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Metrics Don't Tell The Whole Story

Metrics Don't Tell The Whole Story

I hate rejection like we all do. I also love metrics. They serve as crucial markers of our progress, especially when it comes to our leadership and personal brand. They offer tangible data that can inform decisions and strategies. Usually, they are exceptional leading indicators of whether we are on track for our goals, giving us real insights into our effectiveness and influence.

However, metrics do not, and cannot protect us from the rejection that will inevitably come when we put ourselves - our leadership, our personal brand, or our business - out there. And yet, we try. We try to find the perfect measure of success. The one that ensures we never stumble. Never get the pink slip. Never get ghosted.

First of all, there are no metrics to keep you from making mistakes. But more importantly, we often make an even bigger mistake - we either ignore the data in front of us, or get distracted by the wrong numbers.


Instead of obsessing over surface-level stats, we should be tracking productivity, retention, lead conversion rates, and income. These are the metrics that tell the real story of how our strategies are hitting the mark. By focusing on the right numbers, we can sharpen our strategies, amp up our authenticity, and ultimately achieve the success we’re aiming for.

Measure those things and the rejections dwindle. So do failures.


But this is only true of the things we measure. To minimize the disappointments our job is to fill in any gaps with clarifying data, and see if there are other things we need to be measuring as well—or instead!


Let's set aside rejection for a moment, and consider someone trying to lose weight over several months. If they notice the scale isn’t budging, they might conclude they need to exercise more or eat fewer calories. However, it’s essential to measure not just weight but also caloric intake, workout intensity, and duration to get a comprehensive view of their progress and make informed adjustments.


Similarly, a business aiming to reach a specific revenue goal but falling short can consider raising prices or boosting sales and marketing efforts. To make these decisions effectively, they need to measure key indicators such as lead generation and conversion rates and understand how these metrics correlate with revenue. Additionally, they should evaluate if increased rates align with their market strategy.


There is a lot we can measure. Too much, in fact. - Stacey Ruth


As indispensable as metrics are, they can also be misleading if we are not careful to use the right ones. If you want to grow your clients base, but your social media followers are not converting, it’s time to look at your approach in social media, even if the followership is growing. In fact, this is particularly evident where the obsession with likes and followers often overshadows more meaningful measures of success.


The Pitfall of Vanity Metrics

Social media is awash with metrics: likes, shares, comments, and followers. These numbers are easy to track and provide instant gratification. However, they often fall into the category of vanity metrics – they look good on paper but do not necessarily translate to business growth. Focusing solely on these can lead to a false sense of success.


“Vanity metrics are the numbers you want to publish on Twitter to get the attention of others. Real metrics are the numbers you need to keep track of to grow your business” – Neil Patel.


Consider my experience with in-person networking events. Despite having a modest number of followers and interactions on social media, I frequently receive positive feedback about my content and blog articles during these events. Attendees often mention how valuable they find my posts, even though they may not always engage with them online. This feedback is a testament to the trust and credibility my brand has built, which is not reflected in traditional social media metrics.


Engagement Over Popularity

The real value of social media lies in engagement. While likes and followers measure popularity, engagement metrics – such as comments, shares, and direct messages – measure the depth of connection with your audience. Engaged followers are more likely to become clients or advocates for your brand because they are actively interacting with your content.


“The goal of social media is not to be good at social media, it’s to be good at business because of social media.” – Jay Baer.


For example, each time I attend a networking event, I typically leave with a couple of new clients or potential clients. This success stems from the trust and authority established through my social media efforts. The interactions may be fewer in number, but they are far more meaningful and impactful. If I relied solely on traditional metrics, I would miss out on recognizing the true influence of my social media presence.


An Alternate View

While focusing on engagement over metrics is crucial, it’s also important to acknowledge the role that likes and followers can play in social media strategy. These metrics can serve as indicators of brand awareness and reach. A large following can enhance your credibility and make your brand more attractive to potential clients or partners.

“Vanity metrics have their place. If you’re starting out, those likes, comments, and follows can be vital in proving social proof and credibility to new audiences.” – Jeff Bullas.


Balancing vanity metrics with engagement metrics provides a more comprehensive view of your social media performance. It’s about understanding that while likes and followers might open the door, engagement is what keeps the conversation going and converts followers into loyal customers.


Trusting the Process

This insight ties back to the themes of my previous blogs on accountability and impatience in leadership. In a world obsessed with instant results, it is easy to get caught up in measuring the wrong things. However, showing up consistently and persistently, and trusting the process, often yields more significant long-term benefits.


Just as in leadership, where accountability and patience are crucial, building a brand requires a focus on the right metrics. It is about quality over quantity. By consistently providing valuable content, we foster trust and build relationships that go beyond superficial numbers.


Metrics are essential tools for assessing our business plans, but we must ensure we are measuring what truly matters. In the context of social media, this means prioritizing engagement over vanity metrics like likes and followers. My experiences at networking events have shown me that the true impact of my social media efforts is reflected in the trust and connections I build, not just the numbers on a screen. By focusing on the right metrics and showing up consistently, we can achieve meaningful and sustainable success.


Metrics don't tell the whole story. It's the deeper connections and trust we build with our audience that ultimately drive our success in social media, personal branding, and leadership. While measuring follower counts, likes, and shares is important, it is equally crucial to assess engagement levels, audience sentiment, and the impact of your leadership. By focusing on these deeper insights, you gain a more comprehensive view of your effectiveness and can better foster meaningful relationships and authentic connections.

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