Posted in Social Media

4 of the Most Overrated Social Media Vanity Metrics

Chris Makara

4 of the Most Overrated Social Media Vanity Metrics

Social media is no doubt filled with big egos and empty metrics. While I am a huge fan of social media metrics analytics, I find it somewhat frustrating with those who tout pointless social media metrics to measure.

vanity social media metrics

With social media, it is important to know what social media metrics matter and which ones don’t. I am not saying that you should completely dismiss the metrics I discuss below, but you should take them lightly and understand how they impact the overall picture.

Let’s take a look at 4 of some of the most overrated social media metrics and what you should focus on instead.

1. Klout

I might as well start this list of with the most pointless social metrics of them all. Klout “measures” a users social influence and determines a score that falls within the range 1-100.

The higher the Klout Score, the more influence a person is said to have. While I understand the concept, unfortunately it is rather easy to influence/inflate Klout Scores. Therefore, I just can’t justify Klout as being a social media metric to give much credibility to. I will say, that I have enjoyed a few nice perks from Klout due to my Klout Score.

2. Number of Social Shares

Twitter Retweets, Facebook Likes/Shares, LinkedIn Shares, Pinterest Pins, etc. are not the social metrics you need to be focusing on. Sure, it means someone is sharing your content and increasing your brand visibility. But are those shares driving traffic to your website? Maybe a little.

I bet if you looked at the number of social shares for each channel and compared it to your Google Analytics data, chances are that the shares far outweigh the number of visits from that source. A large number of people share a link without actually reading it.

Therefore, concentrating on social shares is somewhat misleading if you are looking to social channels for traffic generation. You should be focusing on the number of visits referred to your site through a social channel instead.

3. Traffic From Social Media

While this definitely conflicts with the advice I recommend above, I think it is something that should also be looked at a little closer.

Not all traffic is created equal. In fact, of the website visitors you get from social media, do they visit more than one page of your website? Do they subscribe to your RSS or signup for your newsletter? Do they submit a contact form?

Basically, do they do anything that will ultimately increase your bottom line?

To really know, I would recommend tying Google Analytics goals to social media traffic to fully understand the value of the traffic and results of your efforts.

4. Number of Followers, Fans, Etc.

There is no denying that social media is a numbers game. The larger your follower base, the more people you can potentially reach. However, to really grow these numbers it takes time if you are doing it right. Even when you try to do things right, your profiles can fall victim to fake social media accounts.

Not only do you have to worry about fake social profiles, but what happens when one of the social sites you spent so much time on has become the next Myspace?

The social vanity metric you spent so much time on growing is now irrelevant. A better approach than measuring the total number of fans would be to attribute meaningful goals achieved as a result of your social audience. For example, track the number of newsletter signups or users who downloaded a guide that occurred from a social channel. These type of actions have more of an impact on your bottom line since they are showing signs/interest in what you offer and are ultimately moving further down your sales funnel.

Social Media Metrics Are Important

There is no doubt that social media metrics are important. You definitely need to measure the results of your initiatives. However, you need to be sure that you are measuring social media metrics that matter.

For example: You had 100 new Facebook Fans this month? 

So what? Did they engage with your posts? Click through and visit your site?

You had a tweet that was retweeted 1000 times?

How much traffic did it result in and did that traffic convert a goal on your website?

While the 4 social media metrics listed above might seem pointless at a high level, you can see by digging deeper into each one of them you can find meaningful data to track. Data that means something. Data that helps your business focus on social media lead generation. Ultimately, data that can show an impact on your bottom line.

social media data metrics

What Social Media Metrics Do You Focus On?

When measuring the success (or failures) of your social media initiatives, what are the core metrics that you focus on? What metrics do you wish you had more insight on? What do you find difficult to measure?

Be sure to sound off in the comments below.

Chris Makara

I have over 12 years of experience in Interactive Marketing & Digital Strategy, with a focus on SEO, Social Media & Demand Generation. I am an avid Football Fan, Golf Enthusiast & Ambidextrous Bowler. I can also be found on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  • laurirottmayer

    Completely with you on the Klout thing and I’ve been called a Klout basher. I simply don’t see what I gain from having it. I’m doing well without it. Since my dog, who has never tweeted for himself has a Klout score that’s higher than my son and husband who are actual humans, I just can’t get behind it. ;-) Great post!

    • Chris Makara

      Yeah it is funny how non humans can have Klout scores. Decent scores as well! It is hard to take a platform serious when issues like this are present. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, have a good one!

  • Natalie K. Gould

    Chris, couldn’t agree more. In fact I was just talking about this with a client this week. Too often social media metrics are divorced from “regular” metrics. I take a much more hard-nosed approach when it comes to evaluating social media success — really digging into Google Analytics and letting it inform my recommendations for clients. Google Analytics holds a wellspring of information regarding social media if we’re willing to spend a little time digging and setting up goals. The daily and hourly data I find particularly interesting. Thanks for this blog post.

    • Chris Makara

      Great points Natalie. I agree that so much more detailed/important metrics can be found by digging deeper into Google Analytics as well as setting up various goals. The daily/hourly insight can provide key information on your social media initiatives and definitely help guide your clients into smarter social initiatives. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a great comment.

  • Sneha

    Engagement? I have had several pages with high levels of engagement – but its been difficult to compartmentalize those comments – into positive, negative, action-worthy, irrelevant. FB should start a feature that lets you get deeper into understanding what your followers are saying – will help improvise the product/service/ be practive