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Six Definitions of Successful Social Media Engagement

Defining successful social media engagement can be incredibly difficult. We all want to see some kind of return on our time, energy and efforts online, although many of us have different definitions of what constitutes a beneficial result from social media marketing.

For me, there are six key definitions of successful social media engagement – all are affordable, achievable and available.


Seeing as the best social media marketing is experiential, I’m going to highlight the six definitions from real-life examples to demonstrate how, why, and where successful social media engagement can occur:


* Financial

The first – and for some, most important – definition of success on social media is a financial return on their social media marketing. I’d agree, but it needs to be recognised that all marketing takes a relevant and appropriate investment to see a healthy financial return. I worked with a digital marketing agency outside Birmingham a couple of years ago, delivering them a financial return of £250,000 in social media services sales through their corporate client base in 12 weeks. An excellent financial ROI.

* Emotional

The second definition of successful social media engagement is more intangible. A positive emotional return on social media marketing activities can be delivered over time, providing you give, give, give. Positive audience comments, sharing, liking, passing it on. This article I posted on www.socialmediatoday.com in October was retweeted more than 1,000 times within three days of going live. The emotional return on that piece of social media engagement, for me, was hugely rewarding.

* Literal

The third definition centres upon pure experience – on what is seen to be delivered through social media marketing. I was talking to a long-standing client today, and we discussed a 25% increase in the number of followers of their company’s Facebook page within a week. This literal return of investment on social media, for them, was a big bonus and gave them a literal ROI. Plus, of course, I was really pleased to see one of my clients getting yet another positive result from social media engagement.

* Measurable

The fourth definition of social media success is one usually grabbed by the marketing departments handling social media activities: the ability to measure everything. I had an example at the start of the week which fits here: a Facebook contact recommended me to a contact. Details passed on, phone conversation ensued, high likelihood of transactional business to follow very soon. My ability to directly measure this social media ROI makes, for me, social media marketing incredibly powerful.

* Repeatable

The fifth definition of social media marketing in positive action focuses upon the ability online to repeat successful marketing techniques and tools to deliver a brilliant return. This, in essence, is the sticking point for many with social media – it takes time, effort, consistency and dogged determination at times. A good blog, for example, needs to be maintained, nurtured and updated with fresh social media content regularly. Minimum once per week – not three new posts in one month, then nothing for six.

* Enjoyable

The final definition of social media success is the ability to actually enjoy it. This is an intangible, but I’d say it is incredibly important. Let’s face it, social media engagement – well, when it works well at least – is a personal, open, transparent experience, and should be an enjoyable part of the marketing mix. Forget the sterile, anodyne, broadcasting approach.  By giving expertise, insight and experience via social media engagement, you also open yourself up to define your own offer effectively.

So – what’s your definition of successful social media engagement? If it’s only Number One as listed above, you might need a rapid re-think.

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