Why You Should Focus on Content, Not Vanity Metrics
It’s an all-too-common fad: business owners paying more attention to the numbers when they should focus on content, not vanity metrics. When you show up for your audience producing content of value, they are more likely to stick around than if you beg for follows or spend too much time on “social media growth hacks” that don’t actually prove to be successful.
In my 4 years of business and over 50 retainer client experiences, I’ve only maybe been asked once about social media metrics in a negative, accusatory tone, and I no longer work with that client (Are you surprised? Didn’t think so!). Even before this client hired our team, they didn’t have a realistic goal in mind, nor did they really understand how social media works! If the situation was anything like the patterns we’ve observed, they were likely relying on sound bites they had heard previously, or things their friends and family had shared with them (not an actual professional working in the constantly changing landscape).
The majority of my clients that I’ve found to be a good fit are very aware of analytics and the implications they carry with them (I am SO blessed and grateful for that!), but there’s always one or two who need a bit more education on the topic - and that’s totally okay!
In case you’re someone who is feeling bogged down by metrics and not sure what any of it means, let’s take a minute to break down the mystery of some of the most common social media analytics, shall we?
Common social media metrics.
Reach is the total number of individual people whom you reached at any given time with your post (who saw / read your post).
An impression is any time that your post appeared in an individual’s social feed (this doesn’t mean they read it that many times, or at all, it just means how many times it was pushed into a single timeline). This is why you’ll often notice that a post gets 300 reach and 5K impressions, for example.
Any time a user likes, saves, comments or shares your posts, these count as engagements.
Any time a user hits “follow” on a social media profile of yours, you will gain a follower. This is the total cumulative amount of individuals who follow you to seek your updates. Note for Facebook: There is a way to follow, but not “like” a page on Facebook - this is unique from other platforms. Most pages receive more follows than likes, in this instance.
So, what’s a vanity metric vs. a meaningful metric? Every marketing consultant will have their own opinion on this, but here’s our simple way of breaking it down:
VANITY METRICS include followers and reach/impressions.
MEANINGFUL METRICS include engagements, to an extent, as well as any feedback you gather from your customers or clientele.
You’ll want to track how many engagements each post is getting so you know which types of content perform the best and what to post more of that your audience will jive well with. You’ll want to keep an eye on your follower/like count to make sure that you’re growing, but don’t get caught up on trying to achieve a specific goal here - I don’t care if you have 20K or 200 followers, I only care if you are converting them into sales in the long run and showing up for your intentional community.
Nowadays, the social platforms are switching to a much more “Pay-to-Play” environment, requiring that businesses place paid advertisements on social in order to gain a ton of traction. But, don’t fret! There’s a simple way to engage an audience without breaking the bank. How, you ask? Content marketing. Just a little while ago, we wrote a holistic guide all about content marketing, why you need it and how to do it - this may come in handy after you finish this post! :)
The #CommunityOverCompetition Movement.
Founded by Rising Tide Society creator Natalie Franke, #CommunityOverCompetition is a hashtag movement all about building people up rather than competing with each other. We like to take this mantra to heart in everything we do for ourselves and our clients. This also goes hand-in-hand with the mantra of “More Friends, Less Followers.”
When you’re on the hunt for a digital marketing professional, it’s key that you look for the TYPE of marketer that they are. Are they interested (or falsely promising you) a whole bunch of followers? Or worse - do they BUY them? Or are they more focused on cultivating relationships around your brand and nurturing the ones that already exist? Do they want your brand to succeed in the long run, building up brand awareness and authority in your field for longevity?
As content marketers, here at FFM we focus on creating quality connections via production of material that is designed to stimulate interest in your product or service, but not outwardly promote it. Content marketers lean on opt-in freebies and email lists, blog posts chalk full of insightful material, and beautiful images paired with meaningful social media captions that convert into sales and overall brand authority and awareness.
Here’s just a few reasons why we don’t choose to focus on vanity metrics, but instead on meaningful content creation:
The algorithms change constantly.
Unless you’re working directly in the field, it’s difficult to stay on top of the various changes happening to the different social media platforms you are using. Because the algorithms are heading in a further Pay-to-Play direction, it can be difficult to receive as much organic traction as we once did. If you notice your numbers dropping, it’s not necessarily from something you did wrong, but more so the natural trend of the platforms reducing their organic reach opportunities. It’s still something to seriously consider, but also to realistically assess.
You need brand awareness above all.
Brand awareness is the knowledge that your brand exists, plain and simple. By adding a little knowledge in your followers’ feeds over time, you are hitting another touch point for them to remember you. This comes in handy when your followers are looking for someone who makes the product or provides the service that you do. They will already know who to trust and turn to. You can easily miss out to a competitor if they are on social and you are not!
Followed by brand authority in your field.
As you begin to produce content of value that helps educate your audience, there’s no doubt that you will have the potential to be seen as an expert in your field. At the beginning, there’s no reason for strangers to trust you, you have to prove your worth in order to gain their trust and loyalty to your brand, therefore blogging and sharing content of value in the digital realm is key.
Concluding with the creation of an intentional community.
The most important part of social: BEING SOCIAL. Being intentional about creating a community around your product or service is the most integral piece of all of this - if you don’t care about relationships, your business won’t see much success in the long run. Always be sure that you’re reaching out, nurturing your community and showing up every day with gratitude for your followers, no matter how big or little that number may be.
We’re all on earth to feel, love and thrive.
… and everyone deserves to feel a sense of belonging. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to live out a greater purpose of finding what we can give back to others and how we are going to do so. I’m a big believer that every individual has their tribe and a place they can call home - it’s just finding that group that’s the hard part. By showing up each and every day in your own unique manner and showing people what you and your business are all about, you are reaching those who truly needed your message, and slowly but surely curating a tribe of believers (or what we like to call “brand evangelists”) who will keep coming back time after time.
When you put these puzzle pieces together, you get a holistic strategy that showcases the benefits of hiring a content marketer like myself and my team. We’re so much more than “social media managers”, we’re strategic partners along your marketing journey - part of your team that works tireless hours to make sure you’re well taken care of. Yes, the profit will come, too, but that’s not our singular goal here.
We want to celebrate YOU and your incredible business. We want you to receive brand awareness and authority in your field, in addition to having an easy way to share new developments and releases with your tribe. We want to build a more active, involved community and increase the loyalty to your brand by making an impact in the lives of your audience members and showcasing what you do best as it relates to your identity, culture and values. All of this transcends into profit and reducing your overwhelm, encouraging more work/life balance! In our world, the strategy must achieve all results to be called "a success”.
Have further questions about how we work? We’d love to answer those below! :)