Social Media Vanity Metrics

Tie Social Media Activities and Metrics to Business Goals

The first social media hack that scrappy small businesses should adhere to is adjust vanity metrics and to help actually grow the business.

What is a Vanity Metric?

Let’s start by discussing what exact a vanity metric is.

Vanity metrics are things that you can measure that don’t matter much for the growth of the business or to help steer future marketing decisions. When it comes to social media, vanity metrics are things like page likes, followers, and comments.

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These are often considered vanity metrics because the marketing team uses them to pat themselves on the back for a job well done. When, in reality, these metrics don’t mean much to the business without some context attached.

The CEO doesn’t care that you got 100 likes perse, they care whether or not social media is contributing to reaching the overarching business goal… whatever that may be.

How Social Media Can Help the Bottom Line

Let’s spend some time explaining how to get your social media objectives to align with real business goals.

To start you’ve got to uncover what the general business goal is and how marketing assists this goal.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that the goal of the business is to increase revenue by 10%, totalling $20 million by the end of 2020.

General Business Goal: Increase Revenue to $20 million by the end of 2020

Working back from this, you would likely conclude that the marketing team should focus on increasing leads… since more leads will likely result in more sales.

General Marketing Goal: Increase Leads to 20,000/ month by July 2020

Since Social Media is a supporting marketing activity, the general marketing goal can help provide social media metrics context and avoid falling into the vanity metric trap.

Social Media Metric: Post Clicks

By tracking how many people click on your social media content and follow on to your website, social media is directly influencing how many people can become leads in the funnel.

Track Post Clicks on Facebook

To see how many people are clicking on your posts in Facebook, navigate to the “Insights” tab on the top of your Facebook bar.

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As you scroll towards the bottom of this page, you’ll see a section that looks like this:

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You’ll notice there’s an option that says “Post Clicks”…

This is NOT what you think it means. You’re probably looking for link clicks since those are the individuals that navigate on to your website…


This is actually the total number of clicks on the post – not link clicks.

This includes every other type of click like ones to expand the photo, play a video, expanding to read the full post text, clicking to read more comments, clicking profiles within comments, etc.

These things show that someone engaged with your post, but don’t help us increase leads coming to our website.

Here’s what to do instead…

On the top section called “Page Summary”, you’ll see and area called “Export Data”.

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Choose the option that says “Post Data”.

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Then click the button in the bottom right-hand corner that says “Export Data”.

In the Excel Spreadsheet that downloads, click the tab on the bottom that says “Lifetime Post Consumptions”. In column K, you’ll find the total number of link clicks.

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Use UTM Parameters to Help Track Leads from Social Media

If you want an even better picture of how your social media posts are driving leads to your website, set up UTM parameters.

UTM parameters create a special tracking link that allow you to use a use a web analytics program such as Google Analytics to see how many leads are coming from social media sources.

Follow this process for setting up UTM parameters.

Step 1: Set up Google Analytics

First, make sure you have a Google Analytics account established. If you don’t, here’s how to start one.

Add your website as a Property. Follow the steps when setting up a new account.

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Choose your industry category and reporting time zone, then click Get Tracking ID.

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Copy and paste the global site tag on your website, right after the <head> tag in your HTML.

Here’s more info on how to do it.

Step 2: Create UTM Tracking Codes

The next step involves creating your UTM tracking URL. To create your UTM parameters, use Google’s UTM generator.

In the field called “Website URL”, enter the URL of the page your are sharing in your social media post. Then add the social media chanel in the “Campaign Source” field.

Name the “Campaign Medium” something like organic_social, so you know that the traffic is coming from unpaid social activities.

Under “Campaign Name”, create a snippet of what it is that your promoting. For instance, if I were to create a social campaign promoting this blog post, I might add “scrappy_social_blog”.

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The last two fields aren’t necessary, but can help you further fine-tune your UTM code.

For instance, the “Campaign Term” field could help you delineate between internal product keywords. For promoting this blog post, I might add social_organizer in this field since that is the product line associated with the post.

The “Campaign Content” field is used to differentiate ad copy and graphic differences. Use this if you want to A/B test different ad copy, graphic colors, etc.

Once you’ve added all your fields, scroll down and you will find your custom UTM tag.

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Copy the URL and use when promoting the specific content item on Facebook. It looks a little funky, so consider using a URL shortener.

Step 3: Track the Campaign in Google Analytics

On the left-hand side of your Google Analytics console, click to expand the option entitled, “Acquisition”, and then “Campaigns”.

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Share Content Based on What Followers Want Most

Another strategy that stems from the output of tip at the top of the page.

If someone clicks on a social media post to navigate to the content, you can bet they’re pretty interested in the topic.

This is beneficial in a lot of ways.

Firstly, if you’re sharing stuff people are interested in, you’ll naturally increase your follower count while also keeping your current base engaged.

Next, clicks are really important information for the sake of your content strategy.

The info that comes from your social media growth goal can help the content team understand what keywords and topics resonate with people who follow you.

Sure, it’s true that social media is a promotional channel for all your content…

But, by understanding what topics your followers want most, you can begin to fine tune your sharing strategy for better results.

Check Your Competitors’ Facebook Ads

Back in 2018, Facebook released an ads tool to increase transparency. It allows users to see a list of ads any page is running.

This information can help you get a sneak peek regarding the strategic advertising goals of your competitors, what they are A/B testing, as well as some creative inspiration for your own campaigns.

Here’s how to do it:

Open the Facebook Ad Library and search for a competitor’s name.

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Here we can see various ads that Disneyland is running and the different ad creative the are using in their ads.

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You can also open their Facebook page and click the “Page Transparency” info on the right-hand side.

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From here you can navigate to the Ad Library.

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