Recently I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow digital marketer when he smugly referred me to the social media stats for the company he works with. He expected me to hail him digital marketing king for having posts that reached thousands of people on Facebook and for having thousands of Twitter followers. I didn’t, instead I asked him one simple question; “so what’s your goal here?” And then the stuttering began.

While the layman might be impressed by figures, the digital marketer should never be. Figures are nothing but numbers and throwing a bunch of number at me means absolutely nothing if I do not understand what they represent.

Social Media has become an integral part of many organizations marketing platform and like every other platform before it, people are going to abuse it. Some people now make a living creating fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to sell to people like my friend who are inspired by numbers and want lots of Facebook likes and Twitter followers.

I think some people truly believe there is some sort of grand prize for people reached, page likes or followers so they buy lists, tag and mention people in their posts to get high numbers thus spamming people, not getting any leads and eventually hurting their brand. They forget that like every other marketing platform before social media, the intent is to eventually generate sales and not just gather a crowd of spectators.

Because Inbound Marketing is about attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful, Social Media is an extremely powerful tool but your social strategy can’t exist in a vacuum, it has to be connected to your website, your content marketing, your email marketing – social has to drive leads and not just generate numbers.

Social should be a primary driver of traffic to your website, and should represent about 10-15% of overall traffic. So, if you’re like my friend and you want to brag about your numbers, don’t, instead show me how social is impacting lead generation and overall conversion, don’t show me your social media stats in isolation.