Fall in love with the Rule of Thirds

April 5th, 2017


Social Media

As part of the social media team here at Treefrog, conducting social media analyses when receiving a new client has become second nature to me. What’s a social media analysis, you ask? Well, truth be told, you’ve probably conducted a few yourself. That time you found the Instagram account of that cute Starbucks barista and spent a few more minutes than you’d like to admit scrolling down their feed, creeping their photos, and praying to the thumb gods for no accidental double-tap…you were kind-of conducting a social media analysis.

Social media competitive analyses are a great way to get information. Questions like, “What is this brand’s personality?”, “Who is their target audience?”, and “Is cute Barista Alex single?” can be answered through each post, each photo, and each comment.

After having done a number of these analyses, something very disturbing has become clear to me: many companies seem to think it’s okay to talk only about themselves on social. Post after post it’s “Hey, check out OUR website!”, or, “This is what WE sell! Buy it now!”, or, “Here’s OUR phone number to learn more about US!”

To put this into perspective, imagine stumbling on Cute Barista Alex’s Facebook page and finding the only thing Alex shares are selfies and statuses about what he’s currently doing. In your eyes, Alex might start looking a little self-absorbed and a lot less cute. In contrast, imagine finding Alex’s Facebook page and seeing he’s shared information about upcoming local volunteer opportunities, posted links for “Study Time” playlists for fellow students during exam week, and has commented on every “Happy Birthday!” post he received to say thank you and wish each person well. Suddenly your interest is further peaked; he’s into music, he’s involved in a  great community, he has plenty of meaningful relationships in his life…and you already know your wedding photos are going to be SO Pinterest-worthy. Companies need to be the Alex we want to marry! They need to show us they care about more than just themselves. So if you’re a brand reading this and wondering how you can make sure your audience falls in love with you, this is what we tell all our clients during social media training: Follow the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds states that the content you share on your company’s social channels should be evenly divided as such: 1/3 of it should be promotional, 1/3 should be valuable, and 1/3 should be engaging.


This is the one that most companies already have a firm grasp on. This is the content that overtly pushes your goal, such as selling your newest product, or getting people to attend your upcoming event. This content is important because, first and foremost, you are a business and conversions are what keep you up and running. Sharing links to your website’s products and services page or e-flyers for in-store promotion helps your audience find out vital information they need to make a transaction (e.g. Where? How?).

Something to keep in mind is that this content, if done excessively, can come off as too pushy, too self-motivating, and too corporate (something consumers are turning their noses up at nowadays).


This content will help balance out your promotional content and ensure your company doesn’t look too “Me, me, me!” That’s because this content revolves around your viewer and what’s important and meaningful to them, whether it’s a news article that they might be interested in, or links to exciting events in their city. A clever way to still tie this kind of content to your brand so it doesn’t seem random and out-of-place is to think about themes around your brand and share content with similar themes. For example, an auto shop in a suburban area populated with new families could share a magazine article about road trip tips for parents with young children.


This content will also help to make sure your feed doesn’t come off as too promotional. Similar to valuable content, engaging content takes a step back from “Me, me, me!” and instead says, “We”. Through this type of content, you create an opportunity for two-way interaction between your viewer and your brand. A fashion brand might tweet, “Seems like suede pants are making a comeback. Is this a fashion YAY or NAY to you?”, inviting their followers to tweet back at them and participate in discussion on the topic. It’s a great way to show your audience that you care about what they have to say, solidify meaningful relationships, and gain loyal fans.

So, next time you’re trying to decide what to post on your company’s social media page, scroll down and see what type of content you could use some more of. Use the Rule of Thirds to even things out and make your audience swoon…we hear the cash registers dinging and the wedding bells ringing already.

Want to learn more? We’d love to chat!