Vanity Metrics in Social Media (How They Fail to Win Customers)


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It often appears as if the promised land of social media, with its tantalizing lure of reaching more customers, seldom delivers for businesses.

You pump out posts, interact, and run ads, all in an effort to connect with your audience.

Yet, you find that in terms of real-world sales, the returns are less than promising.

Why? The answer: Vanity Metrics.

It’s likely that your business focuses on vanity metrics and is playing a losing game because of it.

In this post, we’ll look at what vanity metrics are in social media and what you can do about them to win more customers.

What are vanity metrics in social media?

Vanity metrics are quantitative measurements that, on the surface, appear to be good indicators of success. After all, more views and followers can only mean good things for your business, right?

Not necessarily. It’s easy to get carried away with these numbers, but they often fail to reflect actual engagement and don’t guarantee customer loyalty or sales.

Take views, for example. If your content is getting thousands of views, it’s great that people are checking it out.

But what good does it do if no one is taking any action after they see the post? It’s easy to get a lot of views by using clickbait or sensational headlines. But without engagement, those numbers don’t mean much.

The same goes for followers. Sure, having a lot of followers looks good on paper. But if they’re not engaged with your content or taking any action, then it’s just that: vanity.

For example, take this published INSIDER story of an Influencer with about 2 million followers who failed to sell even 36 T-shirts from her own clothing line.

None of those followers actively engaged with her content. This only proves that vanity metrics may look good but are of little use, hence the term ‘vanity’ being appropriate in this context.

Why you should focus on engagement over vanity metrics

Vanity metrics can be dangerous because they give the false impression that you’re succeeding when you really aren’t.

Many businesses have built their entire content campaigns around vanity metrics. They spend hundreds of hours creating graphics, marketing copy, and running ads – all for more views, likes, follows, and shares.

But without engagement, none of that matters. You need people to take action and purchase your products or services in order to succeed.

That’s why it’s important to focus on engagement over vanity metrics. Engagement shows real interest from customers who are actually engaged with your brand.

You can measure engagement by looking at likes, comments, and shares but remember that they must tie in with real engagement and conversions.
We’ll explore more about this next.

How to build an engagement-drive social media campaign

We’ve covered that the key to success on social media is to focus on engagement.

Here’s a step by step method on how to do just that.

Step 1: Know Your Audience

To establish meaningful engagement, you must first understand your audience. Delve into your analytics to figure out who your followers are, what content they interact with, and when they’re most active. This information will guide you in creating content that resonates with your audience and prompts them to interact.

For instance, if you’re a fitness brand and your audience responds most to workout tips and health advice, it’s best to design your content around these topics. The more relevant the content, the higher the likelihood of engagement.

Step 2: Encourage Interaction

Inviting your audience to interact with your content is an excellent way to boost engagement. This could be in the form of a question at the end of your post, a call to action to share their thoughts, or even hosting live Q&A sessions or polls on your stories.

For example, if you’re a restaurant, you might post a photo of two dishes and ask your followers to vote for their favorite. This not only encourages interaction but also provides valuable insights into your customer’s preferences.

Step 3: Respond to Comments and Messages

Engagement is a two-way street. If your followers are taking the time to comment or message you, ensure you respond timely. This builds a sense of community and shows your audience that you value their input.

You can do this by assigning moderators or leveraging community-management tools that Facebook and other platforms provide.

Whatever you do, be active and engaged so people know there’s a real face behind the brand.

Step 4: Foster Exclusivity with Private Groups

Exclusivity can breed a strong sense of community and engagement. Having a private group for your brand on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn creates an intimate space where meaningful conversations can take place.

First, being part of a private group gives members a feeling of belonging, which can drive more engagement. People are more likely to interact and participate in discussions when they feel they are part of a special community.

Second, these groups provide an avenue for you to dive deeper into topics relevant to your audience. It’s a platform where you can answer questions, share insights, and provide value in ways that might not be possible on your public page.

For example, if you’re a marketing consultant, you could have a private group where you share in-depth strategies, host live Q&A sessions, or even provide exclusive content. This would attract professionals who are genuinely interested in your expertise, thereby fostering more substantive discussions and higher engagement.

Also, use the right tools to build a community. Yes, I’ve mentioned Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups. But you can also use community platforms like Circle, Skool, and others. And you can build your own membership site.

Remember, the goal isn’t to amass a large number of members but to build a community of engaged and loyal customers. A smaller, more engaged community is far more valuable than a larger, inactive one. This is the difference between vanity metrics and real engagement. In the end, social media isn’t just about broadcasting your content, but about building relationships and fostering a dialogue with your audience.

Step 5: Always be generating leads

In the end, having people in groups and as followers is not enough.

You also need to build landing pages, use opt -in forms, and create lead magnets to generate leads from your social media activities. This will help you gain more customers and build better relationships with them.

The goal is to get your audience’s email address and nurture them with a drip campaign with the ultimate goal of selling something.

That’s how you turn social media engagement into real customers.

Step 6: Have a real face for your business

Don’t just be a brand on social media. Have a real face for your business. Make sure you have someone who is the face of your company and can build relationships with customers, answer their questions, and help them out in solving any problems they may have.

Customers will feel more comfortable engaging when there is an identifiable person behind the brand. This helps build trust and loyalty with customers, which leads to higher engagement and sales.

The Key to Metrics that Matter Rests on Community Building

There you have it – a step by step guide on how to build an engagement-driven social media campaign. Remember, the key to success on social media isn’t about vanity metrics but about building relationships and fostering meaningful conversations with your audience.

Start by knowing your audience and creating content that resonates with them. Invite interaction through polls or questions and try to be a real person on social media instead of a marketing machine.

My best suggestion is to use the right social media tools and platforms to build your community and generate leads.

You need a social media management tool that schedules posts, manages comments and messages, and allows you to build a community of engaged customers.

You also need AI to write optimized content fast and conduct market research. Other things you might need are a CRM and definitely, you need to use analytics (whether from a third-party platform or via your social media account analytics)

At the end of the day, creating an engaging campaign starts with understanding your audience’s needs and interests. It requires you to go beyond vanity metrics and build relationships with customers that will last for years to come. So start building your community today with the tips I’ve shared here!

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.


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