We marketers love numbers. We take closer looks at them, use them on reports, create strategies around them and have eternal discussions around their meaning. But even with the unconditional love we have for them, numbers can be pretty deceiving. In fact, there are some of them we should forget right now, simply because they don’t do nothing for us. It can be pretty hard, we know, because we have grown accustomed to measure them over and over again.
But, for marketing’s sake, it’s time to leave them behind. If you really want to understand your small business marketing and the value you’re actually putting out there, it’s time to let these 3 apparently important measures go their ways.
1 – Social media followers
Do you know why there are thousands of people out there offering Twitter or Facebook followers for a “small” price? Because we actually believe that having more followers is great. And though you might argue that having a huge following is a big deal, more followers doesn’t actually mean your message is getting through. That kind of numbers aren’t equal to engagement, which is certainly more important.
Engagement shows that people actually like what you’re saying, while an increasing following only mean that a bunch of people clicked Like or Follow for whatever reason. It’s better to have a smaller following with more people engaging with you that a huge amount of people that won’t give a damn about what you’re trying to say to them.
So, stop daydreaming about the number of followers you’d like to have – that shouldn’t be your goal at all. You should be aiming to reach people that care about your story and what you have to offer. Work to increase your audience, and you’ll see how your following will grow organically.
2 – Shares and comments on your blog posts
Please stop rolling your eyes and shouting at the screen, this have something to it, we promise! Sharing and commenting is the key to all social media platforms, so you might be thinking “well, if I have to stop worrying about shares and comments, what’s left for me to measure?” That’s a valid point. Shares and comments seem like a genuine measure of people’s interest on what you’re saying. Unfortunately, all that it’s just apparent.
It all becomes clear when you think a little bit about it. How many people do you believe that will comment on a story without actually reading it? And how many will share it simply because they agree with the title? A great blog post is always heavily shared on social media? The answers to these questions can show you a harsh reality – shares and comments don’t mean the content is being read. In other words, they don’t guarantee your message is getting through.
Of course, some people will share or comment on an article because they loved it, but there’s also many other people that will share it for other reasons. That’s why you shouldn’t turn shares or comments into a goal. You want to help people, make them get into action. A share and a comment can be a good start but it’s not a measure that should keep you up at night.
3 – Your status
Bloggers with thousands of suspicious weekly readers, so-called experts with a dubious social media following, bestsellers that were given away for free… not all the gurus out there are actual gurus, but people that boost their own status to increase their audiences. This is as easy as it sounds – taking shortcuts to call yourself successful and arranging the numbers in such a way that is actually seems like it.
But doing so won’t do you any favors. If you claim to have a status that you don’t actually own, people will soon realize what you’re trying to do and feel deceived. The result? They will run away as quickly as possible. Needless to say, that won’t work for your small business. It’s easy to get the numbers and use them rather loosely to promote yourself but that won’t serve your business growth.
So, stop worrying about all that experts on Twitter and Facebook and don’t even try to imitate them. Work hard to earn an expert status, since that’s the only way you can get it – not with invented or false numbers. Your ultimate goal should be your audience’s trust because that’s the only way you can get that expert status. Numbers come with it, they don’t make that status.
We know it’s incredibly hard to leave these measures behind, especially with many other people insisting on how important they all are. But once you free yourself from them, you’ll be able to focus on what’s important – get your message out there. That’s what you should be worrying and there are plenty of other measures that are more important to check if you’re succeeding at it. The only way your business will grow is hard work, not numbers.