“Oh my goodness! Social media is blowing up today!” How many times have you giddily shared a similar statement to the one above? Whether it’s your personal accounts or the company accounts that you manage, social media engagement in the form of favorites, shares, likes, and retweets can be very exciting and gratifying.
However, unless these social media efforts have direct correlation to webinar registrants or whitepaper downloads (which are easy to take action on as they are immediately entered into marketing automation campaigns and CRMs), it can be hard to measure the success of social media because there is no way to truly measure the impact of it. Impressions don’t necessarily lead to purchases, and customer engagement can be both positive and negative. It’s difficult to measure — and for a group of people who rely heavily on numbers and data to make decisions, it’s a gray area they aren’t usually willing to dive into.
A 2014 survey of 45 CMOs conducted by Esteban Kolsky revealed the majority of CMOs don’t even know the definition of engagement. Without a basic understanding of engagement, it’s extremely difficult to understand the value of social media marketing!
Engagement can be defined and measured in many ways. In simple terms, engagement is the interaction between people and brands. For example, on Facebook, engagement includes likes, comments, video views, and shares.
However, engagement takes time to build and is the result of a relationship between a customer and a brand. While it’s important for brands to understand engagement isn’t created over night, it’s mission critical for businesses to offer a reason for the engagement in the first place.
Content plays a crucial role in determining the value of social media engagement for a business. After all, engagement can indicate whether or not content is appealing or off-putting to an entire audience or just an audience segment. By diving into the analytics of a brand’s audience, raving fans as well as profile information (i.e., audience demographics) can be identified and even targeted for future posts and campaigns. Remember, while a Facebook “like” does very little to increase the reach of an update, a “retweet” can greatly improve visibility for a brand or announcement. Every social network is different.
As a result of social media engagement, brands may experience upticks in website traffic and even sales leads.
A Socialbakers study concludes the number of social interactions with a company’s social media posts correlates to the number of visits to the company’s website. In simple terms: when social interactions go up, website traffic goes up.
While social media can increase website traffic, it’s not converting anonymous visitors into leads all on its own. By creating engaging website content and landing pages, businesses can increase conversion rates, resulting in more leads for sales.
While social media engagement isn’t the be-all and end-all of marketing strategy, it is a place to start focusing real efforts to improve brand awareness, build customer relationships, increase site traffic and even boost lead conversions.
So next time your friends or coworkers hear you get excited about social media engagement/traction, be prepared to answer the question, “So what?”