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.

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.

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.