What is Engagement Really and How Do You Measure It?

For a long time in business now people have used the words “social media engagement” and stressed its importance. In fact it’s crept into general marketing parlance now. Engagement is apparently the new black. But what is engagement really? and how do you measure it for your business?


What is this Engagement thing then?

I love this quote from Angela Hausman writing for

“Engagement is a messy, complicated idea — yet a critical one — because it gets to the heart of the relationship between consumers and brands.”

That says it all, I think.

For customers or prospects, it’s the opportunity to reach out to a company or person and connect with them.

social mediaIt is dialogue offered through the various social media channels you offer.

  • You have a blog that can be commented on.
  • You have a facebook page that can be interacted with.
  • You have a Twitter account that people can retweet or reply to you or tag you with.
  • You have an Instagram account where people can comment on your pictures.

All of these offer opportunities for this dialogue.

From the organisation side, when you respond to a question posed by someone in your community, that’s engagement.

When you share information that assists someone in making a decision and they tell you that they used that information, that’s engagement.

From the community side, when someone answers a call to action, that’s engagement.

Here are some tips to help you understand how to measure social media engagement:

#1. Start With Your Business Objectives

“Why does this matter?”, you might ask. We’re talking about engagement here aren’t we? Well I’ve advocated that any marketing activity needs to start with the business objectives and engaging your fans is part of achieving those business objectives. So take a step back and remind yourself what your business goals are for being on social media.

Do you want to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want sales from your social media activity? Do you want signups or leads?

Tip: Define the KPIs for your social media to help you measure campaigns you run.

#2. Know Your Audience

You have to know your audience i.e. your target customers inside out to know how you can possibly start engaging them. What are they interested in? What pain points do they have? What does your product or service solve for them?

Think about this example. If I am a hotel marketing manager interested in attracting families, I have to know what the parents who are going to book a break at my hotel want. I have to be able to articulate that my hotel gives them what they want.

family at hotelParents booking a family break at a hotel want

  • a comfortable room that holds all the family (or interconnecting rooms) at a reasonable rate,
  • child friendly eating options in the hotel and nearby
  • a pool and/or other activities for kids in the hotel.
  • the hotel to be situated near places to go and things to do with kids.

But parents also need own-time so maybe an offer that enables them to take a 1 night break away from their kids is a good conversation to have with them. Maybe they want to hear when your offers for family breaks go on sale. Maybe they want to know about the whole experience a break at your hotel in that area can offer them.

Maybe they want to hear you talking about recipes and combing kids hair and washing school uniforms and making lunches because actually a break from all of that is good!! So by talking to them about other things besides your hotel and its amenities, you can start to relate to them and to show them that a break at your hotel actually is a good fit for them.

Engaging your community by asking them what they want is a good place to start. People are always happy to give an opinion. And anything that gets the conversation going is a good thing.

Tip: Know your audience inside out. If you don’t know what they want, ask them.

#3. Understand That It’s a Two Way Process

Many people think that engagement is all about a brand engaging its fans i.e. amusing them, giving them something to take action on.

But actually it’s a two way process. Engagement is about a brand responding to its fans, thanking fans, reaching out, starting conversations.

So social listening is important. Checking in on your social media channels regularly to see if people are talking directly to you but also listening out in general to any conversations that anyone is having about your brand, good or bad and then responding.

Tip: Monitor all your channels daily and carry out searches on your brand name to check on conversations.

#4. Decide on the Key Measures

ipad coffeeHow you measure engagement will come back to what is important for your business and what is important for a particular marketing campaign. So back to the business objectives and what you are are trying to achieve on social media.

For example, say you have a new product that you need to get the word out about. You use social media to talk to your community about the new product, to ask them if they are interested in it, ask them for feedback, ask them to share the news about the new product.

In this case you want as many people to share the news of that product, so shares and retweets become important measures for that campaign.

Tip: Measuring is not just printing out insights, it’s defining the key performance indicator for success and this may involve more than one report.

One final phrase to always keep in mind, Customer Relationship Management. Engaging with your customers and prospects through social media is all about the relationship. Go back and re-read the quote at the start of this article, it says it all.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out our other blog posts: How to Track and Measure Marketing ROI and How to Make Your Database Marketing 100% Better Using These Simple Strategies

Want to find out more about how Mykidstime can help you with social media engagement? Contact us now.