Numbers abound in social media. It’s truly a medium were certain quantifiers remain visible to the general public, from follower numbers or fans, to post likes and shares. Those numbers can help boost perception of certain content. After all, it’s exciting to see a post shared over and over again across social media platforms.

However, some of those easily-seen numbers don’t really boost anything but your ego.

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What do we mean by vanity numbers?

Different people define vanity metrics in different ways, but Take Flight describes them as numbers that aren’t directly connected to business growth or conversion. For example, you can buy Instagram followers. We know it happens -- and we know it’s tempting to see those numbers climb. However, bought followers won’t interact with your account. They won’t click on your site when a new product launches, and they definitely aren’t purchasing anything you’re selling. Those numbers can help you appear successful, and that appearance might help you out on social media, but it won’t have a measurable effect on your business’s bottom line.

Steady, organic growth speaks to long-term goals

Organic growth happens when you attract people to your brand or business through social shares, targeted ad campaigns, or networking opportunities. Leading people to your brand in such a way means new likes, fans, and followers maintain a legitimate interest in what you’re presenting, whether you’re focusing on product sales, knowledge sharing, or influencer opportunities. Organic growth remains invaluable to small businesses, because those are the people who look to you for your expertise or quality content. Even if those numbers don’t skyrocket in a week or a month, they stick around--and they convert to measurable outcomes, like sales or shares.

Tips for maximizing organic growth

Even when you’re focusing on organic growth, you don’t have to be passive about your social media numbers. In fact, dedicated time to grow your platform helps nudge that growth forward more quickly. Concentrating on a few specific strategies curbs feelings of being overwhelmed by the possibilities.

  • Use relevant hashtags—Hashtags contain a ton of power. It helps you consolidate your posts and show up in searches for specific markets. Used appropriately, they get your content in front of eyes that might not otherwise see it. Do a little clicking around yourself before starting to sprinkle them throughout your posts. Check out hashtags frequently used by brands you want to emulate and businesses that seem to appeal to your target audience.

  • Pay attention to your visual strategy—This tip refers to Instagram growth in particular. A cohesive, visually attractive photo grid advertises your brand at a glance. Instagram followers flock to aesthetics, so periodically look at your feed as a whole to make sure you’re presenting your business the way you want it to be perceived.

  • Share the social media love—Through cross-promotion and paying-it-forward, you will see your numbers grow. If you have a strong social media presence on one platform, be sure to link to your other platforms occasionally. Sharing the content of brands like your own can draw their followers toward your account, too. One of the keys to quality growth in social media comes from your engagement numbers. Be sure to comment on, like, and share other posts from brands like yours and the hashtags you follow. When your own followers and fans comment on your content, chat back with them, letting them know they’re not commenting into the abyss.

  • Don’t forget to network—Make sure your social media account are cohesive and easy to find. Keeping the same handle across platforms helps, as does making sure links are easy to find on your website. Don’t ignore the power of a business card--conferences, industry events, and even chance encounters offer opportunities to make real, human connections. What could be more organic than that?

Take Flight Social Media Consulting can help you with your social media presence. Contact us to chat about growth strategies for your business.