The 4-1-1 Rule is a general guideline businesses can use to manage how they share their own content and other peoples’ content and how they engage on social media. The rule was first developed by Tippingpoint Labs as a guideline for Twitter, but has since gained traction and is commonly referred to in the social media marketing world and is applied to other social media sites too.
What is the 4-1-1 Rule?
To be successful with social media marketing, your business has to strike a balance between the amount of self-promotion it does and the amount of engagement and conversation it participates in. Of course you want to use your social media accounts to promote your own business, but if that is all you do, you won’t gain many followers and you won’t be very successful.
The 4-1-1 Rule suggests that you should post four pieces of new content, one repost and one self-serving post. When you follow this pattern, you will achieve the ideal ratio of original posts, engagement and self-serving posts.
What do we mean by these post types?
New Content Posts
New content isn’t necessarily freshly published, but it is content that you have found, on other people’s sites or blogs, that you think would be interesting and relevant to your audience. It is content that is “new” because you are adding it to the social media conversation.
Reposts are posts that you retweet or share from other social media users. This is a way to build relationships with other brands or people on social media and to share more relevant content with your audience.
Self-serving posts are pretty self explanatory. These are the posts that promote your business. They could be announcements, links to your website, links to content you have created or any other type of post that promotes your business.
Why Use the 4-1-1 Rule?
This rule is a good way to make sure you are striking a balance between promoting your own business and using social media to connect with others. It also gives you a strategy you can follow as you post to social media, so that your posts are strategic and you can keep track of what your ratio of self-promoting posts to other posts is.
It is easy to get sidetracked and forget what kind of content you have posted when using social media. This rule can help you stay on track so you are using your accounts wisely.
Should Your Business use the 4-1-1 Rule?
Adopting this rule can help you use social media more effectively and share a variety of posts and content, helping you be more engaging with your market. If your business struggles with finding things to post on social media and knowing what to share, this rule could help.
If you do decide to use the 4-1-1 Rule, it’s important to remember that it is not meant to stand alone. This rule can’t replace a full-fledged social media marketing strategy. A sound strategy will define a target market, have a clear purpose, include goals, tactics, calls to action and will clearly state what kind of content a business wants to share on social media.
However, the 4-1-1 Rule can certainly complement your social media strategy, preventing you from becoming too self promotional or forgetting to interact with others on social media. As you develop your social media marketing strategy, keep the 4-1-1 Rule in mind and see if your business can benefit from using it as a guide to posting and sharing content.