When I speak about social media to the inexperienced, the number one question I’m asked is “What am I allowed to post, and how often?” I usually offer up a formula like this: post promotional stuff 10% of the time, engage in conversation 30% of the time, post original stuff 30% of the time, and share things that are pertinent to you or your brand 30% of the time.
But Amy Guth over at the Chicago Tribune offers a simpler formula: post as you a third of the time, a third promotional stuff related to you or your brand, and a third about things that interest your or are relevant to your expertise.
This is a solid suggestion – except for one thing: she doesn’t talk about engaging with others (except the last sentence of the last paragraph) at all, and social media is, well, SOCIAL.
However, if you work in engagement under the rule of thirds – particularly when you are talking about speaking just as you, or if you’re answering questions that people have that are pertinent to your brand or you set of expertise – then you are practicing engagement and you are using social media in a way that works for everyone involved.
Ms. Guth does have a great suggestion about what to consider when posting:
As for the point about social media’s sometimes-bad reputation, here is a final tip to make sure you are never “that guy” (or gal) who tweets and posts about lunch and other daily minutiae: when thinking about something to post or tweet, never ask yourself, “What am I doing?” but instead always ask yourself, “What has my attention?” For example, doing this could mean the difference between “I’m going to find a sandwich for lunch” (yawn) and “I’m downtown looking for the best corned beef on rye in town. Suggestions?” One is uninteresting, and the other is far more likely to spark conversation.
What do you think? Is the rule of thirds a good one?
Note: the rule of thirds is a popular tool for photography, if it sounds familiar.