How The 80/20 Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy [Best Of Hyepbot 2012]

6a00d83451b36c69e2016300701db3970d-800wiOver the next few days we'll be featuring our best and most popular posts of 2012.  This one comes from Hypebot Senior Writer Hisham Dahud.

The Pareto Principle, more commonly also known as the 80–20 rule, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business for example, 80% of a company’s profits tend to come from 20% of their customers, 80% of sales are made by 20% of the sales staff, and so on. For today’s music artist, this rule of thumb applies in a more indirect way in regards to how they should properly communicate with their audience.

If you’re only using your social media assets for self-promotion (i.e. band news, show announcements, links to buy music + merchandise, etc.), then you’re missing the entire point of social media. It’s called social media for a reason. The point is to interact and engage with your audience on as much of a personal level as possible.

And guess what? Fans want to interact with you! They're generally seeking those virtual pats on the back in the form of “Likes”, comments and retweets, but they certainly don’t want you bombard them with constant blasts of where and how they can spend their money on you. Besides, your true fans (your loyal 20%) will know all this stuff anyway because they’ve already subscribed to your mailing list.

How It Works

That being said, the 80-20 rule in regards to an artist's social media strategy should ideally work like this:

80% of what you say should be about things other than your music: These include things that speak of you as an individual, and how there are real people behind the band and/or brand. These can be posts about current events that are happening, other artists that you like (and that your fans will probably like too), or anything else that you think will entice them into commenting, liking, retweeting, etc…

20% of what you say should be about your music: Ultimately with social media, it’s a means to an end – you’re looking for fan retention and conversion. Keep them engaged so that when you do make your band announcements, they’re that much more impactful. Now that they have a better idea of who you are as an individual, they’re more personally invested in you and therefore want to see you succeed. Just be sure to keep it simple and avoid the "salesman" lingo.  

Keep It Real

There was a terrific quote that I came across recently:

“Our lives are a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time.”

Not every post needs to be an epic post about how you've reached a new milestone. The world doesn't work like that, so drop the facade. Your approach to social media should be an extension of real world interactions you have with your fans. Think about it – the closest thing artists of the past had to social media were in-store appearances. And anyone who’s ever been to an in-store knows exactly just how “personal” those moments were; standing in line for two hours, getting 15 seconds with the artist (maybe a photo), and then telling your friends how you awesome it was.

Social media has made it easier than ever for an artist to nourish, and ultimately, manage their fan base. It has broken down the walls between artist and fan to create the possibility of a connection that was once never possible. To not capitalize on the true benefits social media has to offer is simply irresponsible at this point. 

Have another viewpoint? Please leave your comments below.

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Writer for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is a lead digital strategist for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. wow this looks an awful lot like parts of an article I wrote for the Music Business Journal and in July of 2010:
    and also posted on my blog in Aug of 2010:
    to be clear, I’m not accusing anyone here of anything. i am, however, frustrated by the frequency with which my articles/ideas – intentionally or otherwise – end up being tossed around without any reference back. It just seems like a quick google search might turn these things up.
    who knows.
    i certainly didn’t invent the 80/20 rule.
    i did, however, apply it to the music business/social media some time ago, and, i’m a fairly prolific writer on the music business.
    in any case, happy holidays.

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  3. Recently Josh Urban went on a musical tour by train stopping in a series of cities to play on the street. He amplified the tour via social media including use of the hashtag #JURT on social media sites, for Josh Urban Rail Tour, and live broadcasts via Google+ Hangouts. I talked to him after his tour to find out what he learned and what he plans to do differently next time.
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  4. I can’t help but agree with you. I am on the business side of things and I see business too often using social media for self promotion rather than being SOCIAL and engaging with customers. In today’s world where a lot of markets are saturated with businesses you have to make yourself stand out in some way, and customer engagement is one of the easiest ways to do that. I really like the use of the 80/20 rule here and I will recommend it to business I work with in the future.

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