/ idk

Getting Away From Vanity BS Social Metrics


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One of the hard things about startups is choosing the right metrics or KPIs to focus on.

As a small company there are probably only 3-4 things that you can do really well, while the rest of it is kind of just getting done.

It’s easy to get caught up in the vanity metrics that:

1.) aren’t important

2.) don’t move the business forward

3.) “feel like the right thing”

Social media for us is one of those things that just “feels like the right thing to do”.

We have an incredible line of products, incredible customers and incredible stories to share. It should be easy for us.

But we haven’t figured it out yet.

Maybe we need more photos like this:


So the whole “we need to figure out social and need to figure it out now!” problem had been nagging for a long time.

Then recently two non-miraculous things happened.

First, I had coffee aka a business bullshit session with Eric Bandholz (@beardbrand) where we talked about a number of things including social media.

Eric’s bloody damn* good at branding and social and gave me some awesome insight into some of the top youtube accounts in fashion / beauty.

Basically what I took away was that even the accounts with 1,000,000 followers or more weren’t running eight million dollar businesses or even close.

Second, I have been following Blue Buffalo ($BUFF) ever since I bought and subsequently sold their IPO through the LOYAL3 platform (h/t Noah) last year.

Blue Buffalo is a natural / organic pet food line and this is what their Instagram account looks like.



Now if we were using the vanity BS social metrics guide, you would estimate this company to be low to mid seven figures at best.

I mean, they only have 227 posts and 8,523 followers!!!

They operate in the pet niche… the most photographic niche of all niches because all people love pets!!!


But they just released their fourth quarter and full year 2015 results that included:

  • Net sales of $265 million, up 11.4% in Q4 2015
  • Net sales of $1,027 million, up 12% for Full Year 2015

It’s a billion dollar business with only 8,523 followers in the pet niche!!!!

Crazy right?

Blue Buffalo is not the only outlier here.

Sleep / mattress startups are dominating now using the Tesla direct to consumer skip the evil middleman model of disruption and price efficiency.

Tuft & Needle was the original player in the game. They’re bootstrapped (like us), fighting against venture funded businesses (like us), and expect revenues to reach $125 million to $225 million this year (holy!!! not like us).

Sleep seems like another niche that’s natural for social media.



In their last nine images there are no mattresses and the frequency is totally random with the ninth post dating back eleven weeks.

But they’ll do $125 to $225 million this year!!!

Both companies are probably too busy working on BIG THINGS to be thinking about image filters and hashtags.

I think that’s something we’ll start to imitate.


Bloody damn is reference to the Red Rising YA-fiction series that I recently finished.

I’m blogging once a month now because of a bet w/ Almog (read his blog here). If I don’t do it, I’ll donate $2500 to the Trump Campaign.


I make money online through websites and business consulting. Everyday I'm challenging myself to learn and do more.

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