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3 Vanity Metrics You Need To Ditch To Boost Your Social Media Strategy (and 3 To Track)

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As marketers, we all love data, but it’s time to be honest with ourselves and stop measuring the success of our social media strategy with data that’s not helpful. I’m talking about vanity metrics: likes, impressions, page views, clicks.

Measuring your marketing campaign with vanity metrics is like applying an Instagram filter that hides all of your flaws. Sure, you look great, but it’s not an accurate representation of who you really are.

Vanity metrics create the illusion that our social media strategy is working. We’re getting tons of clicks, people are liking our posts, we have THOUSANDS of impressions – but there’s really no value in these numbers. Why? Because they can be easily manipulated and don’t tell us anything accurate about our business or our followers’ actions.

Here are three vanity metrics to ditch, followed by three valuable social media metrics to track in your upcoming campaigns:

 

Ditch: Impressions

Impressions measure the number of people who potentially, kind of, maybe, perhaps at one point were exposed to your content or scrolled past it. It’s all a big guess! If you think this number is an accurate measure your social media campaigns, think again. You’ll never know how many people saw your content unless you actually ask all of them.

Ditch: Likes

Post “likes” make us feel good because they make us feel popular (there’s some psychology behind this one). The more “likes” we get, the better we think our post is performing. This may be true to an extent, and this metric may scratch the surface a bit, but it doesn’t tell us what actions users took after.

A like is pretty meaningless if it isn’t followed by further measurable action.

Ditch: Followers

This is a big one. I can’t tell you how many times brands come to us asking if we can get them 500 followers in a week. Is it possible? Yes. Perhaps with a lot of ad spend. But does it mean you’ll start getting new customers and more sales immediately? No. The likelihood that even half of your followers see all of your posts and engage with them is slim. Not to mention, there are a handful of sites out there that allow you to buy followers. This sounds like an easy solution, but it can get you into some muddy water if you’re not careful.

For instance, Instagram now has over 95 million bots, which account for almost 10% of its total user base. In some cases, these bots even assume the identity of a real person, using stolen images and names. Sounds illegal, huh?

Instead, track these actionable social media metrics:

 

Track: Website Traffic

Rather than tracking the “likes” you get on a post, see how many people are clicking the link you included to go to your website. This will show you which types of content resonate best with your audience and the types of content you may be wasting your time producing.

You can also see how long people are staying on your web page and if they’re clicking to other pages to learn more about your business. If you’re not sure where to start with tracking website traffic, Google Analytics has some awesome free training courses.

Track: Engagement

Comments, shares and saves also give great insight into the content that performs best or which products consumers are most interested in. It’s a step further than simply “liking” something – these engagements show viewers were interested enough to tell you through a comment, share with their closest friends or save for themselves for consideration later.

Track: Conversions

A conversion happens when someone completes the action you’ve requested in your social media post. This can be a purchase, it can be signing up for a webinar, downloading a resource, submitting contact information or even getting customer feedback. It shows your post is effective and initiates action from the viewer. You can track conversions on specific web pages by setting up goals in Google Analytics.

Remember, not all data is helpful data. If you find yourself hung up on the vanity metrics, think about whether they’re actionable or not. Focusing on more insightful metrics will make a huge difference when reporting on your next social media strategy.

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