I just picked up the latest book from Tim Ferris, the Four Hour Body.  Tim’s become pretty controversial and he’s one of those guys that people either seem to love or hate.  The book is solid and if you like the Four Hour Work Week, you’ll like this book.  But this post isn’t a book review, it’s about some insights for your business.  The whole concept of what Tim does and the point of his books is to find dramatic results, with the least amount of steps involved.  This doesn’t mean less work, just fewer steps involved.

Pareto’s Law And The 2.5%

Most of you probably have no idea who the Italian sociologist and economist Vilfred Pareto is, but you’ve probably heard of his rule.  It’s known as Pareto’s Law, and coined as the “80/20 Rule”.  Basically it’s an understanding that 20% of a sample will produce 80% of the results.

Twenty per cent of the population produces 80% of the wealth.   The top 20% of your sales team produces 80% of the revenue.  In the case of Vilfredo Pareto, 20% of his garden pea pods produced 80% of the pods.  It’d pretty remarkable how this law has stayed true for countless examples.  Is everything exactly 20, or exactly 80…no.  But in many cases, it’s awful close.

In the book, The Four Hour Body, Tim attacks a more precise number…2.5%.  The philosophy, as are all things Tim Ferris, stated as the number to reach “the best results in the least time”.  Now, I’m never one to tell you to do less work, you need hard work to ever make digital marketing and social media pay off.  It’s not about doing less work, it’s about spending less time by staying focused on what works.

How To Find Your 2.5% For Your Business?

Be Ruthlessly Goal Oriented

If you’re going to try and find the formula for more results in less time, you probably need a goal to focus on.  I hate to sound like a broken record on every post talking bout how to define goals for your social media campaigns but until I see more of it, I know it’s still the biggest issue for businesses and marketers.  So define what you’re trying to do and accomplish.  Ruthlessly kill all fluff and focus on sharp, specific goals.

Track The Right Numbers

You need to track everything.  When I worked in consulting in Chicago, one of the mantras that stuck in my head was “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. (and yes I know that’s an old Peter Drucker)  You need numbers and metrics to analyze anything.  But make sure you’re tracking the right numbers. If you’re just starting you’ll need to record everything until you can see patterns develop and give you insights on what online activities have the most impact.

Determine What’s Impacting Your Business – Pick Your Wins

Ideally, you’ll know what numbers have an impact on your business.  But if you’re like the high majority of marketers, you have no idea.  Depending on your business, realistically…web traffic, Twitter Followers, or Facebook Fans probably have had little impact on your business.  If you’ve seen an increase in Twitter followers and an increase in sales, are they connected?  I have no idea, but you need to learn what’s impacting your business.

So look at all your numbers along with the goals you’ve set up and look for patterns.  You need to understand exactly what online activities affect your goals.

Drop What Doesn’t Impact

I’m willing to bet you have a lot of activities and efforts that have little to zero impact on your goals.  After you’ve identified what your goals are and what activities impact them, find the stuff you’re doing that doesn’t move the needle on your analytics and drop it.  The more activities don’t do anything except get yourself to believe you’re working harder.  Pure activity means nothing.  I suggested a while back to delete your social media profiles.  I’m serious.  It’s silly to stay active on networks that aren’t impacting your business.  Staying active doesn’t mean you’re effective.

Focus On What Works – Then Work The Hell Out Of It

Now that you’ve identified your goals, identified the online activities that impact these goals, understand how those activities are moved with the highest frequency…it’s time to attack what works.  It’s a lot more effective to make what works better than to keep trying to make what isn’t.  If you’re still a little unsure exactly how to make these networks more effective, then just analyze more of your metrics and look for patterns.