The “70/20/10 Philosophy” on Social Media

by Affect Team on July 3, 2012

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Last week was full of different industry events, from TechSet’s networking reception for the countdown to the 2012 Pivot Conference and the PRSA-NY Summer Social at SLATE, to the IABC Social Media Workshop.

While all the events were successful, for the purpose of this post, I want to share an interesting learning experience from the IABC Social Media Workshop, which will serve as a good reminder for social media gurus.

The “70/20/10 Philosophy” was presented and discussed by NYU Professor Robert Noltenmeier. The purpose of the philosophy was to remind us that participation in social media is not about self-promoting, but rather about the exchange of valuable content. A fairly good reminder when we seem to be consumed lately with social networking sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook.

According to Professor Noltenmeier, the majority, or the 70 percent, of professional social media participation should not be about you/brand, but rather it should be about information that is of real value. An example provided was posting information about a magazine or blog that would be of interest to your audience. Based on experience I completely agree with this tactic. This tactic will also help facilitate overcoming the writer’s block we often face when looking for things to post about. Tracking down a unique article and re-posting the brand’s thoughts and position will help create engagement and increase your followers. But remember, 70 percent of your social media participation should follow this philosophy, which means over half of your postings/tweets should have nothing to do with you!

The second part of the formula is a clever way to remind us about having an authentic personality. Twenty percent should be about interaction. While this might not seem like a lot, how often are you actually sending direct tweets to your followers, or posting comments on other blogs? Spend a few extra hours a month trying to interact/engage with your followers to showcase your personality and remind them of your presence. I can see how this tactic will provide long-term benefits for me as I continue to build my own professional Twitter following @BreanneMT.

Lastly, the 10 percent part of the philosophy is about self-promotion. Unless you’re life-casting via Tumblr, be sure to tone down your tweets linking back to your website, promoting your new book or event. Based on this philosophy, we’ll know enough about you (or your Twitter handle!) to not feel annoyed.

As a whole, I always appreciate attending lectures, conferences and workshops. Even if it’s a quick refresher, or welcoming a great quote from presenters like Professor Noltenmeier, “You’re not writing to impress people, you’re writing to communicate.” So, in summary: “70/20/10 Philosophy”:

  • 70 percent of content should be about other information, not about you/brand
  • 20 percent of social media participation should be interacting with your audience
  • 10 percent is promotional

What do you think of “70/20/10 Philosophy”? What is your formula for success?

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