Metrics are a powerful tool for measuring the well-being of your business.

Many small business owners, however, focus on the number of page “likes” or “followers” they have as an indication of how well they’re doing on social media and in their content marketing efforts. But those “vanity metrics” don’t usually bear much relevance to how effectively your strategy and tactics are working.

In a post for the KissMetrics blog, marketing analyst Lars Lofgren explains, “Vanity metrics are all those data points that make us feel good if they go up but don’t help us make decisions.”

Before putting a lot of stock into any metrics from social media insights or Google Analytics, first think about which metrics will realistically indicate how well your small business is performing. These will be things like new leads, revenue, service subscription renewals, etc.

After defining those key performance indicators, you can look at ways to measure them using the analytical tools available to you. Otherwise, you’ll be inundated with a lot of numbers that may or may not be truly relevant to the health of your business.

In his eBook, “A Field Guide To The 4 Types Of Content Marketing Metrics,” digital media entrepreneur Jay Baer breaks down content marketing metrics and the basic questions they answer into four categories:

• Consumption Metrics: How many people read, viewed, listened to, or downloaded a piece of content?

• Sharing Metrics: How many people shared a piece of content?

• Lead-Gen Metrics: How often did consumption of content result in a lead?

• Sales Metrics: Did you make money because of the content?

The last two in particular are those you might find most telling of how well your business is doing, and they’re far more representative of your small business’s content marketing and social media efforts than likes and follows.

If your lead generation and revenue numbers aren’t where you anticipated or not at a level you need them to be to sustain and grow your business, you’ll know you need to make some changes and you can begin taking action.

If you need more insight about content marketing, social media, and other aspects of starting and growing a small business, contact the SCORE Chapter near you. SCORE mentors have a vast amount of experience in all areas of entrepreneurship, and they’re available to provide guidance and feedback to fuel your success.

Call the local branch at 269-925-6100 or visit www.swmi.score.org to request SCORE help with your business.