We’ve all got that one friend that brags about their high-flying job, their awesome love life or the swanky Apple Watch they just bought … and if you can’t think of who it is in your group then chances are, it’s you.


Anyway my point is those self-obsessed people are really irritating. Eventually you switch off and stop entertaining it, right?

So when it comes to marketing brands, why do we think it’s ok to be self-involved on our social feeds?

Understandably you want to produce branded content so that you can sell more stuff, but to do that you need to grow a large following of loyal fans – and you’ll never achieve that if you don’t indulge their interests once in a while.

So that’s why the 5:3:2 rule exists.

Wait, what is the 5:3:2 rule?

Sorry football fans but we’re not talking about those kind of rules.

When it comes to social sharing, the 5:3:2 rule is a ratio to follow for a well-rounded social strategy that will keep your fans engaged – and help you build more followers.

So for example, if you publish 10 posts per week then:

5: Should be content from others that is relevant to your audience.

3: Should be content from you that is relevant to your audience but not sales focused.

2: Should be personal, fun content that helps humanise your brand.

The key takeaway here is that everything you publish on your social feeds should be posted with your audience firmly in mind. But how do you achieve this?

Check out these 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Post 50% curated content

So the first step is to make sure the bulk of your content is curated from other places that are relevant to your niche.

The good news is, there’s a whole world of content out there that you can share. So all you gotta do is find the content that will resonate with your audience!

What do they like to share? What do they like to consume? You gotta do your research and find topics that your customers care about.

To do this, check out places such as:

  • Forums
  • Trending topics across social
  • Facebook interest lists
  • Quora
  • Reddit

Once you’ve got to grips with the type of content you like, you can then go ahead and find that content.

I’d recommend using content curation tools such as:

So for example when it comes to curated content on our feeds, we share content like this that we found from Gary Vaynerchuck:

Video marketing

The reason it works is because it’s a useful, shareable piece of content about video marketing that our audience (business owners looking to improve their ROI) would be interested in reading. The article seeks out to explain how a video can help increase your engagement on social media pages – making it the perfect type of curated content for us to post.

When posting curated content make sure it’s:

  • Relevant to your niche
  • Relevant to your audience

Step 2: Post 30% of your own content

Next step is to post your own content so now you can breathe a sigh of relief as you have the freedom to start talking about yourself!

Well kinda…

You can post offers or promotions if you wish, but try to remember that social media isn’t the best place to give it the hard sell. That’s a sure fire way to see your followers quickly decline.

Social media is all about attracting an audience with valuable content which will in-turn push people to your site and further along the buyers journey – so focus your efforts on creating blogs, infographics, eBook and videos to post, rather than offers.

For example, we recently created a series of mini infographics with fun facts about social media day. As you can see below, the content provides useful information that is tied to a trending topic meaning it’s more likely to be shared. And because it includes our logo, it’ll help us increase our brand’s reach!

Video marketing facts

When sharing your own content make sure:

  • It’s useful, valuable and shareable
  • It doesn’t focus on the hard sell
  • It includes your logo so people know you created it

Step 3: Post 20% fun content

Ah, every Social Media Execs dream: finding content that’s weird, wacky and wonderfully fun.

Well, that’s if your audience appreciates weird and wacky of course.

Truthfully everyone likes to kick back and consume a bit of fun content somewhere down the line. But just make sure that it’s the type of fun that your audience likes.

So for example, this post below is a funny pun that we just had to share with social. It’s not really related to what we do, but it got a few laughs and scored us some shares.

And that’s ok if you’ve got the balance right.

Social media puns

Or there’s this gif that we created for the latest Terminator movie.

As you can see, it’s a tribute to Arnie, while poking fun at the fact that he’s still making those movies at the ripe old age of 67!

Not only is this a fun piece of shareable content, but it was created by us so it’s a double win for social success.

Terminator arnie illustration

When posting fun content make sure:

  • It’s the kind of fun that your audience likes
  • It shows off your personality

Step 4: Schedule your posts

So now you’ve got your 5:3:2 rule down to a tee, you’re gonna have to set up an automated schedule so that you make sure your feeds are always active.

A social media management tool is the perfect platform to help you do this because you can schedule your posts, manage all platforms in one place, and find content from other sources!

Our top platforms include:

  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • TweetDeck
  • SproutSocial

And if you’re wondering what time you should post your content to get the best results then check out this handy infographic from QuickSprout.


So there you have it – the 5:3:2 rule explained! Remember, the only way you’re gonna build a strong social following is if you think about what your audience wants to see.

Try not to be too sales-orientated, show off your human side, and post valuable content that people would love to share.

Good luck!