A focus on social media engagement metrics \u2014 the likes, re-tweets, favorites, re-blogs, pins, comments, shares, followers, fans and friends \u2014 could be holding companies back from realizing social's full potential. In fact, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Nate Elliott warns clients against measuring social engagement.\n[Related Magazine Feature: How Social Media Can Influence High-Stakes Business Decisions]\nFrom a Forrester research note written by Elliott:\n\n"Marketers tell us measurement is their single biggest social challenge. And I know that tracking engagement feels like an easy option. But the simple fact is, engagement is not a useful social marketing success metric \u2026 We've spoken with scores of social vendors who measure engagement, and none has proven if \u2014 or how strongly \u2014 engagement correlates to business success metrics like loyalty or sales."\u00a0\n\nSocial media metrics and the associated analysis by marketers has "failed to live up to its promise as a panacea for customer-centricity," according to a recent report from customer intelligence platform Vision Critical, based on research compiled from three global brands. "It turns out that the people who participate and post on social media are not representative of your customers."\n[Related News Analysis: Twitter Flips Ad Model to Rival Facebook's Structure]\nFrom the Vision Critical report:\n\n"Almost 85 percent of what you hear on social comes from slightly less than 30 percent of the social media audience \u2014 a slice that has distinctly different shopping, media and social media habits. That means that social media analytics can't tell you what you need to know about your customers."\n\nOne reason why today's marketers are so reliant on social analytics is the abundance of measurement tools. Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms make it easy for businesses to track the people who follow them and what they say about the brands.\n[Related News Analysis: How Facebook Plans to Control Digital Advertising]\nConclusions based on this data are meaningless, though, if they can't be linked to actual sales or other business objectives. Facebook and Twitter both recently reorganized their ad platforms and products to focus on these goals, but many marketers are still lost in the tangle of numbers and engagement.\nSavvy companies could start to put significantly less focus on social engagement in 2015 and redistribute their efforts toward achieving demonstrable mission-critical sales goals and other objectives.