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How to Know if 80% of Your Marketing is a Waste of Money

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives on May 28, 2021, and can be found here

Advisors understand the importance of social media, but don’t have the time to invest in it.

Because you’re time restrained, I see content like, “Check out my most recent blog to learn more about X,” all the time.

This post won’t get any views. It’s a waste of your marketing efforts.

The problem isn’t the content or timing

It’s the message.

When was the last time you were on social media and a post you saw caught your attention?

Why was that? It spoke to something you were interested in. The problem with most posts is they focus too much on your business, trying to push marketing without engaging your audience.

The solution to this problem is simple. It’s what I call the “80/20 rule.”

Instead of focusing so much time on promoting your own content, focus on improving audience engagement.

To do this, focus 20% of your posts on your business, with links back to your site, blog, etc. The other 80% should help to your audience.

After all, people are interested in what you can do for them. By engaging them where it matters most, you improve the likelihood they will view your business-focused messages as positive.

Below are three strategies you can implement now to start making up for the other 80%.

1. Write for your audience

Focus on your audience’s interests. What catches their attention? What posts on social media are receiving more engagement?

As you look over these posts, keep an eye on the subject. Not just what receives attention, but how is it positioned?

Posts are written a certain way to garner attention from the viewer. For example, notice the difference between these two posts from Thomas Kopelman?

Both posts share the same content. The difference is who the post focuses on. The post on the left focuses on Thomas and his experience as an advisor. The post on the right focuses on helpful information for the reader.

Highlight the benefits of your content whenever you share it, and keep your writing focused on your reader.

2. Become a source of information

Advisors won’t get engagement on their social media posts because the reader knows the post is there to help the advisor, not the reader.

That’s not to say the post doesn’t contain helpful information. Many do.

What matters is the reader’s perspective, and they haven’t been given a reason to engage.

To prevent this, provide resources that are not your own.

At first, this may feel counterproductive, providing information that doesn’t link back to you. But you are positioning yourself as a source of information.

You’re helping the reader stay up to date on information they care about. And you’re not asking for an immediate response.

The next time a study, market change, etc. would be appealing to your audience, save it. Then, when you plan out your social media calendar, include the resource and share your opinion or any relevant information.

Bobbie Dean Bascombe, AIF®, does just this in the following LinkedIn post:

3. Create engaging content

Create content that engages your audience.

Engagement means likes, shares, clicks and comments. It’s whenever someone interacts with your post. Engaging content is fun to create and share. It’s an opportunity to showcase your brand’s identity and interact with your audience.

Some ways to engage with your audience include:

  • Asking users to give their opinion or answer a question.
  • Conducting a survey.
  • Sharing a personal story.
  • Responding to comments.
  • Commenting on other posts.

For example, the brand Fast created the hashtag “Fastronaut” on Twitter to increase audience engagement:

Adding an image to their audience’s profile was not just a fun way to interact. It also doubles as brand exposure, with people across Twitter displaying Fast’s brand name in their profile picture.

Combining strategies

Social media is best used to interact with your audience and support brand awareness.

The 80/20 rule increases your audience’s engagement by focusing on their interests. As you adopt these strategies, remember they are not mutually exclusive.

The best social media posts combine the three strategies above. Don’t be afraid to get creative the next time you’re planning your social media calendar. Your audience will thank you for it!