calling 411At Strategic Growth Advisors, we tell our clients that the purpose of social media campaigns on Facebook & Twitter is to drive potential clients to their website. The 4-1-1 rule does just that! Created by Andrew Davis, writer of “Brandscaping,” and popularized at the Content Marketing Institute by Joe Pulizzi, the 4-1-1 rule states that “for every self-serving tweet [or post], you should retweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”

Like the archaic 411 telephone number that many young adults may never have heard of, this rule is about information. It gives us as marketers, entrepreneurs, and managers a simple guideline for distributing content on Facebook and Twitter. Basically, it stops us from spamming our followers’ and likers’ newsfeeds with promotion after promotion, which is a surefire way to let your social media analytics dip.

Since the purpose of social media is to drive potential customers to your site, most of the call to actions and self-promotion should be found there. The way to drive potential clients to the site is to use soft marketing, which is a tactic of sharing content related to your products and services. For example, if you own a gym and have devised a campaign to upsell to your members AND created a new referral rewards program, do not post them consecutively. In between the two hard marketing posts, share or retweet a health-related article, photo, or video that a follower has posted. Then create 4 posts that are a mix of videos, pictures, and articles from yourself or other authoritative websites. Perhaps a healthy recipe, photos that show a new ab workout, an article about why lifting weights is good for you, and a video about how to run with the correct form.

Soft marketing creates trust between a business and a potential sale. Ideally, the consumer will begin to see your business as a helpful expert, and when they are ready for the offered products or services, they will remember your business as a leader. So, there’s the 411 on the 4-1-1 rule!

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