When you’re measuring the performance of your brand’s social media platforms, which metrics do you love reporting on? According to social media professional and Founder of Good Media, Emily Osmond, if you’re only interested in the number of followers your brand has, you’re focusing on vanity metrics.

And what are vanity metrics, exactly?

“Vanity metrics are empty metrics,” says Emily.

To be more specific, vanity metrics offer very little in terms of actionable user behaviour towards a brand. Lots of followers and likes may look good aesthetically, but how many of those users are actually engaging with your brand and converting into customers?

Engagement is key

Emily has a lot of experience helping clients overhaul their social media presence and believes that many brands are followers-obsessed.

“Lots of my clients want more followers – but why? What’s the goal you’re trying to achieve? Once you know that, you can break that goal down into tactics,” Emily explains.

“Sometimes it might be generating buzz about a brand, so then you’d look at improving social engagement on your posts to get more people seeing it. Or if you have a sale on, then you’d want to improve click-through rates on your post.”

Take notice of the metrics that indicate users are genuinely engaging with your brand, such as subscriptions and click-through rates, to gain a better understanding of the value your social media efforts are producing.

Tools and tactics to boost your metrics

Simply telling you to make your social posts more engaging is easy enough, but actually pulling this off is another challenge altogether. This is why Emily can’t stress enough how important quality content is when it comes to improving social engagement.

“You’re not going to get great results if your content is poor,” Emily says. “Imagery is also really important — so investing in photography or video production is a great way to ensure quality.”

Emily highly recommends these useful apps to improve your social media game:

  • Plann: This Instagram planning, scheduling, and analytics app is great for keeping you across effective hashtag sets. It also offers some useful insights into what content is most effective on your platform. This allows you to identify patterns and determine the posts that perform well and the posts that don’t.
  • Hashtagger: This hashtag generator tool is fantastic for identifying trending hashtags relevant to your posts. If you enter one hashtag, the app will bring up 30 other relevant hashtags from the most used to ensure your post reaches the right users.

Engagement versus reach

Another metric Social Media Managers and Marketers are obsessed with is reach. But, is it more important than engagement? Emily explains that reach can sometimes mean nothing if the people who’ve ‘seen’ your post haven’t actually taken notice of it.

“If you’re reaching a lot of people then that’s a great thing, but if users aren’t interacting with your post or taking an action to remember your brand then it’s a wasted effort. Engagement more frequently translates into conversions.”

Pitching the right metrics to upper management

If your superiors are still hung up on tracking vanity metrics such as followers, Emily advices to back your argument with facts and historical data. For example, demonstrate how posts with metrics such as comments, shares, and click-throughs deliver greater results than posts that simply have a lot of likes.

“Show them what’s happening with the bigger brands and industry leading examples of social media marketing.”


Social media fails

Emily says she’s seen many brands who aren’t on top of their social media advertising and their metrics suffer as a result.

“I’ve seen a lot of brands who continue running seasonal ads well after the holidays have ended. This means all of the metrics they’ve gathered during this time are useless.”

If we can learn anything from Emily’s social media words of wisdom, it’s to focus on improving metrics that reflect quality and engagement — the rest is just window dressing.

Eager to learn more about how you can refine your social engagement? Make sure you attend our event: Vanity Metrics: How Social is Your Social Media.

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