This is a question that is asked often:
What following:follower ratio should my Startup have on Twitter?
And it’s a great question, because startups want to make sure that they (look like) they are navigating social media effectively.
MG Siegler on Techcrunch calls the answer to this question Twitter’s Golden Ratio. He claims that if you have a positive twitter ratio (more followers than people you follow) you are less likely to be a spammer. He also thinks this ratio only comes into play once you are dealing with thousands of followers. Before that point you are just building your following.
Building your following
As your following/follower numbers rise you want to start teasing out the mass or spam followers from your tribe. Take a look at the number of Tweets, Followers and Following from your newest followers before you decide to follow back.
If they look spammy (relatively low number tweets, following lots of accounts and followed by very few) it is probably best to not follow them.
If they fit into your niche or appear to have genuine interest in your startup, then you could be looking at an influencer in your space and you want to follow them.
Compare numbers when…
You have thousands of followers or consider starting at hundreds. Now is the time to really start looking at the Tweets that pop up in your stream. Have you picked up some spam followers? Are you following people who really aren’t a part of your tribe?
Now you can ask yourself the ratio question again and then….
Ask the internet – you’ll find people want engagement.
When you ask the internet (or in this case Quora) you find a lot of opinions and suggestions. Some say that there are no conventions; others suggest that you make sure that you always have more following you than you are following yourself.
More importantly, there are the answers that remind us that it is not the number of followers but the interactions of your followers that are key. If you are a startup, you are looking for a couple of things:
- Your tribe
- Potential Customers
Engagement comes from these two sources. You are interested in interacting with your tribe and your tribe leads you to potential customers. Which means that when you engage your following and start seeing genuine interactions – those referrals will give your social media presence a larger boost than a particular ratio of followers:following can provide.
Why buying followers isn’t worth it
Remember, if you Google ‘Twitter Followers’ you find lots of opportunities to buy Twitter Followers. What does that mean? It means that there is a lot of perceived value in having a large following; however, if they are not following you out of genuine interest it is also not likely that they will be promoters of your startup.
Math is fun, but if the Twitter ratio doesn’t necessarily dictate the effectiveness of your startup’s Twitter account. Instead, focus on engagement and building your tribe. Save the math and the numbers for important metrics like organic search.