When you build your business/strategy/career on something you can’t control, you’re subject to changing tides. Such is the nature of social media.

And yet, marketers and influencers continue to act surprised when social media networks make changes that aren’t in the immediate best interest of those marketers and influencers. Cue the outrage.

So when Snapchat removed the autoplay feature from Stories, some people were upset. According to one Snapchat influencer , “It’s really difficult to explain to brands why I’ve lost 35 percent of my views on Snapchat. And it’s hard to find value in my decision when I can barely prove my influence after this plunge in views.” And by her decision, we have to assume she’s referring to her decision six months ago to drop out of college to “influence” full time.

NEWS FLASH: You haven’t lost 35% of your views on Snapchat. You’re simply no longer seeing the 35% of people who already weren’t watching your Stories but were counted as views because of the liberal criteria Snapchat uses to qualify what constitutes a view.

Panic like this is indicative of marketers and influencers who don’t know why—from a business perspective—they are in social media to begin with, apart from some vague talk about brand building and staying top of mind. They often don’t know what business purpose drives their actions, and as a result they become overly reliant on social media metrics (e.g. likes, shares, views, reach, etc.) to justify their costs. So it’s not surprising that anything that threatens the quantity of those metrics creates for them a full-on Chicken Little caliber existenstial crisis

THE LESSON: Touting social media metrics outside the context of business goals is like celebrating odometer readings on a roadtrip to nowhere. Social media is a vehicle, not a destination. Make sure you know where you’re going.


This post first appeared on House of Mouse.