Why the 80/20 Rule Works for Your Social Media

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Among social media manager, there is a rule and it’s called the 80/20 rule. That means you share 80% of the content of others (while trying to stay relevant to your audience) and 20% of your own content. You’ve all heard the saying that you should be generous first, probably. If you’ve never heard of the 80/20 rule, here’s an article about it from Social Media Today.

Nobody Wants a Hard Sales Pitch

Back in the olden days, people were more accustomed to a hard sell. But now, most marketers cater to a person’s lifestyle. So if you’re selling pricey watches, for example, you might also want to figure out what else that watch wearer might be interested in. Italian vacations? Leather briefcases? Fancy shoes? And then talk about those things 80% of the time. Gary Vaynerchuk in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, also talks about sharing educational, entertaining, high-quality content before landing that “right hook.”

The Point is to Be Generous

The numbers don’t have to be exact. You could share three posts about something other than yourself before landing that right hook. The point is to give something first and be generous. If you haven’t read it before, you might like Social Media: Quick and Easy Ways to Pay it Forward. I’m a big believer in giving first and having some social currency in the bank before asking for a withdrawal.

Ways to Share

If you don’t know how to share, here are some ideas:

  • Give someone encouragement
  • Repost something that restores your faith in humanity
  • Ask about someone else’s health or a recent accomplishment
  • Introduce two people who might have something in common
  • Tell others to follow someone you like!

Why Use the 80/20 Rule?

Let’s see. First of all, people will see you as generous, which means they’ll be more likely to want to connect with you. Secondly, you’ll probably make more friends, and you can never have too many friends in my opinion. Third, you’ll have more loose affiliations, which if you’ve ever read about those, you know that’s the way to more gainful employment!

How Do You Use the 80/20 Rule (if at all)?

Do you believe in the 80/20 rule? Or do you do something different on social media? Let me know! I’d like to hear! And thank you.


  1. I met with the staff of a small bank who wanted advice on social media. Their only network was Facebook. They wondered if that was the place to meet younger prospects, and if so — what should they share? I informed them that at the time 89% of Millennials were on Facebook so, yes. The top topics for this demographic included news, travel and charitable efforts. I suggested they expand their topics and post tidbits about travel. When they asked me how to explain to their boss why a bank would share posts about travel I told them to ask their bosses why they sponsored golf outings?

  2. What a perfect example, Randy! It’s so good that you could think on your feet like that, with a great example. Thanks for chiming in!


  3. This is such an important post, Carol, one I will retweet today! I think the 80/20 is brilliant to follow – yesterday I didn’t (please forgive me! I was bored & stuck at home!!!!!!) but today is a new day for redemption!

    I looooooove how you consistently follow this rule – you’re so gracious and thoughtful! You’re my virtual she-ro!

    A couple days ago (this is related to 80/20, well, kind of!) I retweeted a woman’s podcast info. along with my glowing endorsement of it, and she didn’t thank me for the RT (although to her credit, I think she followed me) That kind of thing really turns me off. It just does….especially when I saw she had time to retweet other people’s stuff the same day. I know I sound petty, but I can’t be the only one thinking this, can I? XOXOXO
    You petty-but-loyal friend,
    Dyane :))))

    • Hi Dyane,
      Some people just don’t realize it’s a good idea to retweet other people’s tweets, too, and just broadcast. Usually those accounts aren’t good ones to follow. Sometimes they’re not even ON Twitter (or Facebook). At the least, it can be annoying. People should thank others for good retweets–at least the old-school type where you take the time to make them look good!).
      Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  4. Dyane Harwood says

    p.s. I don’t even know how to use Google + exactly but I posted it on there & LinkedIn too – I have tons of connections there although I never utilize LinkedIn like I should! :)

    • Hi Dyane,
      Google+ isn’t exactly intuitive, and I know very few people on there anymore. At first, G+ seemed like it might take off, but for the most part, it hasn’t. Too bad! LinkedIn, on the other hand, is still a viable option!
      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi Carol!! Fabulous post, and I’m agreeing with Dyane, it is a bummer if you share and/or comment and don’t get a thank you. It’s important!

    • Hi Sandy,
      People really like to feel appreciated. When someone doesn’t thank you, it’s almost like you’re invisible! And nobody likes to feel like they’re invisible.
      Thank you for stopping by and chiming in, Sandy! I always enjoy hearing from you.

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