Social media is a powerhouse when it comes to effective marketing. From building relationships with consumers to increasing brand awareness, there are a number of good reasons why marketers have leveraged social media platforms for their campaigns. As of 2021, Statista reports that as many as 420 billion people around the world are active on social media. That’s a lot of people to connect with and show off your brand to—especially if it meets their needs or solves a problem! Unfortunately, in this fascinating digital space of vivid images and diverse influencers, it can be easy to become ensnared in the culture of “vanity metrics”.
Confused? Don’t be.
Vanity metrics is just a fancy marketing term for likes, comments, and shares that are typically reported on a platform’s metrics. According to 30 Degrees North, it can also include impressions, views, followers, and subscribers, depending on the platform you’re using. While it’s common to see influencers and businesses place special emphasis on vanity metrics on their respective posts, these figures have little to no bearing on the success and growth of a brand. These numbers don’t tell you how well you or a client’s brand is doing to generate leads, conversions, and other desired data. If you’re feeling discouraged over social media metrics, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t be!
Likes and comments don’t exactly mean trust.
Sometimes, all you need on social media is a good picture, an engaging caption about a relevant topic, and the right hashtags to generate likes, comments, and other vanity metrics. That doesn’t mean that your number of followers, likes, and comments are from a place of trust. This is especially true if you are using social media to beg for likes and shares—you need to earn them by focusing on building efficiency for your brand. Post about what you do behind the scenes. Talk about client testimonials or relevant topics within your chosen industry. Hold regular Q&As to engage with your followers. By trying these tactics, you’ll have a better chance at building strong relationships with your followers, which can lead to higher trust in your brand. That way you can provide services that will exceed their expectations.
Likes and comments don’t lead to clicks.
While garnering many likes, comments, and shares on a social post may seem exciting, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain the desired end result like clicks. According to a study from Columbia University, after analyzing over 2.8 million posts across different platforms, it was noted that at least 59% of links shared on social media never received clicks. If you’re sharing links to your latest blog post or a new consultation page on platforms like Twitter, there’s a chance that your followers won’t click on the link. It’s a discouraging thought but you can take some time to consider your messages on each respective platform. Maybe your social media copy needs to re-evaluate or you may need to think about what stage of the customer journey your target audience falls in. The messages expressed through your content’s copy is just as important as any other marketing tactic. As such, you’ll need to see how you can switch up your copy so you can drive desired actions from your audience.
Likes and comments aren’t always valid.
Have you ever received a follow from a macro-influencer and then they unfollowed you a few days later? That’s what I called a sketchy strategy in my last blog post. Some influencers do this all time. Don’t take it personally; it’s their attempt to gain followers through manipulative means. Unfortunately, this practice is also common when it comes to likes and comments. Sometimes, you’ll receive numerous likes from a prominent influencer on Instagram (and maybe a follow), but they’ll never engage with your brand afterward. It’s these types of methods that have largely decreased the value of vanity metrics. You aren’t able to tell who actually trusts and connects with your brand through likes and comments alone. In order to make the most of what social media has to offer, you’ll need to combine your social marketing efforts with website optimization, content and email marketing, and more.
The social media landscape is constantly evolving, and it can be frustrating for marketers to figure out how to approach a platform. Although vanity metrics are irrelevant, you can still use them as a superficial picture of your industry’s community. Learn who your audience is so that you can produce content that fuels their next actions when interacting with your brand. Remember what drives revenue isn’t likes, comments, or followers, it’s a conversation that relevant and engaging.
To drive better conversations with your audience, check out my blog post, The Importance of Effective CTAs for A Website.