Why Social Media Metrics Aren’t As Important As You Think

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by Steve Holt on October 31, 2013

Social media metric tools are plentiful and getting better and better every day. I often recommend various types of tools so that my customers can keep track of their progress and effectiveness in their social media outreach. There are a bunch of free ones as well as some great professional tools that you have to pay for. In fact, some of the social media networks provide you some metrics that are great.

For example, Facebook not only provides you insights into demographics of who your fans are, you can also see the best time of the day that you need to post. YouTube has a great tool called Audience Retention that enables you see when viewers stop watching your videos, which is helpful if you want to find out why people are bailing on your videos before they are over.  Foursquare has fantastic metrics about who is checking in, the times of the day with the most activity, etc.

So I guess I should admit that my post title is a little disingenuous because I don’t think that metrics aren’t important. But I do think that ‘social media experts’ spend too time touting them and too many businesses spend too much time focusing on them.  Look at them, understand them, and note your progress or lack thereof.  But if you focus on the things you need to focus on, the metrics will just be validation for you.

What is more important than the conversion rate of a sponsored tweet or the ‘talking about this’ number of your Facebook page is how many conversations a day you have with customers.  Think of it this way, what is the first thing you do when you go into your Facebook page?  Do you search for your ‘talking about this’ number or how many new likes you have?  Or do you immediately look at the comments that need to be responded to or look for people to talk to?

Spend most of your time in all your social media channels talking to customers, seeking them out, and engaging them.  If noone is talking, then you have bigger problems than your metrics. You start the conversation.  Be proactive. Seek them out. Develop deeper relationships.  Talk to them.  Find out what they like, what they want, and give it to them. Do that consistently and successfully and you won’t have to worry about your metrics.

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