Social Media Engagement: Why it Matters and How to Do it Well

Without engagement, social media is just media.

People don’t use social networks for a one-way experience. They’re seeking connections — with people and with brands.

What started out as a way for people to hang out with their friends online has turned into a place where brands can engage in meaningful conversations and turn those conversations into followers and customers. And social media engagement has a major impact on small businesses, affecting everything from brand awareness to customer loyalty.

Here, you can learn how to improve your social media engagement strategy, so you can make sure that impact is positive.

What is Social Media Engagement?

In the past, businesses that wanted to communicate with their customers did so by purchasing a television, radio, or print advertising. These mediums facilitate a one-way conversation: the company prints a message and spend money to get their message in front of customers, customers read the message and respond to it by visiting the store and making a purchase.

Social media has fundamentally changed the way that communication works between businesses and their customers, essentially creating a public forum for communication between the business and all of its customers. Communication between businesses and their customers is now a two-way street, enabling customers to engage with their favorite brands in completely new ways.

Social media engagement is a measurement of how effectively a company is creating interactions with its customers in the social stream. It can be measured in many ways – likes, mentions, shares, views, comments, subscriptions, etc. – and correlates with the number of people who are forming a relationship with the brand. Social media marketing strategies reflect the reality that customers must market to customers where they are – according to the Global Web Index, 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction. With the average person spending just under two hours per day on social media, social media engagement is essential to make sure your brand is capturing enough attention.

Engagement Rate

While engagement is important, having a good engagement rate is even more so. Engagement rate measures the amount of interaction your social content earns relative to audience reach. How you calculate engagement rate will vary depending on your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase the number of likes on your content, the engagement rate will be calculated by dividing total followers by the total post likes. To determine if your engagement rate is increasing over time, you will need to check the engagement rate on individual posts at the beginning and end of each month. Everyone’s goals are different and depending on what they are, how you measure engagement will vary. 

The better your engagement rate, the better your content will do and the faster your social media will grow. Having good engagement means your content is connecting. What constitutes a good engagement rate can vary based on your brand’s industry, location, number of followers, and quality of content, so do your research to determine how your engagement should range for your business. This year, Instagram has been testing a handful of important new key performance indicators that may change how engagement rate is determined in the future, such as removing likes and removing the “follower activity” tab. Until then, the best way to determine your engagement rate is to use the industry-standard guideline for engagement rates:

  • Less than 1% = low engagement rate.
  • Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate.
  • Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate.
  • Above 6% = very high engagement rate.

How to assess your capacity for social media engagement

Honestly evaluating your company’s capacity to handle every aspect of social media engagement is important early on so that you don’t set yourself up for failure — and everyone who works with you. If you’re a one-person band, you have to be smart and selective about the social media engagement tools you use, the way you use them, and the way you engage.

To gauge how to increase your social media engagement and set realistic expectations about your aptitude for engaging with customers and prospects in social media, consider these factors:

  • Time: Determine how much time you can invest in engaging in social networks—whether daily, weekly, or monthly
  • Resources: Outline the support system you have in place to do the work. Resources in social media engagement usually refer to
    • People who handle the work
    • Tools and services you use to streamline the work
  • Skills: Even if you have the people and the tools to engage, without the right skills or the capacity to develop those skills via training, no amount of resources will put you on the right track toward properly engaging with your social media audience.

Maintaining a poor social media presence is worse than having no presence. With an inactive presence, your audience assumes you are listening but will fault you for the days and weeks of silence when their thoughts and questions go unanswered. Avoid the temptation to let substitute for using them well based on best practices.

Additionally, if you don’t know how to properly engage, your presence in your networks can fall flat or — worse — create a social media crisis. Research how best to use the resources at your disposal — or make time for proper social media training.

How to Evaluate the Competition on Social Media

You can learn a lot from watching and analyzing the best behaviors of competitors. You need to know where you stack up in online reach, conversation, and engagement. Looking toward competitors for benchmarks is a common business practice.

Services such as Simply Measured compare and analyze you and your competition to determine who has the competitive edge. Simply Measured incorporates Facebook, Google+, Google Analytics, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube. The analytics tool provides benchmarks for, and analysis of, how you and your competitors are faring across social networks in these areas:

  • Engagement Rate: This metric looks at your overall engagement and your competitor’s social media engagement, and at which percentage of the conversation is original from your brand versus an @reply to an existing conversation. The difference here is important to several techniques should measure daily the true engagement and not simply broadcast messages.
  • Responsiveness: Members of your community want to know that they can trust you. Gauge your level of responsiveness about the other businesses in your industry. Your customers expect you to reply when they reach out. You can generate reports that measure timeliness, response rate (as in the percentage of time you respond to an inbound tweet), and the length of the conversation on your social media platforms.
  • Reach: This term refers to the size and strength of your overall social presence in social networks, your fans and following, and their comments and likes, as compared to your competition.

Why is Social Media Engagement Important for Businesses?

Whether you are on social media or not, it’s an inescapable truth that your customers are paying attention to their social media accounts for up to two hours or more each day. Establishing a social media presence, building a following, and engaging them effectively with quality content is a big effort, but what benefits can you expect to glean from your investment in social media? Here are just a few ways that social media engagement can have a positive effect on your business:

  • Social Media Engagement Offers Social Proof of Your Business

Social media engagement isn’t simply the number of Instagram followers you have or the number of “likes” you’ve accumulated on your business Facebook page, although those things do make a difference when it comes to how your business is perceived by a prospective customer. If someone visits your business page and sees that you’ve got a large fan base, that offers the same kind of social proof as a celebrity endorsement or a testimonial from a satisfied customer. When someone visits your page and your business looks popular, people think “Well, if all of these people are happy customers, maybe I’ll be a happy customer too!”  – making them much more likely to purchase your product or service.

  • Social Media Engagement Expands Your Marketing Reach

Social media platforms are global, meaning that fans and customers of your business can engage with you from anywhere in the world. In the past, even businesses that could operate globally were restricted by the difficulties of advertising to a global customer base, but social media allows companies of any size to reach potential customers wherever they can be found. With the right tools in place, your social media channels can be set up to turn those views into appointments and visits to your business, which will result in more sales.

  • Social Media Engagement is More Cost-Effective than Traditional Advertising

One of the limitations of traditional advertising me if you send a printed flyer to 500,000 people or 5,000, while it costs the same amount to print and mail each one, it will be much more expensive to print 500,000. On the other hand, social media engagement campaigns that produce a lot of shares can generate a lot more views and publicity for your business than a paper flyer ever could – all for a one-time cost. A single person sharing or re-tweeting a message from your company could reach hundreds or even thousands of people for virtually no cost! Businesses that miss out on this with social media strategies that don’t generate engagement are losing a major opportunity.

  • High Social Engagement Boosts Brand Awareness

Each time an individual interacts with your brand on social media, overall awareness of your brand is increased. If a customer likes your Facebook page or one of your posts, friends, and followers of that person will see that engagement, followers of your brand may see that engagement and overall awareness of your brand increases. A study conducted by Market Path found that 83% of companies see brand awareness as a central goal of their social strategy, while just 11% were using social media to provide customer service.

How do Businesses Promote Social Media Engagement and Social Sharing?

Social media engagement can boost brand awareness, expand marketing reach and ROI, and provide social proof that drives new customers to your business.  Here are some strategies that brands can use to boost social media engagement and start enjoying its benefits:

  1. Offer Incentives for Social Sharing

Offering an incentive that triggers a social share is one of the best-value social media marketing initiatives. This idea can work differently depending on your business, and here are some examples:

  • A restaurant offers its guests 10% off of their bill if they take a picture of their meal and post it on Instagram.
  • A clothing retailer offers a customer 10% off of their bill if they provide their e-mail address and phone number for the store’s mailing list and SMS “sales alert” service.
  • A salon offers a discount for customers who book an appointment using their automated online appointment booking service and share it on social media.

Effective incentives offer an immediate benefit that requires the customer to promote the business for free to their social media following. For added effect, ask the customer to include hashtags that will help expand the reach of their post.

  1. Deliver Quality Content

The best way to build engagement with your existing followers is by creating content that they want to engage with. This could mean an informative or appropriately controversial article that sparks a conversation between your followers or an offer of coupons for your business. Either way, delivering quality content depends on understanding what your customers want from you and how you can provide genuine value. If your customers know that you regularly advertise exclusive promotions and coupons on your social media page, they’ll stay engaged to make sure they don’t miss out.

  1. Give and Take to Boost Engagement

Advertisement used to be a one-way communication channel from the business to the customer. Now that the conversation has opened, businesses need to join in and show that they are listening to their customers by participating in discussions on their platforms and those of their followers. If someone posts a positive review of your service on social media, take the time to thank them and invite them back in. If someone posts something negative, apologize and offer to make it right. Doing so shows that you’re willing to play give and take, and that you’re responsive to feedback from your customers.

  1. Promote Your Platforms In-Store

If you’re wondering how to increase social media engagement, a great place to start is in your physical store where you already have the customer engaged with your brand and associates. You can offer business cards with links to your social media accounts, list the information for your social profiles and Twitter handle on your store bulletin board, or even set up space in your store where customers can take an attractive selfie for Facebook or Instagram.

Features Affecting Engagement Rates on social media

Brands can no longer live in a world where they hide behind a wall of private communication and push inquiries, concerns, or problems aside. The way of the future is for companies to respond to, engage with and build trust among existing and potential customers in a way that is visible for the world to see.

I am of course talking about social media. These platforms have fast become one of the most important communication channels for businesses. Companies that are serious about reaching customers can’t afford to invest in it or take it seriously.

Communication is now a two-way street and people can engage with their favorite brands in completely new ways. With engagement no doubt forming a solid part of your social media strategy, I’ll explore why it’s so important and share some ways you can start to build your engagement rates. 

  • Direct engagement

Often, when we have a question or query for a company, we bypass the phone and even email and head straight to their social media channels. Customers want to engage with a member of your team who will respond and resolve their issues quickly.

Direct engagement is something that companies should be taking very seriously. 63% of customers say they expect companies to offer customer service via their social media channels and 90% of social media users have used these platforms to communicate with a business.

  • Public resolutions

Dealing with customer complaints in public may sound like your worst nightmare. When handled correctly, however, it can be a public relations win for your business.

By responding publicly to a customer’s complaint or concern, you’re showing that you take these issues seriously. If you’re seen to respond quickly and respectfully while resolving the problem to everyone’s satisfaction, your customers will see you as a business that cares about them, not just about profits.

  • Social listening

Social listening is a fantastic way to improve customer service, boost business and drive engagement. As the name suggests, it involves listening to consumer conversations via your social media channels.

By listening to what people are saying about you, your business, and even your competitors, you can learn about problems or opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. You can then interact with those who were talking about your business to solve problems, develop opportunities, and most importantly, build relationships.

To reach out to the hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of followers you could potentially acquire, engagement needs to be your top priority. Below I’ll explain why this is.

Why Engagement Rates are Important on Social Media

  • They offer social proof of your business

Social media engagement extends beyond the number of Instagram followers you have or the number of likes you’ve accumulated on your business’s Facebook page. It does, of course, have a bearing on how your business is perceived by a prospective customer but how you’re engaging with your fans is what’s going to force people to pay attention.

If followers are commenting on your posts saying how much they love your content, products, or services, new visitors are naturally inclined to think that if other people enjoy working with you, they will too. Social media engagement is so powerful it can offer the same kind of social proof as a testimonial from a satisfied customer. In turn, this makes people more likely to purchase your product or service.

  • Increased engagement boosts brand awareness

Social media has the power to bring people closer together irrespective of borders and oceans in between. For businesses, this means that the world’s oyster when it comes to extending their reach.

Every time an individual interacts with you on social media, overall awareness of your brand increases. Someone simply following or liking your page won’t always show up on anyone else’s newsfeed, however. If they’re liking, commenting on, or sharing your content, this is what’s going to get you seen by new audiences.

Blossom by First Media received a huge amount of publicity back in 2017 when one of its Facebook videos went viral. It was a short and simple video providing tips on getting clever with your clutter and people loved it so much it was viewed over 400 million times, received 12 million shares, over three million likes, and nearly a quarter of a million comments.

  • Engagement plays a significant role in social media algorithms

Each social media platform has a unique set of technical elements and user analytics. This data is analyzed and used to create an algorithm that delivers content to its users. Put into layman’s terms, engagement affects the visibility of your content.

The more people interact with your posts, the more likely your content is to show up in their newsfeed. The reason for this is because if someone never likes your content, sites like Facebook assume they’re not interested in it. If you’re regularly liking, commenting, or sharing someone’s posts, however, Facebook knows you’re interested in what they have to say.

Dealing with social media algorithms can be frustrating (especially because they like to change them every so often). They can also be beneficial to small businesses, however. You may feel it’s impossible to compete with the larger brands but with everyone being forced to focus on creating high-value content that provokes a reaction, it means that businesses of all sizes can reach out to their followers.

Knowing what each platform prioritizes can help you beat the algorithms and boost engagement.

  1. Facebook

When deciding what content to show its users, Facebook now puts posts “that spark conversations and meaningful interactions” at the top of people’s news feed.

Some great ways to do this include:

  • Create content that’s going to evoke stronger reactions than a simple like. Facebook introduced reactions in 2016 so users can now show love, anger, sadness, amazement, or even laugh at the content they’re seeing. Few people realize the importance of the reaction feature but it does have a higher weightage than likes when it comes to prioritizing content.
  • Shares have a huge influence on the number of people who see your posts on Facebook. The site prioritizes content that comes from friends and family as opposed to fan pages.
  • Comments are another great way to ensure you’re appearing in the news feeds of your followers and even the people they’re connected with. Popular or topical news articles are great at prompting discussion as are interactive posts. If you run a bakery, for example, you could ask your followers what their favorite type of cake is.
  • If you’re brave enough to go live on Facebook, it’s worth noting that it gets six times more interactions than normal videos and is, therefore, a great way to boost engagement.
  • Remind your followers to choose to see your content first through the ‘see first’ option which can be found on your page’s ‘following’ drop-down menu.
  1. Instagram

What better way to find out how Instagram prioritizes content than to hear it straight from the social media giant themselves? As with all these platforms, there’s always confusion about how their algorithms work so Instagram addressed the issue directly.

If you want to ensure that more people see your content on Instagram, this is the way to do it:

  • Use good quality photos: This is a given considering it’s a photo-sharing platform so make sure your imagery is striking and uses bold colors. If it would make you stop in your tracks (or stop scrolling), chances are it will have the same impact on your followers. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, there are plenty of apps that can help you create better imagery on a budget.
  • Post stories: Instagram says that stories don’t have any influence on their algorithm but considering it’s the most popular content on the site, it can still help you gain and retain followers. It also gives people a reason to keep checking back with your page.
  • Go live: Like with the stories, going life doesn’t affect Instagram’s algorithm. Followers can choose to receive notifications when you go live however and you’ll also go to the top of your followers’ stories feeds which can dramatically help improve engagement.
  • Compelling Captions: We know with certainty that Instagram prioritizes engagement so it’s important to write compelling captions. Encourage interactions by asking questions or encouraging followers to tag other people in your posts.
  • Hashtags: The more eyes on your posts, the better. Hashtags are very important on Instagram. Without them, your content is limited to the people following you. By using hashtags, however, you’re opening yourself up to a whole new audience.
  1. Twitter

Twitter users can switch between an algorithm feed and a real-time feed. There are several ways your small business could appear on someone’s timeline:

  • Top tweets: an algorithm-powered feed organized by ranking signals. In addition to ranked content from followers, this feed will sometimes feature suggestions about who to follow as well as content from accounts you don’t follow.
  • Latest tweets: a reverse-chronological feed of tweets from followers (the most recent tweets appear first).
  • In case you missed it: a short algorithm-powered module of top tweets. The more time a user spends in the app, the less likely they are to see this.
  • Happening now: this section may occasionally appear at the top of user timelines, featuring events or topics of interest.
  • Trends for you: an algorithm-driven section that highlights popular trends and hashtags for users.

While Twitter’s CEO has always been insistent about maintaining a real-time platform, several factors affect the site’s ranking signals.

  • How recently the tweet was published
  • How many retweets, clicks, favorites, or impressions a post has received
  • The type of media included in the tweet (image, video, GIF, and even polls)
  • How many followers an account has

The main thing any small business owner wants to know is how can they use Twitter’s algorithms to boost their engagement:

  • Maintain an active presence – the more positive engagements you have with your followers, the better. The best way to do this is to post regularly. Consistent engagement can also earn you credit with Twitter’s algorithm.
  • Hashtags can drive brand awareness and engagement which can translate into algorithm recognition. It may also land your hashtags in the ‘trends for you’ section.
  • Use rich media. Tweets with videos can bring as much as 10x more engagement and GIFs get 55% more engagement.
  • You must reply to anyone who tweets you or replies to your post from a customer service perspective. Because Twitter’s ranking signals look at account engagement, however, it can also help you beat the algorithm.

Tips on Boosting Engagement Rates

I’ve shared some great tips on boosting engagement rates for each platform above. There are also several techniques that should be standard practice across all your social media channels. This will ensure you’re appearing on people’s timelines and engaging with your audience in the right way.

  • Respond to every single comment or post people leave on your page.
  • Offer an incentive in return for social sharing. For example, a restaurant can offer customers 10% off their bill if they take a picture of their meal and post it on Instagram. Other companies can offer a discount if customers check-in to their Facebook business page or run a competition where followers can win a prize for liking or sharing their post.
  • The best way to build engagement with your followers on any platform is to create content they want to engage with. This could be sharing articles that spark conversation, posting helpful tips, imparting your expertise, or offering discounts.

How to Increase Social Media Engagement

While you could just cross your fingers and hope that your followers just start spontaneously getting chatty, chances are, they may need a little encouragement.

Luckily, there are plenty of tricks of the trade to boost that engagement and get this virtual party bumpin’.

  1. First, analyze your engagement

It’s hard to measure your growth if you don’t know where you’re starting from.

Put on your data scientist hat (looks great on you) and jot down your current number of followers, how many comments and shares you’re getting on average per post, or whatever numbers are meaningful to you.

Then make sure to keep tracking regularly so that you catch jumps or dips in engagement that can give you valuable clues about what’s working (or, just as importantly, what’s not).

These tools for social media analytics can help you save time getting started.

  1. Select your strategy

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Since every company’s business goals are different, every company’s social media strategy will be too.

Domino’s Pizza and Tiffany and Co. are going to have very different motivations for their engagement, and that will drive the content they put out there.

Domino’s is trying to create a young, fun, and weird brand voice, while Tiffany aims to educate about its rich design history: their tweets are both engaging in their ways.

Depending on what suits your brand and what your business has to offer, your social media engagement goals might include:

  • Changing public perception of your brand.
  • Developing new customer leads.
  • Collecting feedback about new products.
  • Educating your audience with resources and advice.
  1. Know your audience

It’s hard to get people engaged if you don’t know who you’re talking to.

The sort of language, tone, and resources that resonate are likely going to be different for a skateboarding company versus a gardening supply shop.

As a business that is marketing on social media, you need to ask yourself this: who are you talking to?

Knowing your target audience is essential to creating tailored marketing campaigns and successfully engaging customers through social media.

Knowing your audience will also help you determine:

  • What social media sites to be on.
  • When to publish.
  • Type of content.
  • Brand voice.
  1. Create and share valuable content

Now that you know who is following you and why you want to reach them you’re ready for the important third ‘W’: what the heck do I tell them.

Content that is helpful to the audience, that addresses their needs and pain points, is critical. Think “conversation” not “broadcast.”

If you’re just talking about how great your brand is, or what you have for sale, it’s going to be harder to connect.

For a t-shirt company, posting pics of your latest design will only get you so far; posting fashion tips for how to dress up a t-shirt to wear to a wedding, on the other hand, is offering unique service and wisdom to help your fans out.

In terms of format, it’s helpful to understand which kind of content is best for each platform: artful images for Instagram, longer text posts or videos for Facebook, and so on.

That being said, don’t be afraid to get creative with these post ideas:

  • Contests.
  • Asking questions.
  • Polls.
  • Encouraging your audience to ask you questions (try an “Ask Me Anything” session).
  • Test their knowledge.
  • Media upload contests.
  • Animated gifs.
  • Spotlighting customers.
  • Custom stickers or filters for Instagram Stories.

Overall, the best way to figure out what content is working is to watch and learn. Be a content scientist (another hat, cute!). Experiment, observe the reaction, tweak and repeat.

  1. Stay topical

Not sure what to chat about on any given day? Just join a conversation that’s already happening. Commenting on current events and trends in a way that ties in your brand is an opportunity to instantly connect with an audience in a timely way.

Trending pop culture (remember the spring of Tiger King?), big sporting events, holidays, or viral memes can all be great excuses for a post.

  1. Keep the conversation flowing

Some may think of conversation as an art, but in some ways, it’s Several techniques shouldmore of a sport: volleying attention and questions back and forth.

Online, you need that give and take, too. Brands need to practice both reactive engagement and proactive engagement.

When you’re reactive, you’re answering direct messages, incoming mentions, or comments.

When you’re proactive, you’re the one sparking conversation with people who may be talking about you, but haven’t necessarily sent messages to you directly. Maybe they’ve mentioned you with a misspelled brand name (“I love La Croy!”), or a common, unofficial nickname (“can I pls marry an McD’s breakfast sandwich”). Either way, this is an opportunity to reach out and say hey.

  1. Show your human sign

It’s way more tempting to engage with a brand when you think there’s a real person on the other end. And there is! (…Right?) So don’t hide it.

A lot of brands encourage their social team to personally sign off the measure daily should more in their posts. If you’re particularly charming, you may even find yourself with a cult following, like the security guard at The Cowboy Museum who signs each of his posts

But beyond names, there are lots of ways to get personal:

  • Go beyond retweeting and liking and comment to start a conversation
  • Acknowledge and answer questions
  • Respond to comments with humor or warmth
  • Show the people behind the brand in photos or videos
  1. Keep response times speedy

With Hootsuite’s Saved Replies function, you can pre-compose responses to common queries. When an FAQ comes your way, you’ll be at the ready with a thoughtful, informative response.

Okay, this might sound counter to the “show your human side” point above, but stay with me. A speedy response can lead to increased customer satisfaction, and save your team time so they can provide even more support (and human touch) elsewhere.

Plus, by writing your answers in advance, you’ve got all the time in the world to make sure the tone is as warm, friendly, and helpful as you want.

But you don’t even have to write them yourself if you don’t want to. Answer enough questions of a similar type, and Hootsuite will suggest replies based on your previous responses (kind of like the Google suggested reply feature in G-Chat). Since they are based on your previous answers, you can rest assured that they’ll still sound human and on-brand.

  1. Schedule smarter

Posting frequently—one to three times a day, ideally—is important to keep your content fresh and active in the social streams. Posting at the right time each day is important too, so your sweet hedgehog meme doesn’t miss its chance for maximum audience exposure.

You can’t be at your computer 24/7 (believe us, we’ve tried), but you can take advantage of scheduling tools like Hootsuite to plan and prep your posts in advance.

Try setting aside a block of time (either daily or weekly) to deal with creating and scheduling posts, and another regular time slot to deal with reactive and proactive responses. Then it’s done for the day and you can focus on the rest of your work (or laughing at other hedgehog memes).

A few other Hootsuite dashboard features can also help boost your productivity and ensure you stay on top of engagement:

  • Streams: Use streams in your dashboard to see all incoming messages from each social network in one place, instead of checking each social network separately.
  • Lists: Create Twitter lists based on specific industries, events, or hashtags and set each one up in a stream for easy monitoring and proactive engagement.
  • Tags: Use this feature to tag and track positive engagements so you can easily include them in your weekly or monthly reports.
  1. Think beyond the feed

Comments or shares are great, but these public shows of engagement aren’t the only way to see that your audience cares.

Private conversations, like direct messages or story interactions, are also powerful examples of an engaged audience, so make sure to treat them right (and track those numbers) too!

Social Media Engagement Tools

Have you ever seen that reality show Alone? They’re sent out to survive in the wild, but they get 10 tools of their choice to bring along.

Similarly, you don’t have to face the social media wilds without some help. In addition to your social dashboard (an essential, IMHO), here’s what you might want to pack in your survival kit.

Photo editing

  • Canva makes it easy to crop pictures to the exact specifications of different networks. You can also edit photos directly in the Hootsuite Compose and add text and filters to them.

Video editing

  • Video is extremely engaging—research suggests it generates 1,200% more shares than images or text. There are a million video editors out there, but Clips app for iPhone makes it super simple to slap together a few scenes and add music or text frames, all on your phone. (Funimate is really similar, but for Android users.)

GIFs

  • At this point, GIFs are essentially the international language of the internet. With Giphy, you can type in a keyword like ’excitement’ or ‘dog’ to access a huge library of animations to add some playfulness to any engagement.

Analytics

  • Hootsuite Insights is the best way to get a general overview of your engagement efforts. It even reports on specific keywords or topics. Brandwatch, meanwhile, offers in-depth reports that capture the entire social conversation around your brand and industry.

How to measure social engagement

Now that the comments and shares are flyin’, it’s time to crunch some numbers to prove what a great job you’ve been doing.

Good social media analytics are so important to measuring the success of your brand.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to provide a general overview or see your various social stats in one place. Calculators for social ROI or engagement rate are helpful to consider, too.

Beyond that, you can always measure effectiveness from your social platforms directly. The specific metrics will vary with each social site, but there’s always some juicy tidbit to take away.

Mix all of these tools together, and you’ve got access to some serious social intel.

Here’s what you might expect to find from some of the most popular social media platforms directly:

  1. Facebook

Facebook Analytics contains a very robust and comprehensive dashboard with plenty of ways to track your audience engagement.

You can track the following metrics on the popular social media platform:

  • Reach and engagement: How many people saw your posts? Who interacted with them? Which posts did people hide? Did people report any posts as spam?
  • Actions: What actions do people take on your Page? How many people click your call-to-action button? How many people click through to your website?
  • People: What are the demographics of the people who visit your Page? (You can dive deeper into this topic with Audience Insights.) When do people visit your Page? How do people find your Page?
  • Views: How many people are viewing your Page? Which sections are they looking at?
  • Posts: How are your posts performing over time?
  1. Twitter

Likewise, Twitter offers a robust set of tools to measure your metrics.

You can track the following metrics on Twitter:

  • Engagement rate: How many engagements and impressions did it get?
  • Reach percentage: How many followers saw a given tweet?
  • Link clicks: How many click-throughs did a posted link get?
  • Optimal posting time: When is your audience most likely to be online? What time zone do they live in?
  1. Instagram

If you have a business profile, you’ll be able to access Instagram Insights to track your Instagram engagement. This dashboard provides you with all the vital social media engagement metrics you’ll need for your campaign. It’s not super robust, but worth reviewing regardless.

You can track the following metrics on Instagram Insights:

  • Audience demographics: Where do they live? Are they men or women? How old?
  • Optimal times: When are your followers online? What days and times are they active?
  • Popular content: What gets hearts? What posts get comments?

Summary

Social media engagement is more than just the accumulation of followers across social platforms. It’s also a measurement of how many people are paying attention to and interacting with your brand on a daily basis. Businesses that focus on building their social media engagement can benefit from better marketing reach and ROI, and a greater brand awareness that makes it easier to attract new customers. Search engines may also be paying attention to social signals and hashtags, even using them as inputs to determine search rankings for a business’ website. Businesses can boost their social media engagement by delivering quality content, engaging with and servicing their customers and offering exclusive promotions and services like automated online appointment booking through their social channels.

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