Are Facebook likes a vanity metric?
October 1, 2013
If you think pageviews, unique visitors, registered members, conversion rates, email-newsletter open rates, number of Twitter followers, or Facebook likes are important by themselves, you’re wrong.
Vanity metrics are ones that look good, but fail the “so what?” test. For unions, it is important to invest resources and effort into meaningful and impactful directions. There is a maxim that what gets measured gets done. For vanity metrics, this creates a danger: union communicators and campaigners can spend a lot of time focusing on likes and pageviews because they’re easy to measure.
A Facebook like by itself achieves nothing for your union or your campaign. One like, or a thousand likes, or even ten thousand likes are worthless if the people doing the liking won’t ever do anything real, in the real world.
In my book, Guide to Online Campaigning for Unions, I stated that social campaigning needs to have real people do real things in the real world.
Digital and social media activity that can’t draw a straight line to real things being done by real people in the real world should be questioned.
The metrics that unions should focus on are more serious things like revenue, membership join volume, membership retention, net membership growth, and growth in the number of delegates. These metrics are important because they measure success at the core of the union.
(Last year I wrote a more detailed article on what metrics unions should focus on.)
All the research shows that there is no correlation between a Facebook like and someone buying a service or product, increasing their volume of purchase.
Good metrics for union social campaigners are actionable numbers and measurable numbers that can demonstrate cause and effect. How does your social media activity contribute to someone joining the union, or becoming active in a campaign? Those measures are relevant and important.
The number of Facebook likes you have is just noise and vanity.