3 : It's the Magic Number Social media | Neil Wilkins | 11 September 2017

The number three and the division of things by thirds, has been at the core of true balance since the beginning of the universe and it is as true today as it has always been.

And so it is in social networking, where balancing the three core content elements, provides a simple yet highly powerful flow of engagement.

“Everybody wants to be a deejay. Everybody wants to be an emcee. But being speakers are the best. And you don't have to guess.” De La Soul

The number three and the division of things by thirds, has been at the core of true balance since the beginning of the universe and it is as true today as it has always been.

In nature, things occur in threes. When was the last time you saw a four leaf clover? In photography and art we see countless examples of how division of a scene by thirds, provides a visual balance and comfort.

And so it is in social networking, where balancing the three core content elements, provides a simple yet highly powerful flow of engagement. Here is how it works:

Personal: One third of everything you publish should be about getting to know you. You being yourself, your team, your company or your brand. The clue is in the word ‘social’. The more you can make it personal and about people the more effective this third. It’s vital in both service and product driven organisations that the people behind the organisation are seen by the audience as real, authentic and true.

Point: One third of your content should be pointing; signposting to current, relevant and informed content that adds value to the audience’s experience. If something stopped you in your tracks and you were informed, educated, entertained, then perhaps it’s likely that your audience will be too. If you intimately know your audience’s needs, wants, desires and habits (in other words you have created a clear and defined audience persona) then you are in with a good chance of spotting and publishing highly relevant, third party content, for them. This third is critical in the content rule of thirds, because it makes you unpredictable. There is nothing worse than talking all the time about yourself and your products and services without interspersing it with thought provoking things that add true value. Avoid being disconnected or hidden by sharing great stuff.

Promote: One third of what you publish can be overt promotion of your products and services. If anyone tells you that you cannot use social media for promotion, then they are wrong. You can, but only if you have already added great, engaging value with the other two thirds.

Remember, the content rule of thirds applies to both social networking as well as other forms of digital marketing like your website and your email newsletters. So the next time you want to write, vlog or email all about yourself. Stop and think again of the Rule of Thirds. 3 really is the magic number.