The Rule of Thirds for Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media has become an integral part of our lives. It’s not just a platform for sharing updates with friends and family; it’s a powerful tool for businesses that has become a central piece of almost every business marketing strategy. According to Statista, as of April 2023, there were 5.18 billion internet users worldwide, amounting to 64.6 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.8 billion, or 59.9 percent of the world’s population, were social media users.

And while the social media network of choice may change every few months, the numbers continue to increase as technology penetrates further into previously unconnected locations.

So when it comes to posting, how should you break down your content? How much should you post about your own promotions? How do you plan out your social media schedule?

In this article we are looking at the ‘Rule of Thirds’. What is the rule of thirds? And how do you implement it into your social media strategy?

Rules for social media posting

Now before we get into this, the rule of thirds is just one of several types of social media posting strategies.

You might come across the ‘Rule of 5-3-1’ that suggests for every 10 posts you make on social media you should have:

  • 5 educate or inform posts
  • 3 audience engagement posts
  • 1 promotion of business and products

Or the ’80/20 Rule’ which states 80% of your social posts should inform, educate and entertain your audience, while 20% should make up direct promotion of your business or services.

Or even the ‘4-1-1 Rule’ which is

  • 4 pieces of curated content
  • 1 piece of original content
  • 1 piece of promotional content

Yea. I know right?

As you can see, there are different ways of structuring your social media strategy, but they are all essentially just ways to structure your content so that you do not post too much, or too little of one type.

The Rule of Thirds, which we are going to talk about in this article, is a great starting place for all social media strategies, that doesn’t require complicated maths or expensive social media planning tools, and forms a great foundation for you to get your social media ball rolling.

So let’s get into it.

Understanding the Rule of Thirds in Social Media

You might have heard about the rule of thirds as a fundamental concept in photography and design, but it also holds immense value in the world of content creation and social media marketing. In photography, it essentially suggests that when composing an image or content, you should divide it into three equal parts both horizontally and vertically. Each section should be strategically filled to create a balanced and visually appealing result. This generally results in images that are more engaging and attractive to the eye.

In social media, the Social Media Rule of Thirds is a strategic approach to curating content on your social media platforms. Just like when you compose your photo using the rule of thirds, the social media rule of thirds is a dynamic guideline that helps you strike the right balance between promotional, educational, and engaging content.

The result, you have a social media feed that is rounded and balanced, while also providing a helpful outline to follow when planning your future posts.

Promotion 1/3

You’ve all been there at some point, seeing the same brand, person or business shamelessly, endlessly posting the same buy me now, click this link blah blah. It gets tiring right? Overtly pushing your offerings may drive your audience away.

But it’s actually really easy for promoting your own business to be forgotten, especially when you’re focused on providing value to your audience as you establish your presence on social media. While these posts are essential for driving sales and conversions, it’s crucial not to overdo them, as excessive promotion can deter your audience. Instead, focus on creating promotional content that provides value and resonates with your followers.

Consider diverse approaches to promote your business. It’s not just about showcasing your products or services; it’s also about sharing insights about yourself, recent blog posts, the story behind your business, your expertise, past experiences, and don’t overlook the power of customer testimonials.

Interact and Engage 1/3

Engagement on social media is paramount, so be genuinely social. It not only humanizes your business but also fosters connections with your followers. These posts encourage discussions, foster a sense of community, and showcase the human side of your brand. You can use polls, questions, behind-the-scenes content, user-generated content, and other forms of engagement to connect with your audience.

Show appreciation by liking other posts and contributing valuable comments. Initiate connections with others and, when appropriate, use direct messages (DMs). Always respond to comments left on your posts.

A smaller, engaged following can often be more beneficial for your business than a large number of passive followers.

Educate, Inform, Share 1/3

Many social media managers stress the importance of adding value to their followers, but what does that mean in practice?

Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes. What information would be valuable to them? Consider sharing relevant industry news, practical hints, and tips. To remain at the forefront of your followers’ minds, consistent sharing of valuable content is key.

These posts aim to inform and educate your audience. Share valuable insights, industry knowledge, tips, and how-to guides related to your niche. Establishing yourself as an authority in your field can help build trust and credibility among your followers.

Sharing content often involves curating information you’ve come across. This entails researching the topics you wish to cover and presenting them in a way that resonates with your audience. You might need to rephrase it in a different tone or simplify it into plain language for easy consumption. Bite-sized nuggets of information are usually better received than lengthy, challenging-to-read posts.


As you can see the Social Media Marketing Rule of Thirds is a powerful strategy that can help you grow your business on social media platforms. By balancing your content into three distinct categories – promotional, educational, and engaging – you create a well-rounded and appealing online presence. This approach not only keeps your audience engaged and interested but also fosters trust and credibility.

It also helps you as a business owner or marketing manager to plan your content. If I post 6 times a week, I should have 2 of each type of post. Open up a calendar and you can really start to piece your schedule together. Monday and Thursday are Promotional. Tuesday & Friday, Educational. Wednesdays & Saturdays are your engaging posts, and Sundays are for cocktails by the pool.

By following the Rule of Thirds, your business can establish a more authentic and meaningful connection with your target audience, leading to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and business growth, whilst simultaneously making your life easier. Win-win.


Got your own ideas?