Building a successful social media component into your marketing plan is very important. However, trying to get the most of that digital presence can be very challenging.  So often small business managers recognize that they need social media, but struggle with balancing enough time or know actually “how” to successfully implement social media strategies. The 4-1-1 Rule and the 70-20-10 Rule are helpful guides as well as adhering to the fundamentals of social media strategies. Here are some tips:

Fundamentals of social media strategies include:

  • Posting content focused on specific customer needs and not company needs that promotes engagement with the brand through visually-stimulating images, videos, links, and compelling content
  • Content that creates an authenticity about the brand
  • Create momentum through delivering consistent and valuable information
  • Develop a social media calendar – map your content delivery strategy
  • Include a strong call-to-action and push engagement with company’s website
  • Follow the 4-1-1 Rule and/or the 70-20-10 Rule
  • Strive to understand your audience

What is the 4-1-1 Rule?  This pertains to a method of posting content. What this means is out of every six posts, four of the posts should be about one type of content (such as educational or entertaining, content that is new and interesting), one post will be a soft promotion (news, event happening, or shared content, un-gated content), and one post can be a hard promotion with a call-to-action (contest, self-serving post).  The idea of the 4-1-1 rule is to make sure you are varying your post content, keeping the information new and interesting, and not always posting on the same subject.

What is the 70-20-10 Rule? Similar to the 4-1-1 Rule, this is a common guideline for posting. This rule guides a business to have 70% of the posts focused on adding value to the community such as providing relevant business tips, recent happenings, surveys, etc. Then 20% of the content can be from others, such as promoting another’s business or sharing interesting articles written by another and tagging. Then 10% of the content can be promotional and call-to-action in nature such as sales, discounts, introduction on new offerings, etc.

Here is a look at two social media platforms:

Facebook guidelines:

  • Length: Post length should be under 5000 characters –post just enough information to create interest and cause a call-to-action to drive traffic to website
  • Frequency: 5-10 times per week is considered optimum by many studies, but in smaller markets and smaller business settings, having at least 1-2 posts per week should be a minimum. This certainly depends on your market, your industry, the type of audience being engaged, and the objectives of your social media strategies.
  • Best Times to Post: Remember to be consistent and post when peak times are the highest (early morning, mid-afternoon, early evening). Research seems to differ on a specific time, but this is a guide.
  • Interesting Fact: Research by reveals that a Facebook post reaches 75% of its potential engagement in five hours.
  • Why Facebook for Business: Reasons include to build your follower base, improve branding, increase visibility, and help you to communicate and engage with your customers.
  • Tools: For assistance, look into tools such as EdgeRank, Argyle Social, Buffer, and HootSuite. Here is a link to information about 16 free tools for Facebook marketing:

Twitter guidelines:

  • Length: Post length has to be 140 characters or less
  • Frequency: 3-5 times per day, depending on your industry and type of content focus such as tweeting about an event—knowing your audience and market is important to develop the proper frequency as it can vary greatly
  • Best Times to Post: Several studies reveal mid-afternoon weekdays is the best time to post. The highest number of re-tweets often is mid-afternoon, but also right at noon and five o’clock. (Note: This does depend on your audience, content, and location. Research also varies on this, so it is important to track what happens when you post, based on what time.
  • Interesting Fact: Research by reveals that a Tweet reaches 75% of its potential engagement in less than three hours.
  • Why Twitter for Business: Present yourself as having expertise in your industry, join like-minded communities, share links to your website, promote special offerings.
  • Tools: For assistance, look into tools such as Tweriod, Buffer, and HootSuite.

Social media is not something that just happens. It is a process that must be planned and strategies, with objectives, determined. Successful social media integration in the business’s marketing plan is important and can serve as a very important component of the marketing mix, when done properly.

Written by Sabrina Pack-PCM