I recently took part in a roundtable discussion hosted by social media agency Yomego exploring the issue of how to attract and measure engagement through social media channels.
The write-up of the discussion is now available in a free whitepaper which you can download from here (.pdf).
Securing engagement—by which I mean getting the recipients of your communication to interact in some way with your content—is widely accepted as a better measure of success on the social web than raw reach of fan/follower counts. But the approaches used by many marketers to measure this engagement are often flawed, designed to track micro-measurements that often fail to encapsulate the brand’s broader goals.
To become truly useful, engagement levels must be tracked alongside intelligent sentiment monitoring, and also mapped against all other major touchpoints that consumers have with a brand, both online and offline. Who are we to say, without proper research, that ‘liking’ something we post to our brand Facebook page has any meaningful long or short term impact on purchase or consumption?
And, therein lies the biggest problem with most measurements of engagement: we make the assumption that direct interactions with our social media content are always a good thing (never bad), while ignoring the possible benefits that might flow from interactions happening elsewhere (like offline in the real world!).
So, as is so often the case in our part-art-part-science industry, I don’t believe there’s any one-size-fits-all solution to gauging the value of online engagement. The answer for each brand marketer lies in understanding the rich fabric of interactions that consumers have with your brand, then building a measurement framework that primarily monitors those engagements which are proven to have the greatest influence on user and buyer behaviour. Without that initial proof, you might as well count the number of times consumers say words that rhyme with your brand name; that’s likely to be about as much use as any non-validated social media engagement score!
My thanks go to the team at Yomego for inviting me to take part in the debate.