An often used business tenet is the 80/20 rule. This ratio is derived from the Pareto Principle which states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who in 1906 detected that 20% of the citizens owned 80% of the land in Italy. Economists have observed that the wealthiest 20% of the population enjoys almost 80% of available resources.
In business, this rule translates to: 20% of your clients account for 80% of your sales revenue. What we are looking at is how the 80/20 rule comes into play in social media. Simply put, it means 20% of online users account for 80% of online activity. For that matter, any internet activity that calls for user participation will have its share of light users and heavy users. It happens to be a fact that 80% of the online activity is a result of the contribution of only 20% of users. Say, 80% of all blogging activity can be credited to 20% of the total online bloggers.
Social media activity of businesses is usually aimed at a target audience. It has been noticed in social media that 80% of the updates come from 20% of the users. For instance, only 20% of the entire community of followers on your site may be posting messages, tweets etc. Most businesses that invest in social media only cater to 20% of their customer base. Of course, given that most SMBs have jumped onto the social media brand-wagon only in the recent past, they haven’t yet pulled enough statistics that will determine the ROI on their online marketing initiatives.
Normally, 80% of the social media content of a business would be exclusively devoted to its products, customers, and so on, while 20% of the content would deal with general data such as sales, track record and so on. Just as a person who talks only about himself will be avoided by his peers, similarly, a company that solely focuses on itself will be ignored by customers. Thus, social media has to be employed effectively to attract the low-performing 80% of customers. Setting up forums, videos, chats or webinars to promote products/services should be encouraged and the content should be interesting enough to rope in the otherwise inactive customer base.
Social media experts feel it is high time that businesses start treating social media on an equal footing with other communication initiatives.