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The 3 Worst Social Media Metrics (And What You Should Measure Instead)

Social media is hard to measure.

It's tough to tell how well you're doing, or how to analyze an employee's production.

Don't even bring up ROI. You'll just give yourself a headache.

Unfortunately, some people still insist on it. If they don't get a straight answer immediately, then they just stick an intern on Twitter.

But that's not the worst part.

No, the worst part is measuring the wrong things to begin with. If you pick the wrong targets, then you'll get terrible results in the long run. And you'll have wasted precious time, money, and effort.

Some social media metrics are better than others. But some are downright useless.

Three, in particular, won't help your business at all.

Here they are, and here are three more that you should measure instead.


Social Media Cartoon - Do You Pout About Klout?

Image courtesy of seanrnicholson


1. Twitter Followers -> Email Subscribers

Twitter is a great communication channel. It helps you contact and stay in touch with anyone you want.

But it doesn't make you real money.

Email marketing is still the most profitable online channel.

Take a look at your own website. How many prominent Twitter buttons do you have?

You work so hard to get traffic to your website in the first place, and then you just... give it away to Twitter?

Your Twitter account is not an asset. You don't own it. Don't fall victim to digital sharecropping.

Invest in emailmarketing over social media any day. 


2. Facebook Fans -> People Talking About This

The number of Facebook Fans your page has is basically irrelevant.

It doesn't matter if you have a million fans because you'll never be able to reach them all.

Facebook's EdgeRank was designed to keep companies from spamming their "fans". So it only allows you to reach the fans that actively engage with your brand.

"People Talking About This" is the closest metric you have to increase your "viral reach". It's a weekly measurement that measures your page's engagement.

The higher that number goes, the better chance you have of reaching more people. And the bigger your page will grow because you'll start reaching more "friends of fans". 


3. Klout -> Net Promoter Score

Klout is the ultimate vanity metric.

Like the pretty girl in high school, Klout looks good on the outside but lacks substance.

They mean well... and it's a brilliant idea. But at the end of the day, it just doesn't mean very much for growing your business.

Do you really want to know how satisfied customers and fans are?

Then ask them to take the Net Promoter Score. It's one simple question that will only take a few seconds, and it's vastly more accurate than Klout.

"How likely are you to recommend to a colleague or friend?"

Your Net Promoter Score equals the percentage of Promoters (9s and 10s) minus the percentage of Detractors (0 through 6) (7s and 8s are "Passives", and are left out).

Keeping an eye on your Twitter Followers, Facebook Fans, and your Klout Score is OK. You feel good when these numbers go up.

Just make sure you understand that at the end of the day... they don't have a huge influence on your business.

Instead, tie your social media goals to metrics that will actually improve your business.

Email subscribers are profitable, "People Talking About This" on Facebook raises your brand awareness, and the Net Promoter Score tells you exactly how satisfied your customers are.

Join The Conversation

  • FixCourse's picture
    Jan 16 Posted 5 years ago FixCourse

    Thanks Megan - appreciate your comment! Couldn't agree more...  If you have a score above 40, then you're probably doing pretty well.  And if you have a score over 70, then you should probably focus on doing other things besides Twitter :)     Large companies can get away with having people spend a lot of time on Twitter... but if you're solo, small or medium sized business, then you should probably be investing your time, money and energy into something else! 

  • FixCourse's picture
    Jan 16 Posted 5 years ago FixCourse

    Hi Amara, great points. Here's my responses.

    1. If you want people to share your content on Twitter, then have a "Tweet Button" that allows them to share it without leaving your site. If you want people to follow your account, then put a "Follow Button" on your page that allows people to follow your account without leaving your website/blog. There is no need to use a Twitter button or link that sends people to your profile. 

    2. Here are some facts to back up my claims:
    - "The vast majority of responding companies (72%) rate email as 'excellent' or 'good' for return on investment." according to Econsultancy -

    - Survey from MerchantCircle (over 8,456 responses from SMBs) voted in top 3 of most effective marketing and advertising tactcs

    - According to the Direct MArketing Association's Power of Direct economic impact study, email marketing's ROI is $40.56 for every dollar spent, more than search, display advertising and mobile. -

    3. You're right that Facebook fans and Twitter followers matter, especially in terms of campaigns, etc. But the problem is that you can't focus on them in isolation. For example, it's really really easy to buy Facebook fans and auto-follow people to amass Twitter followers. But you know that those fans and followers will be virtually useless. So it's much more important to build these number slower with more qualified people, than to only focus on the total number at all costs. Beyond that, you can always mix up styles of campaigns, promotions, etc. to balance both growth and engagement.

    4. Agreed!  It's a great concept and we'll see how they develop over time I guess! 


    Thanks for your comments! 

  • Jan 13 Posted 5 years ago amaraREPS

    1) Are you saying that it isn't a goood idea to have twitter buttons on your website??? The whole purpose of having Twitter buttons is so that people can SHARE your content... not drive people to go to Twitter. Having your Twitter handles on Twitter will help you gain followers, which is also something that is highly recommended if that is the users network of choice... I wouldn't call it giving away traffic to Twitter. 

    2) Email marketing being the most profitable online channel is a heavy statement... I think it all depends on the industry and other factors. I don't think that is an appropriate blanket statement, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for people that really want sound advice to go by that statement 100%.

    3) Facebook fans and twitter follower numbers do matter actually. They help to measure connections and you can use these connections to create great conversations and engagement. If I had 50 followers, I may embark on a different kind of 'share' campaign than I would if I had 100 million followers. Different tactics for different needs. Can't say that agree with your statements there either. 

    4) I will agree that Klout is kind of unreliable. I do like Klout, and I do think it has some good qualities to it... but focusing on increasing Klout as opposed to focusing marketing tactics on specific business goals is a terrible idea.




  • Jan 12 Posted 5 years ago MeganCynaumon

    This is a great post, Brad. I fall victim to the importance of Klout on my own personal handle. I think the real relevance is when the score is really low that companies should worry. If your company has a  Klout of 13 and your competitor has a should take a look at what you are not doing. 

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