First, let’s talk about what social media metrics can do for your small business.
Metrics can help you keep track of the success of your marketing efforts. If you jot down goals at the beginning of a campaign, you can compare numbers at the end to see any results — and adjust for future campaigns depending on your results.
Metrics can indicate the growth of your brand’s exposure over time. Maybe your Instagram page grows from 50 followers two years ago to 2,500 this year; you know you’re doing something right.
Metrics can also justify your marketing spend. Say you put a lot of time and effort into Facebook for six months and see slow growth, with about five to 10 new followers every month. The next six months, you start boosting your posts and spending for Facebook ads, and you see 50 new followers every month — you just proved the need for your boost budget.
Thanks, Sam. These sound great. What do social media metrics ignore then?
I had a client a while back ask that we manage his Facebook account. We did all the best practice things. We posted regularly. We shared a mixture of informative and educational posts, fun posts and promotional posts. We engaged with the audience when they commented and shared other partner brands’ posts.
And we usually saw positive-growth metrics every month.
But the client didn’t experience any business growth from our efforts.
People weren’t buying his products or using his service, but it was due to issues completely out of marketing’s hands. All the “likes,” all the page “followers” were nothing more than numbers. None, in his case, had converted into actual sales.
While we had a few other suggestions for this client to help his target prospects convert to customers through other marketing avenues, it’s not uncommon for clients to uphold these metrics as determiners of their success.
How many people saw the blog post? How many Twitter followers did we get last month? How many people will potentially see the billboard?
These numbers start to feel heavy with importance and significance when we’re spending money and putting in time.
And while higher numbers means more exposure and more potential for converting customers, these metrics we all obsess over should come with a red hot asterisk, especially for us small business owners.
*Not all metrics are created equal. **Not all metrics convert to dollars.
You may have had 100 new Facebook followers last month, but look at each of those people for who they are. Are they your target market? Close to your target market? Would they ever pay for your goods or services? Are they even in a position (or location) to step foot in your shop?
Was that increase in blog post views because your proud mother shared the post with all her book club friends?
I’ll admit, I pay attention to the numbers for my own small business and for my clients. But I like to remember that social media reach is more about the quality over the quantity. If you reach that one person who will become a committed customer over the next 10 years, it’s better than you reaching 10 people who will never spend a dime on your goods. Likewise, if you gain a few valuable social media followers one month, it’s better than gaining hundreds who are just seeking follow backs and don’t plan to ever engage with your brand.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t hurt to have high numbers, be it followers or views. More exposure is a great thing for your brand, and it’ll give a good impression to your actual target audience.
But again, don’t let numbers take over your efforts. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes, especially for media like Facebook, it’s a pay to play thing to see real number growth.
And if you’re creating content for your target market and creating it well, they will come — eventually.
Want to start to see your small business see more results than social media metrics? Let’s talk about strategic social media planning together over a cup of coffee!