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The Social Ratio: An Important Stat For Social Media Marketing Success

Posted by Greg Fitzsimmons on Apr 14, 2015 2:16:00 PM

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Social Media For Brands

You have thought of everything when it comes to your company’s social media presence. Right? We hear it all the time, but trust me, there is one VERY important thing for your business or brand on social media you haven’t considered.

The Social Ratio is the most important aspect of social media marketing you have not considered.

What is The Social Ratio?

It’s your brand’s Followers:Following ratio! You have never given this number thought, have you? You're concerned with how many followers your brand has, right? But, being thoughtful of your company's social ratio might be the difference between success and failure on channels like Twitter and Instagram.

You already know about Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” as it relates to leadership and business or the Fibonacci Ratio in art and nature. If not, be sure to Google both; they’re fascinating!

Below, you'll find a TED Talk by Sinek in which he introduces and examines the Golden Circle. 

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At Red Wheel, we have our own in-house ratio that is a daily topic of conversation with clients. We call the relationship between "Followers" and "Following" ratio on social media channels the “Social Ratio.” It really is important! Here’s why…

Social media is an invaluable tool for marketers, marketing departments, businesses, brands, companies, and individuals. That’s not newsworthy anymore. But, social media is as much a listening and conversation tool as it is a marketing tool. In fact, listening, conversing, and marketing are very much intertwined in successful social media strategies.

How does this relate to brands on social media and what is this Social Ratio?

From a user’s perspective, whenever I login to Twitter or Instagram—always from my iPhone (but diving into why you want to know that customers use social media from their mobile device is a different blog post entirely)—my initial inclination is to ignore brands. I get bombarded enough by outbound marketing. Social media is my time to consume and engage with the content I want, not content that is being force-fed down my digital throat.

However, some brands, companies, and businesses have earned my “like” or “follow” on social media, and those brands who earned my trust and compelled me to click “like” understand the Social Ratio.

Check out how social Contently is on social media. The go-to content marketing and brand storytelling resource has cobbled together an engaged and interested fan base on social media by—in part—conversing, favoriting, liking, and retweeting with its followers.

The Social Ratio

The reason the Social Ratio is so important for your company’s social media success is that social media has to be social. (Fancy that, right?) When a brand’s Followers:Following ratio is skewed in either direction (picture a scale that needs to be balanced), that brand is displaying anti-social traits. 

Humor me for a second… 

Would you want to saddle up at the bar, share a row on the Subway, rub elbows on a plane, go on a blind date, or engage and interact online with someone who only talks about himself or herself?

Once more…

What’s it like to be in a booth with, across the aisle from, in a conversation with, and connected to on social media with a total voyeur, a person who has a keen interest in monitoring or watching you but no desire to engage  or converse with you?

Both are annoying, creepy, and anti-social. Right? Don’t be that guy or gal in real life.   


Social Media MarketingDoes your company like or follow way more handles or profiles than follow it or like it in return? Then I think you’re like that creepy voyeur in real life who always watches but never speaks up or gets involved.

Does your company have a disproportionate amount of followers or fans compared to a minuscule amount of people you’re following? Then I equate you to that lame guy/girl at a party who only cares to hear himself or herself talk, and is not interested in conversation or dialogue.

Both are anti-social. Both are recipes for disaster on social media. And both compel me to ignore or click “Unfollow”!

Don’t be that person in a real social setting. And, don’t be that brand on social media. 


A lot of companies get stuck in a social media vortex where they're chasing numbers. "More followers, more likes, more fans," is a mandate that dated marketers clamor for, without any understanding of the data that actually matters. We stress often that quality trumps quantity, and that we'd rather have 400 passionate and engaged followers than 1,000 bought and indifferent fans/followers. Don't get caught up in the social media arms race. 

Rather, be social, be interesting, start conversations, commit to listening, and get involved. Then, watch the ROI for your social media strategy spike!

[CAVEAT: Granted there are celebs and presidents and mega brands boasting insane Social Ratios, their Followers:Following stats are heavily skewed. But you don't fit any of those categories. Right? Stick to being social on social media...]

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Topics: social media