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"Popular" Doesn't Pay the Bills, So Measure What Matters

by Tom Ruwitch

Back in high school, I loved “yearbook day.” First thing in the morning, school administrators would crack open the boxes. We’d get our shiny new yearbooks. And then we’d get to work.

“Will you sign my yearbook?” we’d ask, over and over and over again.

Some would merely sign their names. Others would write pithy accounts of memorable moments.

We’d solicit signers until every blank space on every page was filled with notes from our “friends.”

The more notes, the better. The longer the notes, the better.

Our status depended on it.

A well-signed yearbook meant you were “popular.”

Last year I pulled my dusty old sophomore-year yearbook from the top of my closet. I read the notes and was struck by one thought: So many of the signers were not even my friends.

Carol told me how “great it was to be in French class” with me. I didn’t even like Carol, and she didn’t like me.

All those notes didn’t mean anything, except that I was very aggressive at soliciting notes.

I told this story recently to a friend who was chirping about his social media prowess.

“We’re doing really well on Facebook,” he said.

He then spouted off the stats: So many followers. So many likes. So many shares.

“How many sales?” I asked.

“Huh?” he replied.

“Sales,” I repeated. “Are you generating any sales from all those followers and likes and shares?”

He didn’t know.

Just like status-hungry teens, businesspeople keep track of the wrong metrics. All those followers, likes and shares mean we’re good at collecting followers, likes and shares.

But they don’t mean we’re good at building business.

Sure, building a big social media following might lead to growing our business. But you have to convert those followers to customers. Too many businesspeople think they’ve succeeded merely by building the following.
Measure what matters.

How many of those social media followers are clicking to buy or scheduling a sales appointment with you?

How many followers are giving you their name and email address by opting in to your list so you can market directly to them?

How many become customers or referrers or contribute to the bottom line in some other way?

Social media makes it easy for us to seem “popular.” But “popular” doesn’t pay the bills.

Tom Ruwitch is the president and founder of MarketVolt, an interactive marketing firm. For more business-building marketing resources by Tom Ruwitch, go to MarketVolt.com/resources

Submitted 173 days ago
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