Does Social Media Violate The 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule is a pretty well known fact. It goes like this:

80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.

Which means that approximately 20% of the things we actually do are responsible for a huge majority of the results we achieve.

The 80/20 rule is a pretty well known fact. It goes like this:

80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.

Which means that approximately 20% of the things we actually do are responsible for a huge majority of the results we achieve.

One of the things I regularly do in my business is a quick 80/20 analysis. I actually look at an overview of what I’m doing with my time and I begin questioning assumptions.

Are those things REALLY leading to results? Am I just doing it because I assume I’m supposed to be doing it, or is it actually benefiting me?

Depending on that analysis, I will sometimes simply drop doing things I used to do, thereby freeing up some of my time (and also a little bit of mental bandwidth).

Does Social Media Pass This Test?

Does social media pass the 80/20 rule?

Look at this fact…

The blogger community, as a whole, spends a lot of time on social media. According to a fairly recent survey of my own audience, my average audience member spends 6-8 hours per week on social media sites. That’s the equivalent of an entire work day!

At the same time, the majority of bloggers are not achieving their goals. They’re not seeing the traffic they want. They’re not making very much money at all. They are on blogs like mine looking for answers, but very little changes.

In the meantime, you’re spending 6-8 hours per week on Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Now, let’s look at the flip side of this 80/20 rule…

80% of your efforts are leading to only 20% of your results.

I’m pretty darn sure that social media activity – for most of us – falls within this 80% of effort category. I highly doubt most people could assign a large chunk of their results to their usage of Facebook or Twitter.

Not only are we spending too much time on social media… but the loss of bandwidth mentally is affecting even the time that we’re not on social sites. We’re more scattered than ever. Some people even have a hard time being present in the moment of what they’re doing because they’re constantly evaluating whether something is “tweet-worthy”, or how they can say something witty to their social friends online.


Social Media… A Waste of Time?

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but most of the really successful people out there aren’t spending a whole lot of time on Twitter.

They might have accounts on Twitter, but they’re either rather irregular about how they use it… or they outsource it. Social media purists would dismiss that as blasphemy, but most social media purists aren’t making that much money (unless they’re in the guru business).

Too many people have this habit of confusing talking with working. If you are truly trying to build an online asset and turn it into income, then talking is NOT work. And social media is basically just that… talking.

Those people or companies who make social media marketing work realize that it is only an addition to other (more effective) marketing channels. It is not the magic pill that the “social media gurus” would have you believe (as they try to sell you courses on how to do it).

The Answer Is… “Yes, But…”

Yes, social media violates the 80/20 rule. It eats up way more time than is justified by the results it brings.

If you’re serious about growth of your online venture, you’d be much better off bringing that 6-8 hours per week on social media down to something like 1-2… and spend that new-found time working on things which directly expand your brand. Guest blogging, finishing that course, finishing that e-book, working on building your relationship with your email subscribers.

Now, here’s the “but”…

I’m not saying you should quit using social media. Not by a long-shot. It is still very valuable.

But, keep it in perspective.

You’re not going to tweet your way to business success. (click to tweet this)

And, yes, I realize that that is a horrible time to ask you to retweet something, but what the hell… 😉

Think about it.




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  3. Well, then you should add that this post suits Intermediate Bloggers who have at least 500 visitors per day or an income of more than $50.

    Because other way how can you guest post? No one will listen to someone who has no results…

    Currently I’m on Beginner level. I’ve got 50 followers on Twitter and whenever I Twit a new post, 7-10 people check it out.Spending 6-7 hours per week isn’t the problem. The problem is how exactly you spend them and who you choose to interact with.

  4. oh, just wanted you to know, dave, i just subscribed to this blog through my google reader.  i thought i already was, but no.  now i will be sure not to miss a post!  thanks! 🙂

  5. some people call social media a waste of time since all they do is play games and not taking advantage of how the site would be utilize or be used. A lot of internet marketers are thankful that this sites exist. For it offers a lot of incentives and benefits to them in the internet marketing aspect.

  6. Interesting post because it reflects the conundrum that many bloggers encounter when trying to use social media as a marketing and distribution medium. While social media provides many benefits, it can be a terrible time-suck and productivity killer. While I’m probably guilty of spending too much time on social media, I’m trying to be a lot more disciplined by tapping into it to distribute content and collect ideas for future posts.


    1. It is a conundrum for many. But, I think even deeper than that, is that a lot of people actually think it IS work. They don’t really think about the fact that it isn’t very important in the scheme of things.

  7. You are right, Dave. I have automated my feeds. So, if I write something new on my website, it gets published on social media automatically. Guess that’s enough. I think one should spend more time in writing quality content.

  8. I “quit” social media 18 months ago. As you say, didn’t see the return. I do respond to people who reach out on Twitter, G+, etc. but rarely do more than RT articles. Facebook is purely social.  Couldn’t be happier.

    1. Yeah. I’ve cut back as well – except for Facebook. It is kind of a vice sometimes for me. Plus, from an ROI on time perspective, I think Facebook is a better use of time – even if it does still violate 80/20.

      But, I’m not quite as active on Twitter or G+ as I used to be. Too busy trying to create valuable stuff and expand my business. 🙂

      1. Dave, why do you think from a ROI on time perspective, that FB is a better use of time?  Just curious.  Are you using it to get your personal brand out (as in yourself, as well as just get your name out there?).  Or are you using FB to get your blog brand out?  Or are you using FB to get your blog posts out, so more readers will see them, both new and potential readers?  Or are you using FB just to talk about subjects that could be blog material or subjects that are in your blog posts?  Okay, this is why I am asking all these Q’s, LOL.  I have not found FB quite a useful animal yet.  perhaps i am using it wrong?  i must be!  bc i have not had success as you have, and am just wondering what you are doing, LOL.  perhaps this is a question you should answer to me in an email, which is ok too.  thanks!  happy easter!

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