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Why the Way You’re Measuring Success on Social Media is All Wrong

One of the hardest things we have to do as social media marketers is explain to our clients that it’s NOT just about ‘likes’ and ‘followers’.

Admittedly, it is nice to see your popularity growing.

It’s easy to get sucked into measuring success through the like economy on social media.

But life—and business—is about so much more than that.

We always say ‘content is king’. Here’s why:

If you have 1,000 followers on any given social media channel—whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—but only 10 percent of that audience is actively engaging with your content, what do the other 900 matter?

They don’t.

It is for this reason we don’t engage in silly posts and hashtags simply focused on acquiring likes and followers. Our chief focus is to go the ‘grass roots’ approach, to build an engaging presence organically, and win over your audience by sharing your brand story.

This is how you find a true ROI on social media. This is how you entice prospects that convert.

Focus on the Connections

If you’re posting strictly with the goal of attaining the most likes, what are you really offering your followers?

How much of what you’re posting is real?

How meaningful are the connections you’re building?

Too often, we become so distracted by finding the right filter, we neglect to take the time to really look at our business through the customer’s eyes.

This is how we build relationships that matter. But we have to be willing to go beyond the like or share.

Look After Your Tribe

So you want to build a stronger following on social media. That’s a good goal to have. But don’t let it be your sole purpose.

After all, if you are always chasing new followers, who is taking care of your current audience?

Think of it this way… When was the last time you tried calling one of the big TelComs for a cheaper rate on your phone plan?

Maybe a friend recently switched from Bell to Rogers, and they got a better monthly rate than you. But when you call to ask Rogers to honour the deal, they say it’s only for “new customers.”

How frustrating is that?

You’ve been loyal to Rogers for 10 years now; what does that get you? Nothing.

Pay attention to your tribe. The ones who consistently engage with your content. The ones who are proud to share your stuff on their wall.

These are your brand advocates – the people who are already hanging on to your every word.

It is these people who should be rewarded. Recognize their loyalty with content that is geared towards them, content that builds an even stronger relationship and allows them to relate even further to your brand.

This is how you inspire them to refer their colleagues and friends.

And it’s also how you attract more people like them; more people who fit into your ideal target audience and will help make your tribe bigger, better and stronger.

After all, isn’t this what social media is for? Connecting people.

Make it Meaningful

As business owners, having the opportunity to connect to your audience daily – to get in front of them with your branding and your message – is invaluable.

By dedicating your efforts to making the experience meaningful for the audience you already have, you will see your likes and followers grow.

And sure, it might not happen as fast as it would if you were to follow thousands of people at a time, or if you start spamming with general and unrelated hashtags (#instagood #instafollow… ring a bell?).

But the end result will be much more fruitful. Because the followers you earn actually care about what you’re posting. They care about what you’re selling. They’re not simply looking for a follow back.

When you cut out the sales pitches, and the drives for new followers and likes, you get down to the ground roots of your brand story. This is when your audience can see what you are truly about; and this is why they followed you in the first place.

Together, we can make social media social again.


Luke Ottaway

Luke is the Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director at Web of Words. He helps small business owners build meaningful connections online through content marketing. When he's not creating or fixing something, you'll catch him cheering on his beloved Leafs!

3 Comments Write a comment

  1. Great message Luke. I love the idea of rewarding our brand advocates! Do you do this through your email list, posts or both? Are there other ways besides gearing content towards them that you and Carly at Web of Words reward them? I’ve been thinking about this for a while and am thinking about ways to do this both for my past and current clients and my brand advocates.


    • Charlotte Ottaway

      Hey Laura, thanks for the comment. There are a number of different ways of rewarding brand advocates that we suggest for our clients. A contest or giveaway is one great way to give back to your tribe. Or if you want to take it a step further, we suggest actually giving a tangible gift to your brand advocates, like a special discount or even a book you love. You can also share the love by engaging with their content and sharing it with your audience to help them spread the news. Sometimes, a simple handwritten note sent in the mail goes a long way (if you happen to have their mailing address. If not, a private message or email thank you is also a nice idea). Just a few thoughts to get you started, hope that helps!


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