Why social media can be an absolute waste of time and energy

Social media is used by so many businesses, but it's probably an absolute waste of time. I'll show you why & what is the ideal alternatives to use

The secret to getting more local customers by using a Google Business Profile
Summary

Most business owners are just wasting their time on social media. Boring content, creating posts that provide no value to potential customers, ‘fans’ that aren’t even engaging with the content & in most cases less than 2% of their following even see the posts because there is so much content getting put on any platform. 

Don’t get me wrong, if used correctly, social media can be a super powerful way to grow your business. In fact there are hundreds of success stories that you can learn from, there are many businesses that rely purely on it. The reality is though, for most businesses it is a waste of time due to poor execution, consistency or content. 

The biggest challenge is that most businesses have no clue about using the platforms correctly.

What’s worse is they spend time posting things & don’t even realise that you can have a free Google Business profile that let’s you post content that can be seen by people searching for products or services locally which can generate new potential customers. Or you could be adding helpful content on your website that you own, control & can thrive from over a long period of time.

Are businesses wasting their time with social media?

Too many business owners post rubbish on their social profiles

If you post this type of content in the screenshot on your social media profiles, stop now. It is utter garbage and offers absolutely no value to any potential client whatsoever.

Too many owners get confused between content that is an advertisement vs something that represents any real value. Even worse, they pay a ‘social media manager’ who creates useless, irrelevant content. It’s a waste of money.

This is a post from a company offering solar power – what part of this would inspire me to choose them or even both investigating their brand – nothing, it is just useless content cluttering a newsfeed.

Too many business owners are guilty of setting up all these social media profiles because they feel pressured to do so. The reason, ‘everyone else has one’ – that’s great, but doesn’t mean they are even useful or helping to improve your brand’s credibility or generate more leads.

YES – if social media is used correctly it can be the ideal way to get exposure or showcase what you do. Although that’s only if the content you are sharing offers some value, provides insights or showcases your products or services in a way that isn’t a one way ‘sales’ message all the time.

Businesses are interrupting people from enjoying the latest cat video or photos of their friends at a party. So how or why will anyone give a crap about what you are posting?

Do people use social media to search for things online?

While some people might use social media to look for products or services, most. people will be asking friends or family for recommendations. The vast majority of people around the world use search engines or shopping marketplaces to find things.

Think about your own behaviour when you want to buy a product or service – what do you typically do?

Do you start searching on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram or do you head to Google?
 
Yes for sure some people will use social media but the majority use Google first. They will use social media profiles to validate whether the business they find seems credible or not in most cases or maybe even check out the reviews.
 
Generally they’ll use search to find these businesses or brands first. So therefore, why would you put most of your energy into social media if most people start their decision making using the world’s biggest search engine every day?

Do you know how many people follow your profile or see your posts?

Believe it or not I speak to a lot of business owners who don’t even know how many followers they have. All of the social media platforms provide data that can show you different aspects;

  • How many people are following your profile
  • Where are they located
  • What are their demographics
  • How the audience size has been trending
  • What are the engagement levels like
  • How many people on average see a post
 
I have been contracted as a digital marketing consultant for local businesses that had less than 500 people following their page or profile, but they were spending hours each week posting content onto the profiles – nobody was looking at them.
 
In this image it’s a sample of Facebook’s insights information, but each platform has something similar or you can use 3rd party tools that gather all the info into a simple dashboard.

It is a well known fact that for most social media platforms the posts that are made will be seen by less than 2% of the ‘fans’ following the profile.

Don't be fooled, social media is a 'pay to play' platform for adVERTISING

Even if you have an audience of some size, most likely less than 2% of your ‘fans’ will even see your content. Just from a human perspective, most people use social media to be entertained, so business posts naturally will be seen as boring or not interesting.

Here is an example from a social media profile that had over 15,000 fans – look closely, most posts were seen by less than 200 people. The only exception was a ‘Boosted’ post, but even then there was very little engagement with less than 50 interactions for a post that reached 1,500 people.

Social media entities are basically advertising platforms – do not be fooled into thinking the social media exist to give your business free exposure. Their whole point of existing is to use the data they get from people looking at content to then sell advertising space.

Don’t believe me, take a look at Meta’s recent earnings announcements they generated over $34 billion in advertising revenue n Q3 2023.

Therefore your posts most likely will never get seen unless you have super, super interesting or engaging content that goes viral, have developed, highly engaged, audience or are paying to boost or run ads.

Most businesses have no idea how to achieve this, so they post boring rubbish that nobody cares about in the hope that someone might see it – meanwhile they don’t put their energy into creating content for their own website.

Should your business use social media?

Call me and I will tell you.

Seriously, not every business should use social media & in fact, depending on the type of business, certain social media platforms might be a total waste of time. You have to consider the primary goal of each social media company & work out if you can deliver what they want so the platform can then be useful for you.

What I have written sounds weird right? But think about it, Instagram wants lots of Reels so that it can fight TikTok, YouTube wants original video content so it can dominate video search & sell ads, Facebook wants businesses to pay for Ads to promote products by selling their user data to advertisers.

Each platform has a different way of operating, current ‘shiny’ new trick & if your business can’t fit into that you just won’t get stellar results, it’s that simple. So a B2B brand could use TikTok, but be prepared to make lots of short videos that can appeal to 25 year olds. You could use Instagram too, but maybe use Reels purely to showcase things happening everyday rather than trying to post pretty pictures. You’d say that a B2B company should be on LInkedIn, makes sense as it is a business to business network, although to get exposure you have to post meaningful content.

Here’s an example below of a B2B client that actively posts content on their LinkedIn profile but hasn’t posted anything on their Google Business profile since September 2021 even though Organic Search represents more than 80% of their traffic. As you can see they do get some traffic from social media & the conversion rate to a lead is very high, but the overall volume is just too low to be a primary revenue generating platform for them.

Everything they are posting on LinkedIn should be posted on their Google Business Profile or turned into content for their website.

Why you should put effort into your Google Business Profile instead

For every client I provide digital marketing consultancy for, one of the first things I make sure they do is have a Google Business Profile. It enables you to control the information shown by Google when people are searching locally – and it is free.

Some clients already have one, others have never heard of it but the one thing that is pretty common is they haven’t optimised it for search & are not using its features to beat local competitors.

You can literally post content directly into Google where millions of people are searching for products and services everyday. This can build your brand’s credibility, trust & create more potential customers.

Want to get a profile, learn more here and when you are ready to get it optimised or to build a strategy to grow it, contact me so I can help you.

Can a Google Business profile really generate new customer leads?

Forget all the theory about using a Google Business Profile – here is the proof using a real life example. The first screenshot is one of my clients’ profiles that I set up & optimised in 2021. I encouraged them to post regularly, in fact my direction was ‘anything you post on social media, post to Google My Business and include your primary keywords’

Unfortunately they didn’t follow this advice, so they’ve posted lots of things to social media, but nothing on their Google Business Profile. They still generated good exposure because of the optimisation I had completed for them.

Although now look at the second example – this is a client’s profile that had a recent location change, regular posts being made & an optimised profile. Nearly double the exposure in the same time period and look at their growth trend because we are posting fairly regularly.

Ok so you are wondering who cares about these ‘views’ because that doesn’t mean anything right?

Well, in fact, they mean a lot actually. 

A Google Business Profile gives you data to show the number of people that called, went to the website, left a message or visited the location (depending on how the profile is set up) So here we can see that even though my client didn’t post to their profile they had just over 600 interactions, although most of the search volume was for people who knew the brand. Therefore we can assume it was people trying to find them.

Now look at the second example, there are only 475 interactions, but, most of them are for the services that client provides instead of their brand name. This means local customers are discovering this company & the business is getting local exposure from people using search. It is creating visitors to their website & yes, eventually, they visit their social media profiles.

Going one step further Google sends a Business Profile summary each month via email so that you can see the number of phone calls, website visits, messages or profile views you received. It also gives you a comparison to the previous time period so that you can gauge the effectiveness.

What’s the benefit of posting good quality content?

Let’s go back to the earlier example first & compare it to a sample post I created. Look at the difference – even though these businesses aren’t related, different services etc – look at what they are communicating. One is stating the bleeding obvious, nobody is going to care or click really. The more detailed post has keyword rich information that appears on Google, includes an example of the work completed, link to the website & provides some level of value.

The content of the post & information on the website page uses keyword phrases and topics that I know consumers are searching for. It is relevant information that is solving a pain point and/or people want to do in their own home. I know from the data from both clients that one is growing their organic search volumes every month & the other one isn’t.

It’s that simple really and social media can’t really deliver the same value in terms of local search results, interaction, data or driving a customer directly to you.

If you think about the behavioural science principles to move people from being interested to taking action your posts should think about;

  • The power of free: Free information, advice, special offers can be a big motivator to get someone to take action.
 
  • Authority: When a brand demonstrates quality information it can develop itself as a trusted source & stand out from competitors. Rather than say ‘we do solar and we are great’ it would be information about how this new technology can transform how someone lives or be integrated into existing systems.
 
  • Social proof: Reviews, recommendations, and highlighting a popular choices can be very persuasive. Reviews are also used by Google as an organic ranking factor and it helps convert visitors into leads. There are so many benefits to using your profile to showcase reviews.
 
  • Framing: Instead of one way messages that are useless or state the obvious, change the framing so that specific convenience. time savings or other benefits are the focus that show someone how their problem can be solved.
 
  • Associations: Demonstrating that you use or have associations with premium brands, market leading products, new technology or even items that are environmentally friendly can help build trust, but also appeal to people looking for those specific things. 

How do you do a post on a Google Business Profile?

Creating a post on a Google Business Profile is quick and easy – you can do it via your web browser or the free mobile phone app. It makes it quick, easy and simple to upload photos, ask for a review, update your business information and see how many people are finding you. Every post can contain lots of text that is written about your business, product or service, videos, photos & even links to your website.

You essentially use it to create traffic to your business without all the hinderances that most social media platforms create. The added benefit is that if you do it correctly you can grow the volume of local search traffic to your website. You can read more about it here.

adding quality content to your website is also better than using social media

Congrats if you have made it this far, that means you are pretty keen to understand what you can do to get more customers without using social media. I’ve shown you why social media could be a waste of time and that using your Google Business profile could be more useful to get new customers. 

Although what else can be done? Adding content to your website.

When you add content to your own website, you are investing in a digital asset that you own and control. This is akin to building your house on a plot of land you own, rather than decorating a room in someone else’s hotel. Here are several reasons why this is a strategic advantage:

  • Longevity: Content on your website can remain relevant and accessible for as long as you choose. Unlike social media platforms where content can quickly become buried in the feed, website content can be evergreen, continuously attracting visitors months or even years after publication, especially if it has been written with rich, deep information.
 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): By regularly updating your website with high-quality content, you improve your site’s SEO, increasing the likelihood that your content will be found via search engines. This is a sustainable source of traffic, as opposed to the fleeting attention you might get from a social media post. This can be done in a way to get found for your specific service, product or problem you solve.
 
  • Audience Building: On your website, you can create a direct relationship with your audience without the interference of algorithm changes. You can gather email addresses and other contact information, allowing for direct communication and the cultivation of a community around your brand if you have a CRM system connected with your website.
 
  • Monetisation and Conversion: It’s easier to lead a visitor towards a sale or another desired action on your own website where you can design the user experience and journey without constraints. Social media platforms are designed to keep users within the platform, which can distract from your conversion goals.
 
  • Analytics and Data: Owning your platform means you have access to comprehensive analytics without limitations. This data is crucial for understanding your audience and optimising your content strategy over time. You can even get data to uncover what people are searching for and how they type into Google. This information can be used to create new content on your site to beat competitors.
 
  • Branding and Design: Your website is a blank canvas for your brand’s visual identity and messaging. Social media platforms limit how much you can customise the look and feel of your presence.
 
  • Content Richness: Your website can host a richer variety of content formats – long-form articles, videos, podcasts, interactive tools – without the constraints imposed by social media platforms.
 
  • Credibility and Trust: A well-designed website can establish authority and credibility in a way that social media profiles often cannot. It shows investment in your brand and can be a signal of stability and professionalism to potential customers or clients.
 
  • Risk Management: Relying on social media alone is risky; platforms can change rules, decrease organic reach, or even disappear. Your website remains as long as you maintain it.
 
  • Synergy and Amplification: It’s not an either/or scenario. Content on your website can be used to fuel your social media channels, creating a symbiotic relationship where each platform supports the other.
 

So sure, while social media is an important tool in the modern business marketing tactics for reaching out and engaging with audiences, the content on your own website forms the cornerstone of your digital presence. It’s about owning versus renting your digital space – with your website being the land you own outright.

what are the benefits of new content on your website compared to using social media?

In the digital landscape, it’s tempting to be everywhere at once. There’s a prevailing notion that to be successful, one must have a presence on every social media platform available. However, this approach can be both inefficient and ineffective. For business owners, the focus should be on depth, not just breadth. Here’s why honing in on your own website should take precedence over spreading yourself thin across numerous social media platforms:

  • Ownership and Control: Your website is your digital home—your ultimate platform. Unlike social media, where you are at the mercy of the platform’s rules and algorithms, your website is yours to command. You dictate the content, the appearance, and the user experience entirely. This level of control is crucial for brand consistency and messaging.
 
  • Content with Permanence: Social media is ephemeral by nature. Posts have a short lifespan before they’re lost in the endless scroll. Your website’s content, on the other hand, is perennial. It builds upon itself, creating a repository of your expertise and value that is searchable and always accessible.
 
  • Quality over Quantity: It’s better to produce one substantial, valuable piece of content on your website than to churn out multiple superficial posts on social media. Depth attracts. It positions you as a thought leader and builds trust with your audience—qualities that are critical for long-term relationships and customer loyalty.
 
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness: Managing multiple social media platforms can be a drain on your most precious resources: time and attention. Each platform has its nuances and demands a unique approach for content creation and engagement. By focusing on your website, you can allocate resources more effectively, creating in-depth content that can then be repurposed and shared across the social platforms that make the most sense for your audience.
 
  • The Power of Search: People turn to search engines to find solutions to their problems, not typically social media. By focusing on building a robust, SEO-friendly website, you can capture this intent-driven traffic. This audience is often more qualified and closer to making a decision than the casual social media browser.
 
  • Conversion Optimisation: Your website is the ultimate destination for customer conversions. Whether you’re selling products, building a subscriber list, or generating leads, your website can be finely tuned to guide visitors towards these goals. Social media, while useful for awareness, typically sees lower conversion rates for direct sales and actions.
 
  • Data Insights: On your website, you have access to comprehensive analytics without the black box of social media algorithms. You can see what works, what doesn’t, and why, and then use this data to refine your approach. This kind of insight is gold in marketing—allowing for more personalized and effective customer journeys.
 
  • Risk Mitigation: The landscape of social media is volatile. Platforms rise and fall, and what’s popular today may be obsolete tomorrow. By focusing on your website, you mitigate the risk of building on rented land and ensure that no matter what happens in the social media world, your digital presence endures.
 

In essence, while social media is an important tool for outreach and engagement, it should be used as a spoke that connects back to the hub of your online presence—your website. The effort you put into building and enriching your own site pays dividends in establishing a stable, long-term digital footprint that can grow and evolve with your business.

Does Google give more organic search traffic to websites with helpful content?

Google will send more organic traffic to websites that have helpful content. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the screenshot for the topic of ‘What is a 3 way bathroom renovation’ and you can see two of my marketing consulting clients have pages showing which are beating 35,100,000 other potential results. 

What this means is that for people thinking about getting a three way bathroom renovation in Sydney they will most likely see the information provided by these two businesses, this generates traffic to their websites and if the information is helpful enough it may lead those people to look at other pages on those sites & make an enquiry. 

In fact creating helpful content is so important these days because in August 2022 they updated their algorithm for that very purpose, it is even called “Google’s August 2022 helpful content update“. Google’s core algorithm updates are always about delivering the best possible experience to its users. The search giant knows that when people turn to Google, they’re looking for answers, information, and solutions. They’re not just looking for content—they’re looking for content that serves a purpose and satisfies their intent.

Google a significant step in this direction by updating its algorithm to better reward websites that offer helpful, high-quality content. This move underscores Google’s commitment to ensuring that the most useful, informative, and user-centric content rises to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here’s what this means for websites and businesses:

  • Quality Over Quantity: Google is becoming increasingly sophisticated in distinguishing high-value content from filler. Websites that focus on delivering rich, meaningful content that genuinely helps people are more likely to gain visibility for topics related to their products or services.
 
  • User-Focused Content: The algorithm aims to favor content that is written for users, not for search engines. This means that content should be created with the intention of informing, educating, or assisting the reader, rather than just targeting SEO keywords.
 
  • E-A-T Principle: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) remain critical factors. Content that demonstrates deep knowledge and authority on a subject, and which comes from a place of credibility, will be rewarded.
 
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Content that thoroughly covers a topic and offers insights, analysis, and utility will perform better than superficial content that merely skims the surface.
 
  • Satisfying User Intent: The update places a premium on content that meets the specific needs and questions of searchers. Understanding and addressing the intent behind search queries is more crucial than ever.
 
  • Content Freshness: While not new, the importance of keeping content up-to-date is reinforced by this update. Content that is regularly refreshed to remain relevant and accurate signals to Google that a website is a current and valuable resource.
 
  • Context and Relevance: Content must not only be high-quality but also contextually relevant to the products or services offered. It should align with user expectations and provide a seamless journey that guides them toward a solution.
 
  • Engagement Metrics: Indirectly, the content that engages users and encourages them to spend more time on a website, interact with the material, and visit multiple pages may be seen as more helpful, thereby potentially improving rankings.
 
  • Penalising Poor Practices: Conversely, content that is misleading, manipulative, or provides a poor user experience is likely to be demoted in search results.
 

For businesses, this means that the bar for content creation is set higher. It’s not enough to have a good product or service; the digital representation of that offering must be informative, trustworthy, and directly useful to your audience. This is a clarion call for content strategists, marketers, and creators to invest in content that serves, engages, and solves problems.

In a Google-centric online ecosystem, businesses that heed these guidelines are not only aligning with Google’s vision but are also building a stronger, more resilient connection with their audience. This is where true competitive advantage lies—not just in being found, but in being valuable.

How much website traffic can you get with great content?

Less than 10 pages of content – 1,400 visitors
The screenshots demonstrate how great content can create lots of website traffic. In the first example the site has less than ten pages of content on the site, most of it is just service pages making promises about what can be provided, there is very little helpful content on the site & its the same as thousands of other sites ie nothing is unique. They generated less than 1,400 visitors in a two year period.

Over 200 pages of content – 68,109 visitors

The second example is a site that has more than two hundred pieces of content on the website talking about different situations relating to renovating bathrooms. In the last few years it has generated 68,109 visitors who have looked at more than 124,087 pages across the site.

What are the key factors that can effect the volume of website traffic that you can get if you add great content to your website?

  • The quality of your content – writing one paragraph probably won’t cut it. It has to be in depth, explain lots about a topic and give clear answers.
 
  • The quantity of content pieces you make – if your website has a home page, a few service pages and in total maybe less than five pages then you will struggle to beat competitors who might have sites with twenty, fifty or one hundred pages. It all depends how well they have constructed their website and content of course, but generally speaking more content wins over less.
 
  • On site SEO set up – just writing lots of content or adding photos isn’t the easy solution. It also has to be structured correctly to suit search engine optimisation requirements. So it has to have clear headings, the right mix of keywords and photos that are named correctly to also suit what is being written about.
 

Every business has a story, a unique angle, or a distinctive approach that sets it apart from the competition. In today’s crowded digital marketplace, simply claiming “we are experienced” or “we are leaders” is insufficient and, frankly, noise that consumers have learned to tune out. These generic statements are not just unconvincing; they are lost opportunities to connect, engage, and convert. Here’s how businesses can craft content that breaks through the monotony, highlights their unique value, and enhances their SEO performance:

  • Tell a Unique Story: Your business didn’t spring up out of nowhere; it has a history, a mission, and a vision that is yours alone. Share that story. Content that tells a story is memorable and engaging, and it helps build emotional connections with your audience.
 
  • Showcase Real Results: Instead of making broad claims about leadership or experience, show potential customers the results you’ve achieved. Use case studies, testimonials, and data to demonstrate your ability to deliver on your promises.
 
  • Educate Your Audience: Provide valuable information that helps solve problems or answer questions your customers may have. This positions you as a helpful resource and an expert in your field. Plus, educational content is more likely to be shared, increasing its reach and impact.
 
  • Leverage Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What can you offer that no one else can? Identify your USP and build content around it. This helps you stand out and gives people a clear reason to choose you over a competitor.
 
  • Be Specific: Vagueness is the enemy of good content. Be as specific as possible about what you offer and how it benefits the customer. Specificity can also help with long-tail keywords, which are great for SEO.
 
  • Create a Voice: Your brand’s voice should be as distinctive as its visual identity. Whether it’s professional, friendly, witty, or sincere, a consistent voice can make your content instantly recognizable and relatable.
 
  • Offer Insights: Share your thoughts on industry trends, challenges, and innovations. Original insights can establish thought leadership and give people a reason to keep coming back to your site.
 
  • Visual and Interactive Content: Use images, infographics, videos, and interactive tools to convey information in a more engaging way. Visuals are not only more shareable but can often communicate complex information more effectively than text alone.
 
  • Encourage Engagement: Invite your audience to interact with your content through comments, forums, or social media shares. Engagement can improve SEO performance as it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant.
 
  • Optimise for Search Intent: Understand why people are searching for the topics you’re writing about and tailor your content to meet those needs. Content that aligns with search intent is more likely to perform well in SERPs.

By focusing on creating unique, valuable content that showcases your ability to deliver and help your customers, you’re not just ticking SEO boxes; you’re building trust, authority, and a brand presence that resonates with your audience. This approach is about being authentic and providing tangible evidence of your expertise, which is far more persuasive than any number of generic claims of leadership or experience.

Can content on your website generate new customers or leads?

When you create content that zeroes in on solving specific problems, you are effectively engaging in one of the most powerful forms of marketing: you’re providing value first, before asking for anything in return. This strategy is magnetic for both search engines and potential customers. Here’s how it unfolds:

  • Problem-Solving Content and Search Engines: People often turn to search engines with specific questions or problems. By crafting content that directly addresses these pain points, you are increasing the likelihood that search engines will serve your content as a solution. This is the essence of search engine optimization (SEO)—ensuring that your content resonates not just with algorithms, but with the real needs of your audience. The result is more organic traffic to your site, as your content aligns with the intent behind the search queries.
 
  • Establishing Expertise and Trust: By offering solutions through your content, you are demonstrating expertise in your field. This positions your brand as an authority, which fosters trust with your audience. Trust is a key component in the customer’s decision-making process. When visitors trust your content, they’re more likely to trust your services and reach out for a quote or make an enquiry.
 
  • Content Depth and Engagement: In-depth content that explores a problem and presents solutions keeps visitors engaged longer. This engagement signals to search engines that your content is valuable, which can improve your rankings. As for users, the more they engage with your content, the more they invest emotionally and intellectually with your brand, which can lead to a higher conversion rate.
 
  • Tailored Calls to Action (CTAs): When your content is focused on specific problems, you can tailor your CTAs to align with the natural next step that the reader should take after consuming your content. For instance, if the content addresses common issues with HVAC systems, the CTA can invite them to get a free quote for an HVAC inspection. This relevance increases the likelihood of converting readers into leads.
 
  • Content Sharing and Referrals: If your content effectively helps solve problems, it becomes shareable. People share content that they find valuable, which can amplify your reach and attract more traffic from social media, forums, and other websites.
 
  • Building a Content Ecosystem: Well-written problem-solving content can be the cornerstone of a broader content marketing strategy. It can be repurposed into different formats like infographics, videos, and webinars. This ecosystem not only improves visibility across different platforms but also caters to different user preferences, drawing in a wider audience.
 
  • Nurturing Leads: Even if a visitor isn’t ready to get a quote or make an enquiry on their first visit, compelling content can encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or follow your brand for future updates. This way, you nurture a lead over time, and when they are ready to make a decision, your brand is at the top of their mind.
 

In conclusion, by focusing your content on solving specific problems, you’re tapping into the intent behind why people use search engines. You provide value up front, establish your expertise, and create a pathway for trust. This not only brings traffic to your site through improved SEO but also increases the likelihood that this traffic converts into tangible business outcomes, such as quotes and enquiries. It’s a strategy that respects the user’s needs and the mechanics of search engines, creating a win-win scenario that’s at the heart of effective content marketing.

How can your business reduce the time wasted on social media?

As a marketing consultant I have witnessed many business owners getting excited by seeing ‘vanity’ metrics like how many fans you have or how many likes a post might get. Vanity metrics are called ‘vanity’ for a reason: they look good on the surface but often don’t correlate with the metrics that truly matter to the health and success of your business—like engagement, conversion rates, and customer loyalty. Having 500 fans on a social media page might feel like an accomplishment, but if those fans aren’t engaging with your content, sharing your message, or buying your products, then that number is just a number, devoid of real value.

Here’s why business owners should look beyond vanity metrics and how to approach this:

  • Depth over Width: It’s far more valuable to have a smaller, engaged audience that cares about your content and interacts with it than to have a large but passive follower count. Engaged users are more likely to convert into paying customers, recommend your services, and provide valuable feedback.
 
  • Engagement Metrics: Instead of focusing on the number of followers, track how many are actively interacting with your content. Metrics like shares, comments, and time spent on your website are indicative of how compelling your audience finds your content.
 
  • Conversion Rates: Ultimately, business is about generating revenue. Track how many of your social media fans are taking the actions that lead to sales, such as signing up for newsletters, downloading lead magnets, or making purchases. This will tell you if your social media efforts are actually contributing to your bottom line.
 
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Understand how much it costs you to acquire a customer through your marketing efforts. This goes beyond just tracking the amount spent on ads; it includes all marketing expenses divided by the number of customers acquired through each channel.
 
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Evaluate the long-term value of your customers. If your social media followers become customers who purchase repeatedly, their value is much higher than their initial purchase might suggest.
 
  • Retention and Loyalty: Measure how well you retain customers. Do people come back after their first purchase? Do they subscribe to your service? Retention rates can be a powerful indicator of the health of your business.
 
  • Referral Traffic: Track the number of visitors that come to your website from social media. More importantly, measure what those visitors do once they’re on your site. Do they bounce immediately, or do they stick around and explore what you have to offer?
 
  • Brand Sentiment: It’s not just about numbers; it’s about perceptions, too. Monitor what people are saying about your brand online. Positive sentiment can be a precursor to more tangible success metrics.
 
  • Goal Completion: Set specific, measurable goals for your marketing campaigns. This could be the number of new email sign-ups, the number of downloads of a new white paper, or the number of attendees at a webinar. These are actionable metrics that can directly influence sales and revenue.
 
  • Attribution: Understand which marketing efforts are driving results. Multi-channel attribution can help you understand the path that customers take to conversion, allowing you to allocate resources to the most effective channels.
 

By focusing on these substantive metrics rather than vanity metrics, business owners can gain a clearer picture of their marketing efforts’ effectiveness. It’s about creating a strategy that leads to a profitable customer action and aligns with business goals, not just one that inflates ego with impressive-looking but ultimately hollow numbers. Each piece of data should inform your strategy and prompt action, whether that’s refining your content, personalizing your marketing efforts, or doubling down on the most effective channels.

As a marketing consultant I have seen lots of business owners use social media because they ‘have 5,000 followers’ and hand it off to a junior in their office or do it themselves to keep posting for the sake of it. Although they never stop and consider what value is it generating for the brand or whether it even creates leads.

Meanwhile, there is a free tool provided by Google to get your information on the internet where most people do their research to buy, compare & choose products or services which isn’t getting used by many businesses. That’s despite it being just as quick and easy to post onto a Google Business Profile as it is on social media.

Then of course there is your own website, the very thing you own that you control which can present any type of information you like to help inform, educate and convince people to use your service. Commercially it doesn’t make sense to focus on social media as a priory for most business owners. Especially when the time & effort could be growing the volume of people discovering your brand in other areas that will give you longer term benefits.

Picture of Paul D'Ambra - marketing consultant
Paul D'Ambra - marketing consultant

Do you want to grow your business?

Do you want to get new customers outside of existing referrals?

Want to reduce your paid advertising spending?

Hungry for a regular flow of traffic to your website to sell products or services?

Keen on converting more 'browsers' into buyers?

I can help solve these business challenges by using clever marketing tactics and common sense. I pull everything apart to work out what is not working with your marketing activities. I'll then create a practical, action driven strategy to improve the results you are getting.

I am a marketing consultant that can help a start-up, small business owner or six-figure medium sized business to deliver incredible marketing impact. You may find yourself stuck and unsure how to execute to achieve your marketing goals.

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