You may have heard of nature’s Golden Ratio.
It remarkably turns up all over the place in the natural world – from snail shells and sunflower seeds, to hurricanes and galaxies. Ancient mathematicians picked up on it before the birth of Christ and began using it in a multitude of art and architecture. It’s incredible, and you should seriously check it out.
However, you probably haven’t heard of Social Media’s Golden Ratio, and there’s a very good chance that’s why you clicked on this article.
Social Media’s Golden Ratio is a legendary number that is still waiting to be discovered by you and your very own social media schedule. It could be the key to maximising your digital marketing efforts and cementing your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Finding this ratio means striking the perfect balance between hard and soft content in your social schedules and maximising your engagement. If you’re wondering what the difference between hard and soft content even is, then I urge you to scroll on, dear reader.
Let’s embark on a journey. No maths required.
Social media is not free digital advertising
A classic misconception is that social media is free digital advertising that can have more calls-to-action than a Saturday morning auction.
It’s not. It once was. Not anymore.
For a period of time, a Facebook or Instagram page (business, or otherwise) could make a post and sleep well knowing it would reach the majority of its thousands of fans and followers. It was only a matter of time before these social media channels amended their algorithms to limit how far these organic posts went, thus reducing the value of organic content. As a result, value returned to paid advertising and balance was restored to the digital realm.
This did not mean that there was no longer a place for business pages to have an organic content strategy. Those in the know about social media’s algorithm changes have pivoted and begun to create content that speaks deeply to their audience, with the focus shifting from maximising engagement rather than reach.
Finding that social media sweet spot (It isn’t 1.61803398875)
When it comes down to determining how often to include a call-to-action, think along the lines of a delicious hot chip. A bit of hard crunch along with a whole lot of soft hot potato.
Apply the same approach to your social schedules and you will have one tasty social strategy.
Soft content (content without an explicit call-to-action) needs to make up the bulk of your schedule. You need to have plenty of engaging content to capture audience attention, so that when you do drop in a strategically placed piece of hard content (content with an explicit call-to-action) you’ve built enough goodwill for your audience to actually pay attention.
Your average Instagram user does not follow a page to be sold to; they follow a page to snap up engaging content that is relevant to them. Keep things simple and make it your singular goal to provide them with that content. It’s a bit of a ‘build it and they will come’ situation.
For those who are numerically orientated, we recommend a ratio of somewhere between 6:1 to 8:1 of soft:hard content. There is some wiggle room here to experiment with, but your key metric to watch is engagement rate. Engagement rate will be your guiding light to discovering your very own Content Golden Ratio.
Advertising, as advertised
A truly effective digital strategy still places value on targeted digital advertising complementing organic, ‘soft’ social media content. Today’s audiences are pretty clever at distinguishing paid from earned media, and so there’s no longer any real reason to hide your ads. Let your ads be ads, include that hard sell, shout that call to action – if your ads are as targeted as they should be, then your audience will already be interested in what it is you have to promote. In today’s market, it’s a matter of getting in front of those eyes that want to see what you want to say. Cue blog on the importance of leveraging social media data to determine your audience.
At Elevate, our digital team is always on the lookout for the latest algorithm updates to maximise content engagement. Head to our digital page for more information about how we can help you cut through noise with effective content to help grow your brand, or get in touch today.
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