Don’t Let Numbers Numb Your Work

a laptop on a table with a screen of number charts

We live in a numbers world today. People engage with them all the time whether they realize it or not, especially when it comes to social channels. How many likes do you have? How many connections do you have on LinkedIn? How many Twitter followers to you have? How many people are visiting your site and clicking here and here? How many reviews do you have?

We can get absorbed in trying to reach high numbers, but the part that we often forget to ask ourselves is “why”.  Why do these numbers matter, and what are we using them for? Some businesses tend to use numbers in the wrong way. They use it as a temporary ego lift. Yes, I did say that aloud. They have high numbers—Life is good, and they are great masterminds of marketing. Some use it as a way to measure if their marketing is working or not as a whole regardless of what other strategies they use and forget to measure. Some feel as though they are simply keeping up with the Joneses by using countless social channels; and therefore, if they have it on the social navigation bar of their website, they look like the real deal.

Numbers are often abstract, and they can be just as obsessive in checking as it is texting on our phones. However, if you are not spending the time to think about these numbers in a way that they are guiding your next marketing moves, they are purely entertainment. Let’s look at some examples and think about some questions.

Example 1: You post on Facebook, and it receives 18 likes.

Is it successful?

  • Is “18” significant compared to your previous postings?
  • What was the purpose of the posting?
    • Did you see an increase in sales from your products and services based on these likes?
    • Did you receive shares to spread brand awareness alongside these likes?
  • Are the likes from your customers or your own employees and business partner stakeholders?

Are you taking next steps?

  • Are you performing A/B testing to see what type of post may receive more engagement and intended results?
  • Are you paying attention to day of the week, time of day, and other external “noise” factors that may be competing with your posts?
  • Are you noticeably using a generated schedule of posting, or are you delivering authentic, relevant material to your audience?

Example 2: You have a news feed on your home page, but they are not receiving clicks.

Is it successful?

  • Is a click the right goal here? Did a user perhaps scan the page and headlines instead to get the gist of the news they were seeking? Think about it. Twitter is full of 140 character headlines, and this is a primary source of information for many users to simply scan and scan. Perhaps this type of user behavior is being carried over into your website engagement.
  • What type of device are they using to view your home page? If they’re viewing on a phone, perhaps they don’t want to take the time to click around much. Scrolling and skimming can be far easier and just as sufficient.
  • Are your users receiving news content from your social media channels instead?

Are you taking next steps?

  • Are you testing and reviewing your copywriting of headlines? Are they short, attention-grabbing, and descriptive enough to entice a user to click on it?
  • Have you ever asked users about what they think about your headlines and news content? Is it even interesting to them?
Take Aways: When you choose to use a social channel for your business, you need to ensure your actions here have purpose and intention. It’s not something you just wing together. Each channel serves its specific purpose, and they all have their unique user behaviors and approaches. Test the waters, and stick with channels that give you impact. Consistently show up to the channels your audience will depend on as it relates to your business.

Actions Steps:

  1. Create a strategy before diving straight into social channels. Understand exactly what you want to measure and why.
  2. In order to measure success rates, ensure you are paying attention to the numbers as it correlates to your business goals. A number detached from a goal is simply just a number.
  3. Be purposeful of your time and have a balance of utilizing more work action over mulling on number dashboards to comprehend what could be endless interpretations of data. Keep it simple: review, reflect, take next steps, and move on. There is no productivity gained in staring at social numbers hours on end.
“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you will discover nothing.”
– W. Edward Deming –
Founder of Creative Seed, Maria Gosur is a designer, developer, entrepreneur, and educator who loves to learn, grow, inspire, succeed, and help others do the same.

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