Explained: The 5:3:2 Rule for Social Media

Business.com / Marketing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

When it comes to social sharing you need to get the balance right, and that's where the 5:3:2 rule comes into play. But what is 5:3:2?

Social media can play a big part in drawing audiences to your brand, but what do you need to do to get them there? What should you be sharing and when?

The key thing not to do is talk about yourself all day, every day; this is the surefire way to turn people off from your brand. It's like that annoying "friend' you have on Facebook who just brags all the time, the one you hide from your timeline or ultimately unfriend.

You don't want to be that brand.

So what should you be doing? This is where the 5:3:2 rule comes into play, and it has nothing to do with football rules (or soccer, depending on your part of the world). With regards to social sharing, it's all about getting the right balance, so think of it as for every ten posts:

  • 5 should be content from other sources that are relevant to your audience, otherwise known as curation.
  • 3 should be content you've created, that's relevant to your audience, or creation.
  • 2 should be personal, fun content that humanizes your brand to your audience, to be referred to as humanization.

You'll notice that each of these areas all have something in common—they're all focused on your audience, not on you. So, let's dig a little deeper with each and see how they can engage your audience and what you can be doing to get the most out of each.

Related Article: Post Like a Pro: Social Media Tips for Every Small Business

50 Percent Curation

So the majority of what you share should be curated from other places and sources that are relevant to your niche and audience.

There's so much content out there, spend time reading up on industry news and be part of the conversation around subject areas you know your audience will be interested in. Sharing content that is relevant and specific to your industry area will indicate you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening.

Some tools to help you quickly curate content for your social media channels are listed below:

  • Feedly
  • Storify
  • Quora

These aren't the only curation tools you can use, but they're a starting point. Remember what ever you post needs to be useful and sharable; it also needs to be relevant to your niche and audience.

For example on Publi.sh, we have curated a couple of blogs from Marketo and Elegant Themes.

Publi.sh tweets

Both of these pieces would be of interest to Publi.sh's intended audience; they're shareable and useful articles. One about simple ways to boost your eCommerce conversions and the other about how to create content that converts. The useful thing here is they are closely related articles that compliment each other too, so make sure you consider what you post and don't just post randomly.

30 Percent Creation

Next you want to spend some time creating content of your own, try to steer clear of the hard sell, if you do this you will no doubt see your follower list decline.

Social media is all about attracting the audience you want and what does this is valuable content. Try creating varied content as well, as this will keep things interesting for your audience. These types of content could include:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Videos

The example below shows this idea of sharing created content that is varied as one is a blog about Slack's impressive business growth and the other is an infographic to help with content marketing lead generation.

Publi.sh twitter

The key thing is these pieces are useful and shareable which should encourage more people to the brand in future.

20 Percent Humaniaation

This is the bit that brings your brand to life and shows your audience that you are human and not just a big faceless corporation trying to sell to them.

Here you can show off your shining personality and humor if that fits with your brand. It can be related to your industry, or it can be completely random just to keep people on their toes.

Funny tweets

Innocent Smoothies excel in this area—dogs that look like Chewbacca has nothing to do with smoothie making and drinking, but it's funny and encourages interaction with the audience.

Dogs that look like Chewbacca

It's fine to post random posts like this if you have the balance right. The result is likely to be more followers as they'll keep coming back to see what other fun stuff you post while also finding other useful content.

When sharing this type of content make sure:

  1. It's the kind of fun that your audience likes
  2. It shows off your personality

Now you know the 5:3:2 rule and how is can work for your brand but now you're wondering how do I keep on top sharing and posting all this great content?

Get yourself onto a social media management tool, there are plenty out there to help you schedule, manage and find content all in one place! Below is a selection of the top platforms to use for your social media management:

  • Buffer
  • HootSuite
  • TweetDeck
  • SproutSocial

To help you with when is best to schedule your posts on each social network check out this infographic from QuickSprout.

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it the 5:3:2 rule to social media, remember it's all about your audience and striking a balance in the content you share. Try not to be about the hard sell and instead focus on content that is valuable, interesting and fun, you want to humanise your brand and get your audience interacting with you.

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