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  • Katie Burton

Why You Should Ditch Vanity Metrics

Focus on quality over quantity

Clients often ask me how they can increase their follower numbers. True story: A client once requested I get them as many followers as Lebron James…47 million and counting. Before you ask, no, this client was not a professional athlete or a celebrity.


My feelings exactly, King James.

Much like our everyday lives, unrealistic expectations often just set us up for failure. If you have 10,000 followers, that’s great, but what if 9,999 of those followers aren’t interested in what you’re saying? What if 9,998 of them are bots? What if 9,997 of them are not interested in what you’re saying? They’re not going to click on your links to buy your products or services, and your bottom line stays stagnant.

Let’s face it, follower count is a vanity metric. It’s only a small and almost meaningless part of your social media success. So what metrics are important and how do you use social media to grow your bottom line and attract an engaged audience?

The concept of engagement can be overwhelming. Engagement is a big word. It means so many things when it comes to social media. Engagement includes everything from a retweet to a click to a "like". Social media engagement is essentially like a long-term relationship, it takes dedication, the ability to adapt, the insight to consider the other party involved.

If your followers take an action with your content (like, view, comment, etc.) that means people are listening to and responding to your content. If that’s the case, bravo, because that means you’ve done your homework — identified your target audience, set your goals, and selected the right social media channels.

If that is not happening for you, don’t fret. It’s not happening for most business owners. Here are tips to increase your engagement online:

  1. Be authentic. Everyone likes to put their best face forward on social media, but no one wants to follow a robot or someone who doesn’t share their personality online. Did you hit a small snag in your business? Share what you learned. Others will appreciate that they’re not alone and be likely to share your content in order to help others in their circle. On the flip side … did you take a vacation? Share a picture of your favorite place you visited. Everyone likes to see your personal side in addition to your business content. As a general rule of thumb, ask yourself a couple of questions: Is this content going to be valuable to my target audience? Would I think this is worthwhile if it showed up in my social media feed? If the answer to those questions is yes, post away.

  2. Re-purpose content. You have a lot going on as a business owner. It can be challenging to always come up with fresh, new content. Guess what? You don’t have to. Pay attention to which posts are getting high engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.) and post it again. All of your followers are not online on the same day and same time, so schedule your content using a free tool like Hootsuite, to make sure your most popular content is reaching as many people as possible. Evergreen content takes away the stress you feel to constantly create content. It’s the type of content that can boost your SEO, help grow your business, and provide value to your audience.

  3. Ask questions. Your audience is full of information that they want to share. Are you a jewelry designer who’s trying to decide between two looks for your next collection? Share images your options on Instagram stories and ask for your audience’s opinion. A chance for market research and engagement in one post! Another idea? National Grandparent's Day is next month. Ask your followers to share a story about their grandparents. Start a conversation online and your followers will become your community.

Whatever you do, please don’t buy followers. There are several sites that offer thousands of followers in minutes. Does that sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. While you will receive a boost in your follower numbers, most of them will be bots. Bots are fake accounts run by computers. Bots are not going to increase your bottom line because they can’t buy your products or services.

Have you had good (or bad) luck with engagement online? I’d love to hear about your successes or struggles below. 👇 Let’s help each other out. We’re all in this together!

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