These days, the term social media engagement can mean a lot of different things, depending on the platform and the metrics that platform uses. On Facebook however, engagement has a precise definition and, once you understand it, you can unlock mysteries that will help you thoughtfully grow your brand.
Online engagement is commonly defined as the interaction between people within a platform or across networks. In Facebook Insights, engagement is calculated using likes, comments, shares and post clicks.
Likes: Likes represent how often people like your post. They give you direct feedback about how well you are connecting with your users.
Comments: Comments represents the quantity of comments made about your posts. Looking closely at comments can help you get inside of your users heads on an ongoing basis.
Shares: Shares represent the number of times that your content is shared to other users. People only share something they find relevant, so these shares help you target hot subjects to create future content.
Post Clicks: Post Clicks represent the number of times users dig deeper into your posts. They can help you understand what generates curiosity in your users.
Facebook’s focus has always been engagement and its newest features are more of the same. The added ability to click on hashtags, reply to others users’ comments and search the web are all designed to keep people within the platform and interacting.
But, what does it all mean for my brand?
On its face, engagement is a measurement of the most fundamental goal in marketing. It tracks whether or not you have gotten your followers’ attention and tracks your success in connecting with them. Engagement is often looked at as the result of this linear process. Brands post high quality content, employ savvy marketing strategy, use an arsenal of technical tricks and they see their engagement numbers rise.
While all of the above is true, there is so much more to be gained from tracking user engagement. A granular look at engagement can provide a feedback loop that will keep your marketing system strong and healthy. Robust engagement will tell you that your audience is connected to your message and will let you know that you are growing an authentic audience for your brand, rather than a hollow crew of “ghost” followers.
Engagement can be a guiding light for your content and technical teams. A deep and ongoing look at the specific posts that generate engagement allows you to constantly modify your message and style to meet your users’ interests and online habits. This is perhaps the most overlooked, yet valuable uses of engagement metrics.
Last, but certainly not least, engagement is a key component in Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. Engagement can make or break your ability to be seen in news feeds and will ultimately enhance or limit your reach as a brand.
Consider making Facebook engagement a key metric for your brand. It will give you instant feedback about your success as a brand builder, but more importantly, it will give you a direct view of the subtle and not so subtle behaviors of your users. Engagement can transform your ad creation and give you confidence that you truly understand the people you are supposed to be reaching as a marketer.