March 25, 2019 | by Olivia Roehm, Account Executive

Social media has truly been a paradigm shift in the way businesses and brands are now reaching their customers. The word is out and everyone from Fortune 500 companies to the entrepreneur selling t-shirts on Amazon is using it.  Not all social media strategies are created equal, and in order to stand out in an endless sea of fish, you have start with proactively engaging your audience.

What is Social Media Engagement?

Social media engagement is the term for interactions between your company and people on social media around your social media content. Are they liking it, sharing it, watching it all the way through? What metrics really matter when trying to understand the ROI of your social media presence?

There are a number of key engagement metrics that should be tracked. Tracking engagement metrics will help marketers make better decisions across the board in the business. Think about it – your loyal social media audience is the best test audience you could ask for. You can test products, marketing content, ask and receive answers you’ve always wanted to ask. This is why utilizing these free opportunities to build and engage with an audience on social media can positively affect your other business decisions.

Tracking likes, comments, and shares are key (shares being the most important because it means your audience is willing to be a brand ambassador for you based on that content), but here are a few other engagement metrics you can follow to go below the surface of analytics.

Some Examples of Key Engagement Metrics:

  • Average Engagement Rate – The number of engagement actions a post receives relative to your number of followers. You can get to this number by adding up a post’s likes, comments, shares, and dividing by total number of followers, then multiplying by 100 to get your average engagement percentage rate. Make sure to note the general industry benchmark you’ll compare against – they’re slightly different across platforms. The higher your engagement rate, the better your content is resonating with your audience; you should produce similar content.
  • Audience Growth Rate – this measures how you are bringing on new followers to join your audience on social media. Don’t just look at your follower growth – cross reference this against your content pieces, your events, and any announcements you’ve made on social media about new products, business growth, etc. What events correspond with the highest growth-rate periods, the spikes in that growth?
  • Reach – this is the measurement of how far your conversation is spreading across social media. It is akin to the reach volume you see through something like tv, except this reach is more targeted, since you’re likely reaching audiences who are similar to those loyal followers from your page. To get your reach engagement percentage, take your shares, likes, and comments (or one of these) on a post, and divide it by the reach to calculate the engagement percentage relative to how many people saw the post. This helps you understand (especially stacked up against the average engagement rate) a little more on how your potential audience sees you.

These are not all the metrics possible to track, but these will help you scratch below the surface of your analytics to start seeing where you can extract ROI decisions.

How Engagement Directly Reflects Your ROI

To best leverage your marketing dollars in social media marketing or any other campaign, you need research on your audience. Social media engagement metrics give you real-time answers on questions about your audience. By all means, cross reference with statistics about your audience’s geographic locations, incomes, buying habits from databases like Nielsen, Oracle, IBM; however, use the social behavior research that is apparent right on your social media pages. Your followers are unpaid evangelists who believe in your brand so much that they are willing to share it with the world; this means they also could be more likely to convert to paying customers and returning customers.

The most direct return is to see an online sale – analytics for e-commerce sites are so robust now that we should be able to track any online sale. Through your social media pages and accounts and using specific links, you should be able to test a number of ways to put forward an offer to become a customer to your audience. Test these different ways to see conversions, then use the best options in paid marketing campaigns and you should see a higher ROI for your efforts.

Leveling Up Your Loyal Audience Through Influencer Marketing

Influencers have the power to quickly share your content to a large audience of people likely to become part of your audience. It is important to choose wisely to make sure you’re not wasting time and money in a partnership. Here are some tips

Choosing a social media influencer:

  • Don’t just pick someone who has a large following because of the sheer number of followers they have. Choose a niche influencer with a niche audience who you’ve proved through research or past sales would purchase from you.
  • Find an influencer who is going to represent your brand as you would.  You have to take everything into consideration including age, geographic location, politics, etc.  You want a portion of their loyal audience to become your loyal audience, and they need to get the right brand message from you.
  • Get the most bang for your buck. Social media influencer campaigns can get expensive.  But, whoever said you can’t make an influencer a loyal audience member for free? Look for ways to add value to high profile influencers, and use that for leverage.  If they already love the product or service, try reaching out and offering it to them for free, since you already see them using and talking about it.

The bottom line is that social media engagement is much more than just spreading information.  You have to start thinking about it as a physical, tangible thing that can give you valuable market research and ROI stats. Take some time to work on developing new ways to attack social media engagements, or work with a team who can put the time and effort into developing better stats on managing your social media pages. Engagement can directly affect your business growth, so the opportunity!

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