What’s the Ideal Content Ratio?

By Shai Coggins, Digital Specialist | Blog

May 18

When I read the post, Should your social media strategy follow the 4-1-1 rule?, it reminded me of the guideline that I often share when people ask me about the best approach to posting content on social media.

In the 4-1-1 Rule, it was asserted that for every 1 self-serving post on a social platform, the brand/individual/organisation, should share 4 pieces of original content and 1 re-share.

While I really commend this approach, I’m not sure if this would work across the board. I guess, it depends on what constitutes “original content” and what is the primary aim of the brand/individual/organisation in a specific platform.

What's the Ideal Content Ratio - 555+ Rule

The 555+ Content Ratio Rule

In my presentations, I often share the 555+ Guideline instead. In this approach, I suggest:

  • 5 things about you/your organisation and/or original content
  • 5 things about others — either through a ReTweet, a re-post of someone else’s original content, or a link pointing to resources outside yourself/your organisation
  • 5 responses/replies to show engagement
  • + is all other “value adds”, like using #FollowFriday (#FF) hash tags and Paper.li posts on Twitter or allowing wall posts from others on Facebook. While these are great things to have, I believe these should never overrun your stream.

And, no, I don’t see 5 as ‘The Magic Number’. This is really just a random number that I’ve used. It doesn’t even have to be totally equal. Really, the general idea is just to make sure that your social media account doesn’t look like a pulpit (where you just broadcast information all the time), a rehash (where you just share information that may be found elsewhere), or a clique (where everything appears to be private conversations being held in public).

So, there needs to be a balance of content that comes out of your social accounts. Whatever number or ratio you decide to choose, it’s important to show that your social platform may be seen as a great resource for original content, with a personable voice, and one that knows how to promote others and engage.

What about you? What’s your ideal content sharing ratio?


About the Author

Shai Coggins is the Manager and Chief Digital Media Specialist at Vervely, an Australia-based agency serving local and international clients. One of the company's main clients is Microsoft. Shai has been featured in a number of media due to her online work, including being named as one of Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list (2009).

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