The 10:4:1 Ratio — Or, The Only B2B Social Media Advice You Need

You’ve created your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and your LinkedIn profile.

So, time to flood those channels with all that awesome content you have and all those sweet deals you’re pushing, right?


Your company is awesome. You love your company. So, why wouldn’t everyone else be lining up to hear what you have to say?

Ultimately, because you haven’t earned their trust. Without it, you’re just one more IT company claiming to be the best at cybersecurity, one more construction company claiming you really do actually do it cheaper and better, amid an ocean of hashtags nobody reads except every other company making those exact claims.

That’s where the 10:4:1 rule comes in.

How The 10:4:1 Rule Earns That Trust

Social media gives anyone a voice — but no one has to listen to it. You have to show you’re worth their time.

Now, if you’ve actually got a treasure trove of original stories to share that you add to daily, like a newspaper, then by all means, disregard this advice. But for everyone else, your social media channel likely isn’t a direct means of your clients consuming your product. It’s a marketing channel.

People aren’t stupid. They do know that. They’re not going to go from stranger to follower you for the exciting chance to learn more about your products. Remember, in the modern buying paradigm, the customer will do significant interest on their own terms.

If you want to earn their attention, you have to be helpful.


The 10: Helpful Content — You Didn’t Create

Share other content? But won’t the customer just go elsewhere? Here’s why you should do it:

  • You’ll be providing helpful information at a higher frequency than you can do alone
  • People value social media feeds that are useful much more than they do those that are always trying to sell them something
  • You’ll appear in-tune with current events, knowledgeable in your field, and a lot more trustworthy

You don’t have to send people to your competitors — but you shouldn’t be worried that having them follow a link to some other site is going to lose them. If you can’t put that much faith in your customer, why would they ever put it in you?

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People online are looking for the content they want to consume — not a sales pitch

This is where you need to put the work in, though. Follow trade publications. Associations. Industry-relevant sections of mass media. Particular journalists or influencers who frequently write on your industry. Make up your own list of potential shareable news — and encourage your staff to do the same.

If Joe in sales just had a conversation with you about a neat article he read about growth in the industry you serve, chances are it’s good enough to start a conversation about online, right?

Gather your sources and for every 15 social media posts you plan to publish, have 10 of them be links to these third parties.

The 4: Your Chance to Offer a Hand

Now that you’ve proven you’re a source worthy of some attention and trust, you can fit your own content in.

Any modern marketing strategy should involve a hefty dose of content marketing — which probably means a lot of blogging. Blogs are an opportunity to offer bite size advice about common problems your potential customers are facing.

For every 15 posts, have four be from your own knowledge base. This lets you know your readers that you do produce value yourself and can be of direct help — without coming across as too pushy.

The 1: The Sales Pitch

You do get to make a sales pitch — but only once per 15 posts. Again, it’s a matter of not being salesy, and balancing the amount of helpful content you’re providing.

Use this as an opportunity to showcase an offer. This could be some fantastic gated content you have, a free trial of your software, or even the actual purchase of a product or service.

Don’t squander these posts! People will allow you the chance to make a pitch — but the important point is, it’s only because you’ve earned that chance. If you exploit that chance too far, people will tune out — and unfollow.

Why 10:4:1?


This is just the ratio that seems to work, relatively repeatedly, across a wide range of businesses.

It just feels right to people. In an age where your customer has a heightened awareness of being advertised and marketed to wherever they go, whether in the physical or digital worlds, you simply can’t overstep boundaries if you hope to cultivate good, mutually beneficial relationships.

Provide helpful content at about this ratio, and you’ll see your social media power grow — and even though you’re pitching proportionately less, your conversions will rise to more than compensate.

Keep on keeping on the way you have? Count on this ratio instead: 0 Likes, 0 Shares, 0 New Follows.

At Flawless Inbound, we help companies improve their marketing, sales, and service efforts through Sales, Marketing, and Service Enablement. This includes a solid program of social media coaching and content creation. To find out more about how we can help your marketing strategy, start here.