The 80/20 Rule of Social Media Tracking

by Affect Team on May 11, 2011

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I recently read Richard Koch’s famed book “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less” (I know I’m well over a decade late). For those who haven’t read the book, it’s a modern application of the Pareto Principle. This principle states that 80 percent of our efforts contribute to 20 percent of results while 20 percent of our efforts lead to 80 percent of results. It’s a proportion found in everything you can think of from economics, world population numbers to even dating.

But as someone who works with social media, I couldn’t help wonder how this principle could impact my day job? It turns out many people have had the same thought before writing how this should impact your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn pages. Some of the posts concluded that this means 20 percent of your posts should be about you or the company, while 80 percent should add value to readers (which I’m not sure is a perfect adaptation of the theory, or even true). Another take is that 20 percent of tweeters produce 80 percent of the results (It’s way less than 20 percent in actuality).

While that’s a fine conclusion, it isn’t very helpful to pull analysis from when posting on social media sites. But this principle may be able to improve your social media presence more than your life. Why? When Koch talks about improving your life with this principle, he talks about taking a self-analysis, and really analyzing what you waste time on. But that’s heavily influenced by the opinions you have of yourself. In social media, however, you can access hard stats to analyze every tweet or Facebook post. Meaning you can find the top-20 percent!

By tracking your posts with Bit.ly or even a paid tracking service, you can keep analysis of each individual tweet or Facebook post. You can then see how each tweet performed and respond accordingly. You will probably find that 10-20 percent of your tweets create 80-90 percent of your interactions, clicks and new followers.

What do you do with all this information?

So unlike life, social media provides a way to track this 80/20 rule. Of course, most social media managers already do some form of tracking. But finding a way to add a principle that has impacted other parts of economics and business, could provide a quick way to figure out the most effective strategy when doing outreach on social media venues. This gives your social media manager, strategist or marketing department tools to evaluate and study what exactly connects with target customers. These can then be analyzed and reproduced more efficiently.

Taking it a step further, this level of analysis can be accomplished on all social media platforms, creating one solid message throughout the company, utilizing more effective content. This provides a cohesive message that will attract the most users. It’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Campaigns, Campaigns, Campaigns

This also shows the importance of campaigns, as opposed to picking platforms and posting. A campaign has a cohesive message, and if it’s developed through social media analysis, then that campaign can have an effective message that connects with users on every platform. And the campaign will assure all the tweets, posts and Facebook messages work together, which means your company can capture all of the impact, as opposed to only 80 percent (or worse, 20 percent).

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