Liz Zadnik on Some helpful rules for social media messaging and content

Happy November everyone!  Liz Zadnik here, aea365’s Outreach Coordinator and sometimes Saturday contributor.  I’m still synthesizing everything from the conference, but I wanted to share some social media tips that I picked up and have been reading about.  

Lesson Learned:  You may know about the rule of thirds in photography and visual design, but there’s also a rule of thirds for social media.  The thirds consist of: promoting your organization or program, linking followers to allies and thought-leaders in the field, and then “fun” information that helps connect with followers and build rapport.  This model feels familiar because of our love of threes in storytelling, nature, and art.  I also find this helpful when trying to organize daily or weekly posting schedules.

Lesson Learned:  There’s also the 80/20 rule.  The ratio attempts to strike a similar balance to the rule of thirds: 80% of the time content is educational and intended to engage your audience in an interesting way – 20% is promotional, for example linking back to your website or recent publication.  It gives you a little more freedom to discover the best combination and schedule for you.     

Social media marketing and messaging research can help us shape not only the way we share our work and insights, but also in program and evaluation design.  These guides can help us organize social media components of program implementation and evaluation.  What are your favorite ways to organize social media content?   

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Liz Zadnik on Some helpful rules for social media messaging and content”

  1. Hi Liz,

    My name is Andreia Arai-Rissman and I am currently taking my Master’s degree through Queen’s University in Kingston ON, Canada. One of our tasks this week is to find an article that we found interesting and communicate with the author that is why I also added my instructor’s email.

    I found your article: “some helpful rules for social media messaging and content” extremely beneficial.

    I work for a College as an Academic Manager and I had not heard of the rule of thirds. I am currently working closely with the Marketing Team posting photos of events the College students create for their Food and Beverage and Event Planning classes, but I was aware that something portion was missing. I will suggest that the marketing team adds the rule of thirds to the posts.

    The 80- 20% rule seems to work as well. I think about myself as a consumer and how much advertisement I would tolerate before trying to find a website that was “better”.

    Also at work, we were asked to improve our LinkedIn accounts and tick a specific setting. It all goes back to marketing. It was an eureka moment to be honest.

    I keep hearing/reading more and more about personal branding. At times, people are too busy focused on other tasks that they forget it. I recall looking at a prospective candidate’s Facebook account to see who the person was. The same happens to many large companies. I have allocated more time to make sure I am adding to my online presence as well. I have not quite defined my personal branding yet, though.

    John C. Maxwell mentions in his book: the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership that you should touch one’s heart first and then they will “follow” you. I find that when you connect with people at a personal level, they are much more likely to help you. I worked with ESL for 16 years of my life and I find that the community is very engaged and intertwined with each other.

    Thank you for your post. I found it to be very informative, fast to read and enjoyable.

    Best regards.

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