Social Media Content: Finding The Right Balance

By on April 5, 2011
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Everyone that uses social media knows how content heavy it can be. But what kind of content are you publishing for all the world to see? Do you have a good mix of content for your readers to enjoy?

Social media campaigns that are 100% sales orientated usually fall flat – but so do campaigns that are 60% business, 37% personal and 3% fun. What combination is the right combination? How do you strike that perfect balance with you social media content mix?


1. Put in That Dreaded Research Time

Social media includes a lot of research, data collection and analysis, though most strategists don’t do much of it. Everything is measurable, including the success of your content. The only way you are going to get a decent idea on what your fans, followers and friends want – is if you track their responses to your content.

This will involve putting together a variety of new content ideas, and then testing them individually over a period of a few weeks. Don’t only test your new content, but test different content combinations. For example, an advert selling shoes will sell more shoes if the two posts before it were about the hottest new shoe fashions.

Spend some time pouring over the data, and formulate a plan of action. Remember your goal is not to gain another million followers – your goal is to engage the ones you already have. Once you have a clear idea on what content you should be creating, you can come up with set percentages. Use these percentages as a template to create new content in the future.

These percentages will change during holiday periods and you’ll have to keep track of them periodically. Once you’ve nailed an effective ratio, tweak it until its perfect. For example, the ideal content ratio might be 10% business and sales posts, 50% opinion, news and techniques posts, and 40% fun, witty and entertaining posts.


2. The General Rule For Most Businesses

To start you off in the right direction, the general rule is that personal, engaging and non business related content, should always be more than the sales and marketing stuff. People are there to connect with a person (you), not hear a million sales pitches from someone they don’t know. As your business evolves this may change, depending on your industry. Start off with a conservative 25% business, 10% entertaining and 65% personal views and opinion.

Assume that you can also sell via your personal news and opinion content, you just don’t do it directly. No “buy this now!” stuff – instead write an article about the benefits of your product. Indirect selling is more effective these days anyway. If all else fails – ask your fans with polls or question apps.

If you have multiple brands, you might need multiple content tests, but stay strong! The data you collect will light the way to a balanced social media campaign.

What’s your content percentage? How much sales content do you put in front of your fans on a daily basis? We want to know!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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