You’re F***ing Up Your Social Media Metrics. Here’s How
Your social media content isn’t working — and it has nothing to do with your content at all.
It could be because you’re looking at the wrong numbers, the wrong social media metrics.
In a world where vanity metrics (followers, subscribers, likes, etc.) are plaguing every social media platform and marketing strategy, we as business owners have to be savvier.
In theory, you know that social media has little to do with looking good and more to do with making money from it. But it’s still easy to get derailed by the good-looking stuff.
Social media is a tool to help you reach those business goals. But your posts don’t mean anything if you aren’t tracking the right numbers. So which social media metrics should you really pay attention to, and which can you kick to the curb? Let’s look into it.
The wrong social media metrics to track
Everybody wants results, but not everyone realizes they’re tracking the wrong numbers. And this is a problem we see in every industry, from businesses of all sizes.
In general, we see brands tracking things like likes and follower count. Some track saves and shares, but beyond that, they’re not really tracking meatier social media metrics. And this is where it all goes off the rails.
Newsflash: Followers and likes don’t indicate shit, other than telling you there are some folks out there who like what you post. But does that automatically translate into conversions or ROI? No. And that’s why it’s so important not to put all of your focus on these social media metrics.
What’s more important is leaning into your audience and creating quality content that drives action you can attribute to your content — not just posting things to appease the algo and drive surface-level likes.
Because you could have 100K+ followers and tons of likes on a Reel or TikTok, but at the end of the day if those numbers aren’t converting then they’re useless to track.
What’s your goal?
To decide which social media metrics you should track, we have to back it up a bit.
What’s your goal with social media right now? Not in one or five years from now, but why the hell are you showing up today?
Is it to build brand awareness? Nurture your audience? Launch an offer?
Knowing this will heavily dictate not only the type of content you create, but which metrics indicate success. For example, this could look like:
- Brand awareness: How is the reach of your posts, both individually and as a whole?
- Nurture your audience: How many people are commenting or sharing your post? Are you noticing an uptake of DMs or contact form submissions?
- Selling or launch mode: How are conversions? Are the people coming in from social actually buying from you?
Once you’ve understood your goals and how your social media metrics are connected, it’s time to create a plan that furthers your goals. The best way to do this? Through content pillars.
Your goals advise your content
Content pillars allow you to really target your efforts — and give you better KPIs for how something is performing. If your goal is to actually generate awareness, you won’t be looking as closely at link clicks or sales. You’ll be looking at reach, new followers, and so on.
Which pillars should you focus on? What kind of content does each pillar require? Here’s a brief recap of our signature pillar framework:
- Content that generates demand (awareness): Share the aspirational lifestyle your audience craves.
- Social media metrics to track: Reach, new followers, shares and tags.
- Content that converts (sales): Showcase your offers, who they’re for, what they include, and how they help.
- Social media metrics to track: Link clicks, saves, shares, DMs and comments.
- Content that creates lifelong loyalty (profit): Nurture your relationships by providing value, highlighting brand values, and showing how you’re constantly improving.
- Social media metrics to track: Engagement with existing followers, including user-generated content (tags and shares), DMs, and comments.
It doesn’t matter what platform you’re using, these pillars are a MUST-have for any successful content strategy. Period. Otherwise, you end up with a disjointed Frankenstein’d social channel. And that’s never good for business.
Of course, these pillars aren’t the end-all-be-all of your social strategy — and they will change as your business gains more traction on social.
Adapting your social media metrics over time
The content pillars and social media metrics just shared above are essentially a “snapshot in time.” These are the KPIs and metrics you want to track right now to help you reach your goals, but you also need to have a longer-term vision for how social media supports your brand.
When you’re first ramping up your social media marketing, you might be focused on tracking metrics that support brand awareness — reach, views, etc. — because you’re new on the scene and need time to build relationships.
But if you’ve got some experience and a following under your belt, you’ll want to track the metrics that indicate whether or not you’re making money from the effort you’re putting into social.
Your brand might want to track:
- Impressions and reach (especially over time)
- Engagement (and which pillar content drives it best)
- Conversions (attributed sales and booked calls)
- Response rate (especially for high volume DMs)
- Virality rate (the number of unique views vs. the number of people who share your post)
Of course, if you also add paid social media marketing in the mix, you’ll want to track your cost per click, click-through rate, and more.
The algorithm vs. your best-laid social plans
Of course, we can’t leave this discussion without addressing the elephant in the room: The algorithm.
With constant changes to the algorithm, it’s only natural to worry that your pillars, your metrics tracking, and your results won’t be entirely in your control.
The real trick, though, is to remember that the algorithm is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we drop everything to “adapt” to its changes, we feed it — and it changes how we use these platforms.
For brands who want to drive traffic, leads, and conversions from these platforms onto their own, the best move is to stay the course.
It’s not going to be any particular type of content (Reels, carousels, etc.) that get you the numbers you’re after. It’s not going with what Mosseri says is the next hottest feature of the ‘gram.
It’s about understanding your goals and tuning into your audience to see what content lands — and gets them to take action. There’s no secret formula for making social media work, but if there were, it’d be this.
Want to learn more about creating content that feels right and drives leads effectively? Join our next F* the Algorithm Workshop.
You’ll get the lowdown on the first and only framework for social media marketing that transforms your content pillars from “categories” to brand stories clearly aligned with your most critical business goals!
You’ll also leave with a better understanding of how your social media plan can adapt to ever-changing algos without throwing everything out the window as soon as a new feature is released.
Ready to learn the last content and social media framework your brand will ever need?
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