Why Behavior May be the Biggest Social Media Metric

Scott, my boss and Curator’s principal and founder, is always reminding me that when it comes to social media, I should focus on behaviors as much as or more than I focus on analytics. His point is that, while numbers and insights are important, what really drives social is basic human nature.

He’s right, and one of our clients posted something last week that illustrated that distinction beautifully:

If you can’t see, that’s 724 likes, 18 comments, and 3 shares, or around 1,160 engaged users—which is about 1,140% above average.

As soon as I saw this post, I emailed the mall’s Marketing Director, Jordan Youngs, to see if there was anything more to what was going on. Was the post sponsored? Were the people in the picture famous or something?

There was “No money put behind the post,” he said. “Really, the timing was just perfect. I was doing my morning mall walk after I grabbed some coffee, and I found myself walking behind them. Figured it would be great for social media, even though we weren't promoting anything in particular.”

Yes, and yes.

The post works so well because it’s impossible to look at it and not feel happy. That’s not a social media thing; that’s just basic human nature. You see it and you think, “Aw, that’s sweet. I hope that’s me and my wife when we’re older.”

And to Jordan’s point about not promoting anything, amen. The post itself doesn’t promote anything, but what it does do is humanize the mall. It showcases it as a shared space within the community. And even though it doesn’t feature a blatant call-to-action or information about a sale, the mall’s name and logo are easily visible. It’s a subtle advertisement that isn’t advertising anything other than, Columbia Center is a nice place to meet.

Like Scott’s always telling me: It’s not all about analytics. Sometimes it’s just about taking a step back and asking, “What will people like?”