Mirror Mirror on the wall, do ‘likes’ maketh us the fairest of them all?

Without getting too ‘Carly Simon’ on you, if you’re vain when it comes to your social media metrics then this blog IS about you.

Vanity metrics refers to data, such as social media followers, likes or subscribers. What’s that I hear you cry? Isn’t an audience that follows, likes and subscribes to your content a good thing? Well, it’s not terrible but let’s reframe it. Vanity metrics  are metrics that you perceive as impressive to others but do not help you understand your performance or contribute to your overall business goals.

Online dating

Imagine your social media marketing as a dating scenario – you’re swiping away on a dating app, receiving lots of ‘likes’ but try as you may, no one is striking up a conversation with you. But you’re liked, so why are you disappointed? Because your ‘end goal’ is to come away from the dating app with some level of a relationship/connection established. Your social media is the same – does the future of your business rely upon ‘likes’ on social media or happy, paying customers? ‘Likes’ on Tinder are the same as ‘likes’ on Facebook – they only serve your ego, not your end goal.

Let’s stick with the dating scenario, you’ve managed to strike up a conversation with someone and you ask them out. You’re on your date, having just spent an hour exchanging pleasant conversation, would you suddenly ask your date to get married? That’s a pretty big commitment to make before your first course arrives! So, why would you expect your target audience to suddenly enter into a relationship with your brand after just one social media post or interaction?

‘Invisible’ engagement 

Have you ever caught up with a friend you’ve not seen for a while and they say something like, “how was your trip to Wales? I saw the pictures, shame about the rain!” For a moment you’re taken aback that they knew about your holiday. Your friend never comments or likes your posts, so you assume they’ve missed it on their timeline or aren’t ‘active’ on social media.

The point here is that your friend has ‘engaged’ with your post by not scrolling past your content and taking it in – it’s likely they’ve had an emotional feeling or a thought about your post. Whether it’s a positive or negative thought or feeling, they remembered your post, they engaged. But which is more valuable to you and conducive to a healthy friendship? The ‘like’ or the chat with your mate?

It’s the same for a business – content on social media that prompts the start of a relationship with a future customer, even one that doesn’t give you their engagement on social media straight away, is far more valuable than a simple ‘like’.

Converting business from social media

It is important to monitor your social media content and ascertain what is working for your overall business goals. If you have an e-commerce element to your business, this is slightly easier to measure, as you will be looking at your website sales. However, don’t be fooled in thinking a sale is made solely from social media; once your audience is on your site, it is the job of your website to convert the sale.

If people are dropping off when they get to your website, this isn’t necessarily because of a ‘poor performing’ post. The content they clicked on may not be reflective of your online business; it could be because your website isn’t loading quick enough; it could be your price points; your product range; it could be the user experience; there could be too many ‘clicks’ to payment. All of those examples are not because your social media didn’t work; it did work, as it got them to your online business. Your social media is one element of the full marketing mix – it is just one cog of the machine.

So, with face-to-face interactions dramatically reducing in society, don’t make the mistake of getting distracted with vanity metrics. Our advice is to ‘Do, Learn, Do’ – analyse not just your social media but your business goals, functions and processes too. They’re all linked and indicative of one another.

Ministry of Fish can support you in analysing your social media tactics, your current business strategy and develop a plan for your approach to social media. Email info@ministryoffish.com today.