Measuring the success of a social media campaign is not easy because reliable metrics are not readily available. Of course, you can look at the number of followers, likes, downloads etc. But are these superficial metrics something you need to get obsessed about? Well, experts seem to have different opinions on this issue. While some merely dismiss these figures as ‘vanity metrics’, others find them interesting and valuable.

Personally, we believe that the so-called vanity metrics are crucial for measuring user engagement. Just because some companies have misinterpreted them, they don’t become any less important.

What to look for

The user engages with your content in different ways. While analyzing the success of your social campaigns you need to look for the right metrics. For example, a comment or a share shows a higher level of user engagement than a simple like. Generally speaking, a share indicates two things: a) the user found the content useful b) the user is confident that his/her network of friends will find it useful, too. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the number of followers or likes doesn’t matter. Those figures are important, too.

The number of followers matter because they immediately create the impression that your product is good. So, for example, if your Facebook page has more fans than your rival’s page, people immediately arrive at the conclusion that your product/service is better. Better still, if you already have thousands of followers, getting more followers is easy.

The need to create great content

Content is still the most important thing. If your visitors find your content useful, they are more likely to show their appreciation with a share or a comment. If the content is bad, no amount of time or money spent on a campaign is going to deliver any returns.

Brands and companies that use social media need to fine tune their content for the specific channel. That is very important. Content that goes viral on Twitter may not generate that kind of interest on Facebook. Brands sometimes launch the same campaign on multiple networks; however, this is unlikely to get the desired results.

Visual channels are important, too

Another mistake that social media analysts often commit is that they undermine the importance of certain visual social channels. For example, many analytics programs still do not provide enough data about visual channels like Instagram. People seem to believe that since Instagram is not very interactive, it will not generate sales or leads. But this is wrong. Although Instagram has only been around for three years, it receives 150 million active visitors a month. Any platform that allows people to interact with your brand is important for you. In fact, the comments, likes, and hashtags on your Instagram photos are great for building an active community around your brand.

Bottom line

Social media metrics are not vanity metrics. They become ‘vanity metrics’ when they are not measured properly. Serious social media marketers cannot ignore visual social media channels like Instagram. In fact, visual content seems to perform better or social media than anything else.

Content is still the king. If you create great content, you will have no trouble finding followers or creating engagement.

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