Vanity metrics won't increase your bottom line - On Fire Marketing
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Vanity metrics won’t increase your bottom line

Ryan Gosling Twitter followersWe all have that one friend that will tell you, even when you feel like absolute s**t, “You’ve never looked better!” We know it’s a load of rubbish, but for a few seconds it’s nice to feel a little bit warm and fuzzy, despite doing you no actual good. Well, exactly the same can be said for social media vanity metrics!

Vanity metrics are things like the number of likes or followers you have on your account and they tend to be what small businesses concentrate on when analysing social media. Looking at the numbers going up is a nice pat on the back and shows that there’s an audience interested in what you have to say – and while that’s not to be sniffed at – it’s akin to having a bricks and mortar shop on the High Street. There may be a large number of people walking past, loitering and looking intently in your window, recognising the name of your business but is anyone actually buying anything?

We hope that most companies now know buying likes and followers isn’t the way to do things; having a huge but totally uninterested audience is a waste of effort and money. Analysing how your social media is working for your business is essential, however, and it’s all about understanding your goals in the first place…

Outlining goals

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all approach here, it’ll totally depend on the nature of your business. If you sell products online it’s relatively straight-forward, if your products are available in stores your goal might be product awareness and if you’re a service provider it could be that customer service is your social media target.

Whatever it is, it’s important to outline it from the beginning. So many small businesses simply feel the need to be on all social channels because it’s the thing to do, jumping in feet first without a thought for how they’re going to go about it, or even what they want to get out of it.

Achieving goals

Different goals will require different content and methods of engaging with audiences, which is where a social media content planner can come in really useful! Planning ahead in terms of content will help you achieve your goals much more effectively. For example, if year-on-year you’ve seen an increased demand for a certain product over the summer period, having a specific plan to support that product will help make the most of the peak. Equally, understanding the troughs in your market and considering how social media channels could help to combat them.

Measuring goals

There’s a tonne of tools out there that will give great insights into how your social marketing is performing, but often the native tools found on Twitter and Facebook et al, coupled with Google Analytics or a CRM system will suffice. Again, it’s important to understand what success looks like in relation to your goal – increased website sales, greater blog readership, greater customer enquiries – and measure accordingly.

Vanity metrics have some merit and they’re great if you just want your social channels to be an information feed, but if you want to get serious about social it’s time to consider what you want it to achieve and focus on these goals, rather than making the pursuit of follower numbers an overriding obsession.


Image credit: Public domain, WikiMedia Commons