The Daily Egg defines a Vanity Metric as: “A metric that makes you feel good without telling you anything about your business.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The fact is: you can be getting 5,000 likes on your butt selfie, and still be selling zero underwear. So while it may look like your underwear business is hugely successful, you’re one step away from having to move back into your parents’ basement. What are those 5,000 likes going to do for you then? (Apart from possibly getting you some influencer gigs, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Sure, you can measure vanity metrics, but they don’t really matter because they can be easily changed or manipulated. You also can’t directly correlate a like to a sale. These metrics can make you feel like you’re getting results when your business may actually be facing a dire situation.
This is why when clients come to me and say, “we want to go viral” or “we want 100k followers on Instagram” I ask them:
“To what end?”
If your goal is to sell a product or service, 10 likes can be just as meaningful as 1,000.
Let’s look at it this way:
1. You post a butt selfie with a link to your website.
2. The butt selfies gets 5,000 likes.
3. People click the link to go to your website.
4. Your website sees a spike in traffic.
5. You’ve successfully… digitally marketed?
Then you log in to your Shopify site (shameless plug), look at your analytics dashboard, and wonder: Why didn’t anyone buy my awesome underwear?
Probably because they were hoping for more butt selfies on your website. They don’t care about the ethically sourced, made from sustainable fashion, high quality underwear you’re selling.
It doesn’t matter how many people visit your website. You’re not making money off website visits. You need sales.
Sidenote: I hope you have some sort of lead capturing mechanism on your site so you can at least capture emails from those 5,000 people and retarget them later.
Here are my tips:
1) Engage with your followers. The most important time frame is within the first 30 minutes of posting. The example I like to give here is that of Nick Thomm, a Melbourne-based artist. Nick has over 63k followers, yet responds to almost every single comment. He probably has a social media manager who does this for him (the man is, after all, busy making custom pieces for Miley Cyrus), but the point is: Why bother doing social media marketing at all if you’re not going to do it right?
You can pay a university student $20 per hour (don’t hold me to this number -- it’s a ballpark figure) to have him / her like and comment on relevant posts and accounts to increase your following organically. Yes, this is a job. What a time to be alive.
2) Nobody really cares how many likes your Facebook page has anymore. Most users, even after they like your page, will never visit it or see your content in their newsfeeds again. You’re better off running targeted ads and monitoring these closely for performance. Look for which posts generate the highest level of engagement (comments and shares, etc.). These are the posts your should replicate in the future.
3) If you’re struggling for content ideas install the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension and see what other topics related to your keyword / phrase people are searching for. Then look at the related searches.
Butt selfie or “belfie” searches are a hot topic it seems.
Check websites like Answer The Public or go on forums like Quora and see what people are asking about your topic.
Answer their questions. It’s not rocket science. It just takes time to research and create the content.
4) You should understand where your customers are coming from. Are the majority of your website visits coming from social media, organic traffic, paid traffic, referral traffic?
If they’re coming from social media, which platform is driving the largest number of website sessions? Which website is driving the largest number of referral traffic for you?
Some of the big ticket items you should be paying attention to are things like:
- Your total revenue and net profit
- ROAS (Return On Ad Spend - see my other article for a sample case study on this)
- Customer Lifetime Value
- Repeat customers
Stop chasing numbers and start focusing on and appreciating the people who are following you. Don’t neglect them. Don’t forsake them. Give them the white-glove approach, show them content they want to see, and realize how #blessed you are to have them.