Engagement is one of the most tossed around terms in marketing. No longer is it just a phrase we use in digital marketing, now we are talking about the engagement at events, the engagement with printed collateral and the engagement of our spouse with the dishes (I have the data – the engagement is none). But what does it actually mean?
Put really simply, engagement is a measure of how in-tune you and your content are with your audience. It’s really as simple as that. It’s not about numbers, it’s not about shares or views on a blog – these are all just metrics by which we measure engagement. What it comes down to is this – are you putting down content that your audience wants to read, see, click, double-tap, share or just generally get all up on their eyeballs?
If you’re fixated on the numbers, then there is a really simple calculation for engagement, that applies to all your platforms – website, email marketing, social media, whatever you’re doing.
Total likes, shares, comments or views on content (we are talking blog or EDM views here, not social media views) divided by your total followers on all that respective channel x 100. This will give you a general engagement percentage.
So; if you get 15 likes on a post and 2 comments = 17 engagements. And say you have 500 followers on your profile. 17/500 = 0.034 x 100 = 3.4% engagement score.
If you’re smart and tricksy, you can add together all your engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments, web views, EDM views) together, divide by your total followers on all the platforms you’re measuring x 100 and get a general engagement figure or figure for a particular piece of content.
But what are you trying to achieve?
I get a lot of clients coming to me and asking to have a particular number of followers on a profile, or views on a website. And I always ask the question – what for? Your total number of followers does not prove the value of those followers, and generally speaking those who are focussed on the number are generally less focussed on the engagement. You can have a tiny social media following, but if your engagement is 80% and you’re getting business through the door – who cares? Your social media, EDM or website is performing the job that you’re engaging it to do. It is keeping your audience aware of your brand, it is keeping them engaged and excited and connected with your brand. If that’s 10 passionate advocates vs. 1500 nonchalant’s, I know which one I would be choosing.
The aim of any social media agency is to increase followers and likes on a profile, but instead, I think we should be focussing on engagement metrics. Right now the average engagement on a Facebook profile is marked at somewhere between 2-3% which is shockingly low considering the amount of effort many brands have put into growing that profile. EDM or email marketing open rates (an engagement metric) is pegged at around 20% and that is a figure that hasn’t changed in nearly 10 years. Which is the better spend?
The higher your engagement metric, the more certain you can be that you are speaking to the right audience for your business and that what you are sharing has value. If your ultimate aim is to create a following that is receptive to your message, then engagement is a good way to measure that. So calculate your own metric, benchmark your performance and check in with it regularly to ensure that your social activities are connecting with your audience. If you’re not sure what you should, could or would be doing, now is a great time to conduct a social media audit and work out the direction moving forward – and I would love to help you with that. Check out the work I have done for my other social media clients by clicking this link or get in touch via the contact page.