The danger in chasing vanity metrics

  • Category: Running Your Business

It’s easy to fall prey to chasing vanity metrics.

Things like how many Instagram followers you have, whether Twitter decides to grace you with a blue checkmark or the sexiness of the media outlet you’re quoted in.

Even how many email subscribers you have can be a vanity metric if you’re all about the absolute number vs. their rightness for your message.

Following vanity metrics imperils building your authority in two ways:

Watching them rack up makes it ever easier to bend yourself like Gumby to keep adding followers and likes and hits—even if they aren’t your ideal audience.

Watching them fall or stall makes you doubt whether you have what it takes to build an audience, which can become a vicious circle where you keep holding yourself back to avoid disappointment.

The solution?

Pick a handful of metrics you really care about—the ones that actually indicate how you’re doing—and force yourself to disconnect from the drama of the rest.

Still celebrate when you get a coup (“Why yes, I was thrilled to be mentioned in that Vanity Fair article”), but keep your day-to-day focus on the metrics that will actually impact your business.