Ask any social media professional what their biggest gripe is when it comes to managing accounts for clients & you’ll likely get a resounding answer = clients who focus on follower count as their only measure of social media success.
A business’ follower number is what’s called “a vanity metric” -- a surface level data point that isn’t necessarily indicative of that business meeting real goals; like engagement, new subscribers, or sales.
While it’s frustrating that many people still can’t let this go, it’s not entirely their fault.
The world of social media can sometimes feel like the Las Vegas strip - with all of its flashing lights, deafening noise & hopes of striking it rich...
With so much information coming in from every direction, it's easy to see how a client might get hypnotized by some shady marketing “guru” dealing out the false promise of “gaining hundreds of thousands of followers easily overnight”.
i.e. Followers who aren’t real, won’t buy from them, and will actually drive down the engagement rate you’ve worked so hard to establish.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other ways to show clients how your social media efforts are moving the needle. And it’s your responsibility as a social media service provider to educate them, so they can better understand what their real social media objectives are.
Here are 5 success measures on social media that aren't followers. Feel free to share these with your clients the next time they ask how things are going…
1 | Saves & Shares
When someone saves your post, it indicates that you’ve successfully created content your audience finds inspiring or interesting -- something worthy of another look. Think about how powerful it is that a potential customer has something representative of your client’s business SAVED on a platform so they can revisit it.
When someone shares a post it means you’ve successfully created a piece of content that the audience personally relates to. You’ve managed to connect with them on a deeper level & this emotional connection matters. You’ve also motivated them to SHARE it with their followers, which is pretty much the gold standard of driving brand awareness organically.
2 | Clicks & Swipe Ups
A click or swipe up indicates that you’ve crafted a compelling message and created a strong call to action -- one that resulted in someone leaving the platform to do the thing you asked them to do. Driving traffic off of social media isn’t exactly simple, so consider this a big win!
A click through the link in a bio or a swipe up in a story might direct a follower to sign up for a newsletter, read a blog post, view a product or services page, make a purchase, etc. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take increased traffic to my most important offers over a few new followers ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.
3 | Sales
The reason we’re all in business is to make money, is it not?
I don’t think this needs a lot of explanation. But if you can show your clients how your social media efforts directly correlate to a lift in sales… there shouldn’t be a conversation about whether or not “it’s working”.
4 | Contacts & DMs
An appointment, an email, a phone call, or even a direct message are all indicators of an account successfully attracting & engaging followers to take action and get in touch.
P.S. tracking the amount of direct communication you have with your client’s potential customers on a weekly basis is another way to showcase the importance of maintaining a presence on social media, as well as solid PROOF that they’re getting noticed.
5 | User Generated Content & Social Proof
Of course it’s a success when someone goes out of their way to mention / share your client’s brand on social media -- it’s practically every marketer’s dream! So don’t downplay someone tagging your client in a static post or mentioning them in a story - this is social proof in action.
Have a process in place to collect and share UGC and other types of social proof with your clients -- things like downloading Instagram Story mentions & tagged images, capturing screenshots of testimonials that pop up in comments and DMs, etc.
Showing your clients how often their brand is being mentioned or praised on social media will help to further prove its inherent value.