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Stop obsessing about vanity metrics on social media


Stop obsessing about vanity metrics on social media

What happened to the days of doing an action and making a difference for one person?

Today, so many people measure success or compare themselves to others based on number of Likes, Hearts, Views or who has more followers.

I know, this might sound odd coming from someone who coaches tourism and environmental organizations how to be successful on social media. But I still try to instil in clients that it’s not about quantity of views and Likes.

You can take the most epic photo of paddling on a misty morning on a backcountry lake, and yet it only gets 38 likes on Instagram. And that makes you feel deflated. You feel like nobody cares. The reality is that you ABSOLUTELY did inspire someone beyond just a like. You probably inspired someone to get outside and go for a paddle. That counts!

What are vanity metrics? Well, vanity metrics is simply data about number of followers, likes, shares, retweets, post impressions (the number of times your post is seen in someone’s newsfeeds), etc. The sad truth is that all of these can be bought today. A large audience DOES NOT reflect your importance or relevance. Loyal, smaller audiences often have greater value than large audiences that may follow a brand but are quiet and not engaged.

Vanity metrics aren’t real customers

Never ever forget that vanity metrics don’t buy products, book experiences with you, or help you keep the lights on. Only real customers do.

A wise reminder is that slow and steady growth wins. Rather than being obsessed on vanity metrics, focus on providing high-quality, valuable content and connecting with the people who matter to you and your organization or business. If you do this, you’ll be rewarded with customers. It’s certainly not the easy route to success, but it works and it’s simple.

If you stay focused on vanity metrics, you’ll waste valuable time growing your business. That’s because vanity metrics give you a false sense of success. You only come to your senses, usually after two or three years, that all the time and energy focusing on quantities of likes and followers on every post has actually netted you very few customers.

Here’s what one of my clients said in a recent note to me:

This was by far the most important message that you shared with us. I often remind myself of this when I get caught up in ‘the numbers’. We appreciate your truth and honesty, as well as a well deserved reality check in your messaging.

You’ll know you’re on the right path when more and more emails or phone calls start coming in and prospective customers start using phrases like “we love what you do” and “you’re a great fit for us.”

Here’s a short video that I made recently about the obsession with Likes and views on social media. I hope it resonates with you 🙂


Gregg McLachlan
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