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The way we sometimes measure progress is by comparing where we are to another company. There are times when this makes sense but, too often, it affects our marketing strategy negatively!

Getting into the comparison game can stunt your company’s growth. Each company is different and will be built in different ways. Here are three types of numbers that shouldn’t be your metrics.

1. Social media followers

If you wanted a large social media following, you could just buy one. How many times have you seen offers to buy Twitter followers, Facebook likes, or Instagram followers? You can buy a huge following, but it will be worthless because there’s no engagement.

The truth is that social media is only one part of what should be a diverse marketing strategy. The organic reach of social media is decreasing. When you’re building your marketing campaigns, consider focusing on the 20% of strategies that grow your social media presence.

Don’t lose sleep over your social media presence. It will come as your audience grows.

2. Shares and comments on content

When you’re growing, there is a danger in focusing on how many people share your content. This focus will lead to disappointment.

There is some content that people like and absorb but aren’t comfortable sharing. So, while the big shares and comments are nice, they can be deceiving. Your primary goal should be engagement, education, and creating a deeper connection.

3. Status and accolades

In podcasting, there is a strategy called, “Twitter bombing.” You tweet out a direct download link to your show; they use a service to find high-click hashtags. Every time someone clicks on the link, it counts as a download. There are podcasts getting over 100,000 of these “downloads” that only have ten actual listeners.

In the book world, there are authors who sell ten copies of their book and become #1 in a certain category on Amazon. There are even some who make their book free and claim to be a “bestseller” when the book hits #1 in a category, even though no-one bought it.

In the blogging world, there are some companies that share their posts on Reddit and StumbleUpon and drive up huge numbers. The numbers are great, but those visitors come and go.

I share these examples to demonstrate a point.

It’s easy to fudge numbers or elevate your company’s status through loopholes but, in the end, it won’t help your online presence grow. Status and accolades are useful if you use them the right way and don’t try to deceive people.

The numbers can easily be manipulated, so don’t let that stop you. Your numbers will grow the right way as you build your online presence.