Do the Metrics Matter?

There are several free services you can use to measure your online influence, most of them work the same way, they access your social media accounts and Look at how much you update your status’, how many people respond to your output and many connections you have or in the case of twitter how many people you follow and how many follow you. Some of them also take into account how many connections your followers have, and how influential they are, in order to give you an idea of how far your messages can potentially spread.

Although none of these metrics is bad they are limited … Well they are free so I don’t think we can complain about that too much! On the whole the more people you can reach the more influential you are.

There’s nothing wrong with that, with social media marketing, just like any other marketing, there does need to be a certain amount of focus on the numbers. If your message is only reaching a very small amount of people it is unlikely to recoup the value of the time you are investing in it. The problem with the metrics is simply that they don’t take your social media goals into account, and because of that they don’t score you accurately enough. The other problem is ours, that we set too much store by these results and end up changing our behaviour to achieve higher scores!

For example, as I am a social media strategist & trainer that specialises in helping smaller companies a lot of the people I connect with don’t have much idea how to use twitter. This being the case they may not follow back or may feel too shy to reply to something I have tweeted. It also means they have very few followers so if they are kind enough to re-tweet something I have said, not so many people will see it. These factors combine to effect my scores, to make them lower than if my followers had many thousands of followers of their own.

But people with 1000’s of followers aren’t my target audience! It’s quite likely that most of them won’t need my services! Not that I won’t follow someone with lots of followers – after all it’s not ALL about getting business, I use social media as a place to learn and have fun too! However if I were to dump all my ‘less influential’ followers and court just those with ‘influence’ to improve my score I would lose customers. I would probably also lose sleep as my conscience would be giving me a kicking! I feel quite strongly that social media can enhance the ‘I’m more popular than you’ train of thought – an attitude that does immeasurable harm to both parties!

Not only that but some of my followers with what would seem to be the least pull in social media circles have a lot of clout in the real world, and have given me all kind of opportunities, for which I am very grateful, from speaking at events to partnering on projects. These opportunities have opened doors to customers I may never have met online!

I am not suggesting you stop using these platforms, they can be incredibly useful! The three I like best are Klout Peer Index and the social list

Just use them with your eyes open and fixed firmly on YOUR goals and don’t be led astray by seeing that you are more ‘influential’ than so-and-so or trying to keep up with @thejones’s!

Don’t forget if you need help setting your social media goals and strategy I can help! Click here for more info!


About GemLThompson

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)
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