Last year, all I wanted for Christmas was to have the “80/20 rule” become standard. Clearly I was on the “Naughty List” as this did not come true. For those of you who are new to the “80/20 rule”, the idea is that 80% of your social posts should be designed to deliver value to the audience. This content should be curated from other sources and aligned with your brand’s mission, vision and values. The other 20% of your content can be about you and your brand. The idea is that if you spend 80% of your updates on content that is valuable to your audience; you will earn the right to talk about yourself. Problem is, we preach it. Heck everyone preaches it! But far too few brands and companies do it. Go ahead, go and audit your posts right now. I bet the best you did was 50%. I understand why. It is easier to talk about you and it is also easier to do that when leadership is reading because they want you to talk about their company. But, the reality is the more you talk about you, the more your updates become ignorable noise.
And the last thing I know we all want is to be noise in our customer’s social feed. So, since I did not get everyone to convert to this rule of thumb, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. Over the course of the last year, I’ve run a few social accounts. And what I’ve found in applying to 80/20 rule for myself was really shocking to me. Beyond earning the right to talk about myself, I’ve found that strong, consistent, valuable curation breeds better customers. I know, right? It did “earning the right to talk about me” one better, actually, it did me three better:
It bolstered the brand
The startup I am working on was a great test case in the 80/20 rule. With a startup there is zero brand, well none that anyone knows about anyway. Because we did so much curation (more like 90/10), we were able to develop a brand identity based solely on the information we were sharing. The brand became about helping people manage not only their career and job search, but also about managing work, life, time and relationships. We tweeted and posted a ton on making your day easier and workday brighter. We tweeted countless life, work, happiness and productivity hacks. And these got re-tweeted all the time. We were putting out great content for people who would use our tools and we were able to align our brand with a better way of doing things.
Curation paints you in a new light
To most people your company is a product or product line. People do not typically align your products with your vision, mission and values. And this is where smart curation can light up a brand. This is where you can start telling people what you stand for without being all preachy. The content you share from third parties will help your prospective customers see you in a new light. They may begin to associate your products with your mission, vision and values. But only if you share with them things that make that case. If you spend all your social real estate talking about you, then you will never expand the customer’s POV of your brand, you will continue to be a product.
Prospects and customers are more aligned, shortening the sales cycle
Through my work this year, I have found that curation makes it easier for prospects and customers to understand what you are about and helps them pull the trigger when they are ready. They understand not only what you sell (which is clearly listed on your profile and in up to 20% of your content), but they now know what you stand for. And if they are aligned with that and have become fans of your valuable, curated content, I have found they are more likely to convert. Is it a short-term, direct-response play? Hell, no. Social was never designed to be direct response, in my opinion. Social was designed to facilitate conversations. And when you facilitate conversations through curation, you are in a better position to cultivate a relationship that is beyond a social like. These become the people who are your word-of-mouth sales force.
In the last year, I have been very vocal in asking brands to dial down the sales and dial up the trusted resource. I can now say that the trusted resource has produced better results than the “Buy now!” bullhorn. Isn’t it worth a shot? Maybe this month, curate more and compare results. See what happens when you offer valuable, smart, curated content 80% of the time. Give it a shot; you probably have nothing to lose. Who’s with me?