Vanity Metrics: The Ugly Truth Behind the Numbers
Entrepreneurs love numbers.
There is no guess work involved when it comes to numbers, as the old saying goes:
“Numbers don’t lie.”
That’s why as humans we are susceptible to following the numbers even when it’s pointing us in the wrong direction.
Sometimes you focus on the paycheck, ignoring your true desire for what you want your body of work to be dedicated to.
Other times, we as social media users and entrepreneurs, get caught up in the number of hearts, thumbs up, and other forms of being “liked” online.
It’s our social stock market.
Does this make me look cool?
Will people follow and like me?
What is my voice + experience worth to others?
This is the psychology of social media, and it can serve as a good road map to building your online sales, if you don’t get caught up with Vanity Metrics.
The upside to each like or comment is that it is pointing you into the direction your audience wants to go in.
Ultimately, any successful business lets its audience insights steer its success by understanding how to continue to provide your online consumers with a valuable products or services for the long-run. Who doesn’t want sustainable online sales!?
Before we move forward, let’s make sure you are clear on what Vanity Metrics are:
A number that indicates improvement in the progress of your businesses mission for exposure. However, it is only surface engagement, meaning the conversion is a “like” or a comment, but not engaging in a way that supports your business objectives (sales funnels).
It was 2014 when the culmination of two years of writing and publishing "Find Your Voice" was finally wrapping up. My idea was to just share with them the journey of finding a publisher, deciding book cover, and the dates of my nation wide book tour.
I lived for likes and comments. I engaged there.
But, I wasn’t funneling my new audience to convert in a more strategic manner.
I should have been pointing them to fill my email list, to find me on other social media platforms, or even to purchase the first run of my book.
It took me about a year of getting out of author mode and getting into marketer mode. When I finally applied strategy to my posts, my email list grew from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand.
The next challenge for me was to nurture these relationships so my audience found my content, products and services relative and useful. There were bumps along the road, but my audience and I have since gotten into a good groove, allowing me opportunity to diversify my service offerings.
It’s important to understand that conversion points are different depending on your timeline (launch vs. long standing product or business) and strategy (increase email list vs. direct to consumer sales).
There are multitude of ways to funnel your likes and comments to meet your business goals. The first step is getting clear on Actionable Metrics:
Specific and repeatable engagement that funnels your online audience to improve and meet the goals of your business.
In laymen’s terms. Stop posting just to get likes, make sure every engagement is actively funneling your audience to meet your goal, these are known as activations.
You can’t sell hard to your audience repeatedly without them being turned off. So it’s important to remember, conversion points, or activations and ROI’s take time to mature.
The beauty of doing it online, is that everything is trackable – so pay attention to your insights, here are a few ways Selz offers you to track your marketing efforts.
Typically, an activation starts with a sign up offer. Traditionally the focus has been on email lists, but people’s inboxes are starting to become as irrelevant as their mailbox. So, it’s important to have them sign up with you in a multitude of ways beyond just your email list. Think Facebook groups, forums, and online events like webinars or conferences.
Stay relevant or your email will stay in the promotions tab and get no action.
To stay on your audience’s radar, you need to take a look behind the curtain of your vanity metrics (told you they were useful for something).
- What age and gender are you speaking to?
- When do they like your posts the most? (pay attention to image + message + time of day)
- Have you diversified your posts and even website pages to speak directly to this audience?
Know who you are talking to and an activation becomes retention.
They will keep coming back because you are speaking their language, and you will need to because it takes an average of 6 visits before an activation becomes retention and that becomes a commitment to purchase from you.
Here is what you want to keep in mind as you mature your online sales strategy:
Look beyond vanity:
Look beyond the likes, really read the comments, respond, question, and most importantly, what do your insights tell you about your audience. Age, gender, what they read online, what movies they like, what causes are important to them, and so on. It’s all there in the insights, it’s up to you go get deep, instead of being vain.
Start to think in funnels, and set your business objectives in terms of quarters.. Nurture your audience in a mindful manner by tweaking and paying attention to the response.
Retain your relationship:
As you approach your activation funnel, keep in mind solid touch points at every level of your funnel:
- Get them to pay attention
- Get them to get involved
- Groom them to trust and purchase from you. Repeat.
I look forward to reading your ideas and responses in the comments. Please let me know your thoughts, and look out for my next article: Rules of Engagement (coming next week).