~1,500 followers, but really it’s close to 0

The story of vanity metrics — with my Medium account and with startups.



Any platform that thrives on consumption of content needs constant flow of content to fuel the need of its audience. It is true for Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Medium — almost all the platforms that you see and use today. So if you keep on producing content regularly, the platform’s engine would take note of it and do two things:

  1. During the user onboarding process, it would suggest you as someone to follow every time a new user signs up (based on what he/she selects as their areas of interest)
  2. Recommend you as someone to follow to existing users. You can see it quite prominently on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.


I’m not sure yet. I haven’t given it much thought as of now. But if I had to choose, I would probably go with read/views percentage, recommend/views percentage, and most importantly — comments on your stories, i.e. conversations that you have and build around your stories. The number of shares/tweets your stories get is another important metric to look at, but I don’t think Medium shares that info as of now.


Many startups are about vanity metrics. The fast growing numbers and the sheer size of them look pretty on a cleverly designed slide, helps them look juicy in front of prospective investors and VC firms, and all in all, it helps them to get on a soapbox claiming how they are finding success in cracking the market. But those numbers don’t tell the real story most of the times.

It is all about conversations and conversions!

Businesses are all about conversations and conversions. Sure, at the end of the day, conversion is what you want. Let the money start flowing in. But if the transactions are not happening, the next best thing for you and your business is to get conversations going with your audience.

Conversations → Brand recall → Trust → Transactions

Second thing that you need to keep in mind is that your best and most valuable segment of your audience are people who promote you. Those who love what you do and/or who you are so much that they would talk about you without any expectations. These are your real influencers. Keeping that in mind, let us look at some examples.

  1. When it comes to a facebook post, your most valuable action by your audience is not that like or comment, but the ‘share’. Every person that shares your update/post/content, helps you get visibility in hundreds more news feeds.
  2. In case of instagram or pinterest, it would be using the ‘send to a friend’ feature.
  3. On twitter it would be when a person engages with a tweet (replies/retweets), but adds another person to the tweet. Someone who he/she thinks might be interested in that content.

That’s it for today; see you tomorrow.



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Abhishek Anand

Helping businesses grow 10x faster, and scale efficiently. Top Writer — Quora, Medium. Drop in a line if you’d like help with yours. mail@abyshake.com