In my opinion, one of the best things about using social media as a marketing platform is it’s sheer measurability. With so many other forms of marketing you are left scratching your head and wondering whether it was your TV advertising campaign or your radio interview that resulted in the sales uplift that you saw for that quarter, but this is not the case with social. It is the single most measurable marketing channel available to us, but the question is; are you measuring the right things?

In my experience, many people get far too wrapped up with increasing their number of followers or likes, when really it’s how engaged your audience is that counts. Many now refer to the former as ‘vanity metrics’ and with good reason! Let’s take this concept and think about the off line equivalent for a minute… Let’s say that you have decided to host a brand seminar to promote your products or services. It’s being held at a rather large venue, so you strive day in day out to make sure you are getting enough bums on seats. You successfully achieve your attendance figure goals, but the problem is, you’ve worked so hard on getting people to attend, that you’ve overlooked the amount of time it takes to produce engaging and valuable content to share with your audience! Unsurprisingly, when you finish your seminar, very few people are clapping! You could say, the event was a flop! You have obtained some great attendance figures (vanity metrics), but ultimately you’ve failed to engage your audience, thus leaving them with a negative experience of your brand!

This example is akin to the mistakes many brands make with their social channels. They are so concerned with how many followers they can claim to have, that they forget to look at what is really important and that is your audience engagement levels! A small but highly engaged and enthused audience is worth so much more than a room full (or social channel full) of people who aren’t impressed by what you have to say! So make sure when you are benchmarking your social channels that you go a level deeper than just the number of followers/ likes you have. Utilise the analytics sections of the channels to pull the engagement data out to make a log of it. Then set yourself some suitable objectives based on increasing engagement, rather than just filling up some invisible digital seats! As you develop stronger and stronger engagement figures and an increasingly loyal following, you’ll be amazed at how much more effective your social channels will become for your brand!