Social media analytics platforms created a simple ratio to speak to the relationship between followers & those who are followed. Many look to the number of people that are following a given Twitter user as an indicator of that user’s authority. In turn, the number of Twitter users that a particular user is following (That user’s “friends” in classic Twitter lingo) provides context for the follower/friend ration.
Governor Markell of Delaware has a following of 1,790 Twitter users. He in turn is following 789 Twitter users, (also expressed as “has friended 789 Twitter users”). 1,798 / 789 = 2.27. This is Governor Markell’s “follower/friend” ratio.
- A ratio of less than 1.0 indicates that you are seeking knowledge (and Twitter Friends), but not getting much Twitter Love in return.
- A ratio of around 1.0 means you are respected among your peers. Many people think that a ratio of around 1.0 is the best – you’re listening and being listened to.
- A ratio of 2.0 or above shows that you are a popular person and people want to hear what you have to say. You might be a thought leader in your community.
- A TFF Ratio 10 or higher indicates that you’re either a Rock Star in your field or you are an elitist and you cannot be bothered by Twitter’s mindless chatter. You like to hear yourself talk. Luckily others like to hear you talk, too.
A higher ratio number provides indication of a larger gap. The goal should be to maintain a low ratio/gap, above 1 and below 2. In order to bridge the gap and achieve a lower ratio the user needs to create a balance.
In contrast to Governor Markell, Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has 14,446 followers, and is following 11,672 Twitter users for a follower/friend ratio of 1.23. This demonstrates thatGovernor Patrick follows on Twitter far more aggressively than Governor Markell, which is likely why Governor Patrick has a comparatively larger following. Thus, while Governor Patrick has a much larger following, it appears as if social media tactics, as opposed to pure content or “celeb power” explain at least some of that difference. The time-tested means of building a Twitter following is to follow other users. Inevitably, a certain percentage of the people you follow will in-turn follow you back.
When a politician responds in-kind to follow a Twitter user it can have an extremely positive effect on his/her image in that user’s eyes. People are often elated to find that a political icon has taken the time to follow them. An inbox message from Twitter that says “Barack Obama” is following you on Twitter can do wonders for a person/organization’s ego. Extra points go to politicians that utilize direct messaging (dm) to converse with followers. By following in return, it’s a balance of authority that demonstrates the value of connecting with people on the ground level.
Next in the this series of posts is — ” A Politician’s Role in the Twitterverse: Popularity vs. Influence”
This series of posts on a “Politican’s Role in the Twitterverse” was a joint collaboration between Sandi Fox, Smart As A Fox Consulting (@smartasafox) and Sean Hurley, Hear Forward (@seanphurley).