To Sell or Not to Sell: What is the Right Ratio on Social Media

to sell or not to sell

To sell or not to sell: that is the question. What is the right ratio on social media of selling vs. non-selling posts? Seriously, think about it. When you’re on social media, you don’t want to see ad after ad, after ad, after annoying ad, right? Yet, that’s what businesses think they should be posting — how great, better, faster, neater, and cooler their product or service is.

I hate to break it to you, but, it’s not all about you!

HubSpot came up with the 10-4-1 rule:

To Sell or Not to Sell: What is the Right Ratio on Social Media

Out of every 15 posts on any given network…

  • 10 are other peoples’ quality, relevant content of interest to your target market — even relevant news
  • 4 are your original content — blog posts or tips
  • only 1 is a direct sales or promotional post

Others say 80/20; 90/10 even 95/5. Recently, I read that on Facebook, it’s 70-20-10. I liked the way they explained it. I couldn’t have written it better myself:

In other words, only one out of every ten posts should be one of your own blog posts. This may seem dramatic, but think about it from the perspective of your followers. If you’re only sharing your own content, then you look desperate and selfish. However, if you’re also sharing other content that your followers will find helpful, then you appear genuinely interested. And when you do share one of your own links, it holds more value.

How to Effectively Drive More Facebook Traffic to Your Blog by Stacy Roberts on

Hint: When you publish a blog post, share it immediately to your social media networks — Facebook, LinkedIn, X (Twitter), and Pinterest. This helps with SEO! Set it up on (free to a point). Then re-share them every other week or so. You can use a scheduling tool like Sendible (affiliate link).

More of them less of you.

Put yourself in your target’s shoes. What are they interested in? Do a survey. Do some research. Once you’ve got a following on Facebook, Instagram, X, and/or Pinterest, the analytics on these sites tell you a lot about your followers. Check them monthly. See which of your posts got the most reactions: likes, comments, and/or shares. Note the type and post more of those. Additionally, look to see how often and what your competitors are posting.

They are thinking, “What’s in it for me?”

Analytics and Insights tell you about your audience. What other things are they interested in? Who else do they follow? Who do they trust for information and advice?

Social Media 1:1 coaching & training

Serve and Share — Don’t Sell – Don’t be a Spammer

“Social Selling” is about sharing and serving NOT SELLING. People will unfollow you fast if all you’re posting is about yourself and how great you are. There has to be a balance and it may take some trial and error to find the right one.

So, what is the right ratio on social media?

These are guidelines. Again, your analytics will give you a more definitive ratio as to what your specific target audience responds to and likes. Based on your analytics, you can more clearly determine what are good, trusted sources of content; what to blog about, and the right call-to-action posts that are more likely to convert a follower into a sale.

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