When it comes to social media, the numbers of followers, likes, comments, and shares are often disregarded as “vanity” metrics, seemingly insignificant figures that don’t necessarily reflect the true value of social activity. However, for social media managers, these metrics hold significant importance as they serve as indicators of success.


1-2 Minute Read

So, are all social metrics inherently “vanity” metrics? Well, that depends on how we utilise them and whether they are connected to real business objectives. Let’s delve into why these metrics truly matter and explore effective ways to leverage them.

These social metrics carry weight for several reasons. Firstly, followers, likes, comments, and shares play a crucial role in building an engaged audience. Without a substantial following and consistent engagement, social media algorithms work against you, making it increasingly challenging for your content to reach your intended audience. In essence, these metrics keep social media platforms thriving and functioning smoothly.

“Vanity Metrics are the numbers you want to publish on Tech Crunch to make your competitors feel bad.”
Eric Ries – Entrepreneur / Blogger / Author

Furthermore, these metrics offer invaluable insights into the level of interest people have in your brand’s content. When someone chooses to follow your brand, they are granting it a place within their carefully curated social feed. Similarly, when they share your content, it indicates that they found value in it and are willing to associate their personal brand with it as they pass it along. These metrics signify that your brand is forging meaningful connections with individuals in a public forum—a unique opportunity that social media provides.

Additionally, these metrics empower you to refine and optimise your social media strategy in real-time. They unveil what type of content resonates with your audience, how you stack up against competitors, and where you should allocate resources to foster further growth.

When value becomes vanity

However, social metrics transform into “vanity” metrics when they are solely used to showcase achievements without being connected to tangible business objectives. Simply reporting on follower growth and engagement rates in isolation contributes to this perception. To avoid falling into the vanity metric trap, it is crucial to present a more comprehensive narrative in your reports, aligning social metrics with broader business goals.

Meaningful metrics

To make social metrics meaningful for everyone in your organisation, it is essential to establish a clear connection between these metrics and specific business objectives. For instance, if your goal is to drive business conversions, track the number of link clicks on your social posts and analyse how many of those visitors actually convert into leads on your website. If your aim is to increase brand awareness, measure the number of mentions your brand receives and calculate your Social Share of Voice (SSoV) to evaluate the impact of your efforts. To enhance the customer experience, focus not only on tracking the quantity of comments and replies but also on how effectively your team responds and resolves issues.

When presenting social media metrics, it is important to keep the presentation concise, focusing on key insights that demonstrate the business value of your social media efforts. Highlight high-level results and provide an explanation of the tactics employed to achieve them. Visualise data and incorporate images to break down information, making it easier for stakeholders to grasp the essential statistics.

While some may consider social media metrics as “vanity” metrics, they can indeed offer valuable insights when connected to real business objectives. By effectively leveraging these metrics, social media managers can demonstrate the impact of their strategies, optimise advertising efforts, and align social media activities with broader organisational goals.

Published On: June 8th, 2023 / Categories: Learning Centre /

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