The Great Vanity Debate: Does Audience Size Matter?

Joe Mineo
April 5, 2019

Fame. Everyone wants some level of attention and notoriety, since it usually comes with some perks. Kylie Jenner, the epitome of “from-nothing-to-something”, was just named the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes. However, that cult-like following didn’t come overnight, and with very few exceptions, you can’t buy fame. Or can you?

Hold on to your fun coupons—you’re about to learn something real.

Let’s start with a catch-all term that describes this concept: vanity. In society, vanity can be relatively negative, referring to people with inflated egos or people who care too much about appearance. In social media, vanity metrics are considered your social following, as well as engagements such as likes, shares, favorites and retweets. Much like vanity in society, vanity metrics can give the perception of credibility, strength, authority, and reputability. But just like in society, vanity is only something–not everything.

Being jacked and tan only gets you so far in life, and having a huge social following does the same. Can you drop $5,000 on page like or follower ads on Facebook and Instagram and get massive growth quickly? Yes, you can. However, if your audience doesn’t relate to your content, those numbers will shrink over time, and your organic reach rate (how many people see your posts divided by your total following) will plunge to peanuts if you’re not strategic.

Your audience if your content isn’t relevant to them. 

Patience you must have

If you’re thinking about purchasing page like ads or putting money into post engagement ads, there are a few things to consider before getting started. First, and most importantly, is patience. Kylie Jenner had a ton of help to get there, but it took her eleven years to build her empire. Jordan Peele, the wildly successful director of Get Out and Us, started writing back in 2003. The reality is that good things take time, and if you’re running a good business, it’ll take time to grow.

People, people everywhere

Second, social platforms are slowly reaching plateaus. Yes, Facebook is a monster and continues to grow tremendously, but even with 2.32 billion users worldwide, they will hit a point where their user growth will outpace population growth. Why does this matter? People are saturating the platform, which is creating an oversell-like situation on the website.

Do you know how many brands and companies you follow?

If you think of Facebook like a TV or radio, there’s only a certain amount of content placements people can see in a day. The more business pages and profiles are created, the more competition there is to show up in any one person’s feed. Obtaining a large audience is great, but it’s meaningless if people aren’t seeing and engaging with your posts.

Content is (still) king

Finally, you need to focus on content. If you win that lottery and people are actually seeing your posts, you need to care about what they see. If you’re a serious brand, social is a great place to lighten up and relate to your audience. Urgent care can be professional without cramming medical facts in your face. Auto shows can be more than just pretty cars in a convention center. Get creative, but don’t write novels. People are perceptive to genuine content, so just be yourself and/or your brand, and you’ll see engagement and audience growth.

Be unapologetically yourself. Try something new!

As with everything on social, paying a little bit can go a long way. A best practice for growing an audience with ads is to make sure you’re targeting people correctly, which will increase your chances of growing your organic reach. Page like ads are very direct and carry one specific call to action. You can use reach or awareness ads to help push your content out, which can also help grow your audience in a different way. Always be responsible with your ad spend, and strategize before throwing money at your goal.

Algorithms are not airwaves. Is social media a complex, ever-changing beast? Of course, but we wouldn’t function if we didn’t change. Yes, fame helps with growth. But with steady growth, you can achieve your own level of fame without sacrificing your savings.