The 90-9-1 Rule: Retaining Your Followers’ Engagement

Posted on Posted in The BMU Blog

“I paid for 3,000 followers on Instagram, so why is it that I only get 60 likes at best?” This is a question we often receive from potential clients, worried that their marketing budget has been essentially flushed down the drain.

While it’s true that social media marketing is complex and not the easiest tool to use, especially to someone unfamiliar with changing technologies, it can be a powerful way to expand your community and meaningfully engage with them. However, not everything will go viral, a request that most, if not all, of our clients have asked us to accomplish. Viral content is unpredictable, but retaining your followers’ engagement should be strategic and forward-looking.

To create a social media plan that achieves these two things, it’s important to learn the 90-9-1 rule – a principle that guides our predictions for our clients’ social media profiles. Depending on what platform you use, expect only 1% of your followers to actively “engage” with your posts. Whether it’s through likes, comments, or shares, these users always interact with your posts. The following 9% are “intermittent contributors.” You see their username pop up a few times, but they aren’t as active as the previous group. And finally, you have the remaining 90%: lurkers. Lurkers never interact with your posts but they continue to follow you, boosting your follower count but adding virtually nothing else to the quality of your community.

Now that you have this information, survey your recent posts. Do your likes account for at least 10% of your follower count? For example, if you have 3,000 followers, your posts should receive 300 likes within 24 hours. If you notice that they don’t, it may be time to revamp your social media plan and posting schedule. This means constructing a strategy that works with the platform’s algorithms instead of against them.

A few ideas to accomplish this:

1. Post when your followers are most likely to be online (Instagram’s business profile lets you see this information through internal analytics).

2. Follow another guideline – the 60/30/10 rule. 60% of your content should be your own – and valuable. 30% should be shared posts. 10% should be promotional posts.

3. If you’re going to be running adverts, target them precisely based on your own consumer research. If you don’t, you’re likely to have many followers that aren’t interested in your product or service.

4. Don’t pay a third-party for likes or follows. These “users” are most probably bots created by the third-party.

5. Keep track of your analytics. Measure the important data to analyse your growth and understand how to improve your strategy (Facebook and Twitter both have inbuilt analytics).

6. Stay true to your brand. These users behind phone or computer screens are real people. If you wouldn’t like your own post if you weren’t associated with it, why will they? Develop meaningful content that has an impact.

7. Get the experts on board. Just can’t wrap your head around all this? Then you know who to call; Trust the social media wizards at BMU to make the magic happen.

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