the most out of your brand’s social media experience!

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