Stop Obsessing Over Social Media Metrics and Start Obsessing Over Ideas
Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke

One of the great mistakes of the social media age is obsessing over metrics at the expense of ideas. There are so many digital tools today that analyze our posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others that we’ve become mesmerized at numbers rather than impact. But wait – before you say “Numbers are impact” – let me explain:

I’m noticing the situation with many church, ministry and nonprofit communications teams who constantly remind the pastor or leader about the organization’s social media metrics. With great enthusiasm, they do their best to impress leadership with followers, engagements, and other positive stats.

That’s nice, and don’t get me wrong – we do want people interacting and engaging with your posts. However, I’d also like to see more communications teams sweating the message.

Yes – it’s the pastor or leader’s job to come up with the message, and the communication team’s job to share and measure it. However, don’t get so caught up with tracking that you start ignoring other important issues of creativity and excellence.

As we’ve seen so many times, when it comes to metrics, gaming the system is pretty easy. There are plenty ways to jack up the numbers, order more of the pastor’s books, buy followers, or otherwise make the social media numbers look great. But my question is simple:

What are we saying? What is the message we’re sharing? What’s the quality of that message? What’s the level of the writing, the creativity or the thinking behind it?

Has the fact that someone clicked on your scripture post actually changed their life?

I would far rather have a small group of enthusiastic social media followers than a massive group of followers who don’t really care. Find your voice. Deliver compelling messages. Create posts that people can’t forget.

Focus less on hitting metrics, and more on changing people’s lives.


Phil Cooke is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” Find out more at

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