How to Use Social Media Engagement Metrics to Build a Stronger Community

Social Media Engagement

If your organization isn’t taking social media seriously, you’re probably missing out.

Although the value of social media can differ from brand to brand, it’s important to be where your customers are. And in our digital age, it’s likely that they’re active on social media in some form or another.

Even if social media isn’t the best lead generation channel for your business, that doesn’t necessarily mean that social media engagement doesn’t impact your marketing efforts.

Social media engagement metrics usually indicate the overall health of your brand’s marketing as they show whether or not your content is actually resonating with your audience. On top of that, social shares are also great for SEO and for establishing your brand’s credibility.

Let’s take a closer look at what to measure to track social media engagement, and how you can use these metrics to fuel your social media strategy.

Quantitative metrics

To measure engagement on each social platform, you should track the following on a per-platform basis:

  • Number of posts/updates/tweets — Keeping track of how many posts or updates you’re getting out will help you understand where your success is coming from. It will also provide a benchmark that will indicate if the overall number of posts are impacting your engagement (i.e. more posts could be the cause of more engagement in many cases).
  • Impressions — Impressions are the number of times your post has been seen on a social media feed/timeline (not unique). This will help you understand your overall reach and figure out your CTR and Engagement Rate.
  • Clicks — The number of times someone clicks on your post. This is a direct engagement metric as it shows that someone was compelled to take action on your post.
  • Engagements (likes, shares, retweets, +1s, etc.) — Engagements (or interactions) can encompass any possible social action on any platform and are another direct engagement metric. It’s best to measure these individually (e.g. measure both favorites and retweets on Twitter) as you might weigh some engagements more heavily— for instance, a share on Facebook might be more important to you than a “like.”
  • Click-through Rate (CTR) —  CTR can be calculated by dividing the percentage of the number of clicks by the number of impressions.
  • Engagement Rate — Similar to CTR, the engagement rate is the percentage of the number of total engagements divided by the number of impressions.

Measured individually, these metrics won’t tell you much. When you compare all of the data for each social post (or even by platform), you’ll have a much better idea as to what kind of content is getting some social pull.

Qualitative metrics

The hard data will tell you what’s working, but it won’t always tell you why it’s working.

Qualitative analytics will help you understand your community’s motivations and ultimately provide more insight as to what kind of social content is resonating with your audience.

Although I’d recommend allocating some time and resources to running a thorough qualitative analysis of your social posts, there’s a quick way to check the temperature on an ongoing basis.

Evaluate the type of feedback you’re getting when people comment, reply, share, or retweet. Consider the following:

  • Is it positive, negative, or neutral?
  • Is it sparking a discussion?
  • What kinds of questions are people asking?
  • How many interactions are coming from bot accounts?

Examine the sentiment behind your social media interactions and use it to fuel your strategy. If people seem confused, provide content that clarifies. If people are debating a topic, present your side.

It’s not enough to simply see that a tweet got 39 retweets — use qualitative metrics to figure out why.

Understanding what works

Once you gather all your data, don’t just sit on it — use it to give people what they want! The more you provide content that your community has historically engaged with, the more engagements you’ll achieve.

But remember — if you want to encourage social media interactions, it’s not enough to post one-sidedly. Think about the word “engagement” — it implies a relationship. Successful relationships require all parties to be actively involved.

Encourage engagement by responding to comments, retweeting, and asking your community for their thoughts. As soon as they see that it’s okay to participate, they’ll dive right in.

Social media engagement is a key way to foster healthy business-to-community relationships — and it’s these relationships that will give the rest of your marketing efforts a boost, which will eventually trickle down into lead generation.