One of the first things I was asked to create after launching my business was an engagement tracker for social media. This business owner wanted something she could print out to track likes, comments, shares, etc. so that she could hone her content strategy. I made her what she asked for, but I also included metrics like link clicks and CTA completions. When she received it, she immediately asked me why I had included those things and whether they were as important for social media as engagement rates.
Why "vanity metrics" aren't the most important measure of social media success
Thinking in terms of business results seems intuitive, but when it comes to social media we tend to focus too much on how many people double-tapped or left a comment. That’s not to say those metrics aren’t important to track (more on that in a moment), but they’re not nearly as important as actions to which you can ascribe a value. Here’s what I mean:
If your product sells for £100, and you know that 1% of people who visit your website will purchase that product, you need to be spending less than £1 per visit to your website in order to make money. So if you’re spending £500 per month on Facebook ads, you need to be getting 500 clicks through to your website in order to make your money back. And with Facebook pixels and tracking links, you can track that traffic even more accurately to determine how much you’re actually making from your social media efforts.
But what’s the value of a like? How much money is a retweet making you? The uncertainty here has led to these numbers being called “vanity metrics.” They make us feel good, but they don’t actually mean anything for your bottom line.
But that’s not exactly the case anymore.
How "vanity metrics" have the power to transform your marketing
When “vanity metrics” were first being discussed, social media wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now. If a business wasn’t on social media, that was fine. But these days that’s not the case. A Facebook page is pretty much mandatory to be taken seriously as a modern-day business, and having a large following and good engagement on your content offers social proof that your business is worth paying attention to.
And speaking of good engagement on your content, likes and comments may not make you money, but they do tell you what content that you create is going to perform well in areas that actually WILL make you money.
So next time you’re deciding which metrics to track, just go ahead and track them all, vanity and otherwise. It’s a lot to pay attention to, but every metric can provide valuable insight that has the power to completely transform the effectiveness of your social media marketing.
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