When it comes to sharing something on social media, your first inclination is to probably share your own content.
And rightfully so.
You have spent countless hours crafting each blog post, creating kick-ass social media images as well as doing your SEO research.
Being aware that you should spend 20% of your time creating content and the other 80% promoting it, there’s no way your not going to blast it out to all your social media channels.
But when is it too much self-promotion on social media?
As a content marketer you need to find the perfect balance of not overwhelming your audience with too much of your own stuff mixed in with sharing other people’s content.
I’ll not only show you a few different ways to create balance, but also how you can go about implementing a social media strategy to automatically balance your sharing between your content and others.
Me too, let’s get started.
Why You Need Content Balance on Social Media
Let me ask you a question…
Have you ever been around someone and all they do is talk about themselves?
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s a bit too much.
If all I am hearing is “me, me, me…” I start to tune them out or even worse – find a way to escape their conversation.
The same can be said for social media.
Look, if you are just touting your own content all the time people are going to start to tune you out and you will be talking to yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I want people to be interested when I have something to say. So I do my best to not make the conversation all about me by finding a balance of what I share.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can find balance in sharing on social media.
Social Sharing Using the Rule of Thirds
A common approach to social media sharing is to use the “Rule of Thirds”. It’s covered in great depth here.
Here’s the basic concept:
- 1/3 of social media posts are your content (blog posts, promotions, etc.)
- 1/3 of social media posts are other people’s content (blog posts, ideas, etc.)
- 1/3 of social media posts are for personal interactions and build personal brand (thoughts, experiences, etc.)
The idea is that you split up these 3 core social media content types evenly among your posts.
As a result, you are able to create a well-rounded social media profile that has a good mix of self promotion, other users content, and personal interactions.
Using the 5-3-2 Rule for Social Sharing
The next rule I’d like to cover is the 5-3-2 rule which was discussed by TA McCann at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Seattle Chapter meeting in 2011.
His 5-3-2 rule works like this based on every 10 social media updates:
- 5 posts should be content relevant to your audience that was created by someone other than yourself
- 3 posts that are non-sales content created by you that is relevant to your audience
- 2 posts should be something personal and non-work related to help humanize your account
This approach is centered around focusing on others (your audience) more than yourself.
5-5-5 Rule for Social Sharing
Another rule you can follow is the 5-5-5 rule by Shai Coggins. Here’s how it works:
- 5 posts about you or your content
- 5 posts about about others (retweet, links, etc.)
- 5 posts around engagement (replies, comments, etc.)
It’s a pretty straightforward and easy approach to implement. It’s important to note that the number doesn’t have to be 5. In fact, it could be 3 or 7 or whatever you want.
And Shai goes on to say that you don’t even need to have equal numbers for each of the three types of posts. Instead, the idea is that you don’t want your social account to look like a broadcasting platform.
This is accomplished by having a good mix of original content, engaging and promoting others and a personable voice.
Define Your Own Social Sharing Rule
There are plenty of different ways you can define a social sharing rule for your accounts and there is not a single, perfect approach.
It’s best to test yourself in order to see what works (or doesn’t) with your social audience. Starting with an existing rule can prove to give you a good foundation to build on.
The important thing is to know what you are doing and measure the success of it (whatever you might define as success).
Once you have found a formula that works for you, there’s a way to help automate certain aspects of it.
Become More Efficient With Your Social Sharing Strategy
Through smart social media automation techniques, you can become more efficient with your social sharing strategy.
I previously asked over 100 experts what their favorite social media management tools were and a large majority of them mentioned a form of social media automation.
Why might you want to use social media automation?
Using social media automation can help you save time with certain tasks and ultimately allow you more time to focus on engaging with your audience. [Check out the ultimate guide to Twitter automation].
And who wouldn’t want to get better with social engagement?
Among one of the most mentioned tools from the experts I asked, was Buffer. If you are not familiar with Buffer, it allows you to schedule social media posts across your various social media channels.
Now you could manually add the different types of social posts to your Buffer queue…
You could automate certain components of your strategy.
Automate Your Social Sharing Strategy
Look, I know automation gets a bad rap from some…and rightfully so.
If an account is automating all facets of their social media account, it pretty much defeats the purpose of social media.
However, if you can automate certain aspects of your social media accounts that will free up more time for engagement, that’s smart marketing.
So how can you automate your social sharing strategy?
By using a combination of Buffer + Bulkly.
As I mentioned, you have to manually add content to your buffer account. And that is great for some.
But for those pressed with time, there is a more efficient way to do it.
Once set up, Bulkly will automatically fill up your Buffer queue for you.
Use Bulkly To Automate Social Sharing Strategies
While the core functionality of Bulkly is to help you automatically fill up your Buffer queue, you can use it for specific needs or initiatives.
In this case, you can use it to automate your social sharing strategies.
Let’s take the “Rule of Thirds” approach.
With Bulkly, you can organize your social media updates into groups. You can have one group for your content, another group for other people’s content, and a third group for your thoughts/experiences/etc.
You also have the option to choose from one of three ways to add the content you want to share to your social media accounts:
- Content Upload – This is ideal for updates that you have in a spreadsheet. The content used here could be your own or others – perhaps quotes or thoughts of your own. Just be sure to use the Bulkly template to build out your file in the right format.
- Content Curation – With a list of RSS URLs (for other people’s content). When you import these feed URLs, you are presented with a list of all items from all the feeds. You can pick and choose what items you want to send to your Buffer account. It’s pretty much the quickest way to do content curation at scale.
- RSS Automation – Similar to Content Curation, this option will allow you to upload a list of RSS feeds but instead of curating what you are sending to Buffer it will automatically select a post to send to Buffer for you.
So let’s walk through how you can use each of these options to build out your social sharing strategy.
Once you have logged into Bulkly, you will be presented with the 3 options I covered above. You can use just one, a combination, or all of the options to create your social sharing strategy.
Social Sharing Strategy Using a CSV/ContentUpload
In your Bulkly dashboard, you will want to click on the “Content Upload” link if you wish to upload a CSV of social media updates. Again, you will need to use the template file provided to create your own CSV, or you can use the web interface to create your content online.
If you used the template, you will need to click the “Upload Content (CSV)” link and upload your file. Otherwise, just click on the “Add Content Online” button to use the web interface.
It’s important to note that you should label all items to have the same group name for each of your “thirds”. For example, one group could be called “My Content”, another called “Other People’s Content”, and the third group “My Thoughts/Experiences.”
Once uploaded or created, you will then be presented with recap of these items. You can make any text changes or adjustments here.
At the top, you will see a few settings you need to configure:
- How many times to send these posts a hour/day/week/month – For the purpose of this post, let’s send 3 times a day to Buffer. You can scale this up as long as your other 2 groups use the same numbers. However, if you are using a different social sharing method like the 5-3-2, you will need to have one group set to send 5 times a day, another for 3 times a day, and the final for 2 times a day (scale accordingly)
- Do you want these posts to repeat/send indefinitely? If so, be sure to enable the “Recycle Posts” option
- Select whether or not you want the posts to be random (Shuffle Posts)
- Select the social media accounts you want to post these updates to
With this configuration, you will be sending 3 posts a day to Buffer for this group. If you want to post more frequently, you can increase this number. Just be sure to increase the other numbers for the social sharing strategy accordingly.
Social Sharing Strategy Using Content Curation
The second option you have to create social media content is through the Content Curation function.
This works by importing a list of RSS URLs in which you can curate content from. So if you have a list of other people’s websites that you frequently share content from, you can upload these feeds and be presented with all items that are in the feeds on a single page.
To use this option, simply click on the Content Curation button.
Similar to the text upload option, you can either upload a CSV of these feeds or create them through the web interface. If you choose to use a CSV, please be sure to download the template file to get started.
You will need to use the same group name for all feeds that you want to use to share other people’s content.
Once you have uploaded (or created online), you will see a list of all items fetched from those feeds.
From here you can sift through the list and edit, add images, or delete any items you don’t want to send to Buffer.
Once your list is left with the content you want to send to Buffer, simply select the settings you want to schedule with:
- Frequency (hour/day/week/month) – This will depend on your social strategy. Refer to the text upload section above.
- Choose whether or not you want the posts to be shuffled (random)
- Pick the social media profiles you want to post these updates to
Save your settings.
It’s important to note that you might not want to have these posts repeat. If you don’t repeat them, then perhaps weekly you can go through this process to find fresh content to curate. If you don’t want to curate content from feeds, the RSS Automation option might be what you are looking for.
Social Sharing Strategy Using RSS Automation
Similar to the Content Curation, the RSS Automation option allows you to upload a list of RSS feeds to automate posts to your Buffer account.
To use the RSS Automation feature, click on the link in your dashboard.
Like the other two options, you can use a CSV template to upload your feeds, or you can create them online.
The RSS Automation works by looking at items in an RSS feed and automatically choosing one to send to Buffer for you. For example, if your group has 10 feed URLS, each time Bulkly needs to find a piece of content from the group (depending on your settings) it will pick a feed and then select an item from that feed to add to your Buffer account automatically – no need to curate.
Again, it’s important to use the same group name for all your RSS feeds so that Bulky can lump them together.
What’s cool about Bulkly is that you can assign hashtags to each RSS URL as well as one for each channel. So each feed can have its own unique set of hashtags that get appended to posts added to Buffer.
What’s awesome about this is that you don’t have to use hashtags – you can tag the user. For example, I used the @username in the hashtag boxes for Twitter.
So when a post goes out, it will look like this:
— Chris Makara 👽 (@ChrisMakara) July 27, 2016
This will let others know you are sharing their content.
Pretty cool, huh?
To complete the setup, be sure to configure your settings underneath your group:
- Recycle? I recommend enabling this so that the posts get automatically sent to Buffer again and again
- Frequency (hour/day/week/month) – Refer to the Content Curation section above as this will depend on how your social sharing strategy is setup
- Random/Shuffled? To get the most out of this, I suggest choosing this option so that it is not just the most recent feed item from a URL that gets sent to your Buffer account
- Decide what social media channels you want these posts sent to
When your settings are selected, save your group to start sending to Buffer.
An Automated & Balanced Social Media Strategy
That’s how you can create an automated and balanced social media strategy.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to automate all facets of your social media presence. You should use automation to your advantage in that it will help free up time of curating and sourcing content for your social media updates.
This new-found free time can now be used to further engage with your audience through the content that is getting posted.
What social media sharing strategy do you follow?
Are you planning to automate parts of it after reading this post?
Let me know in the comments below.