If the online world were fully controlled Mark Zuckerberg, engagement would likely be the top metric.
Why do advertisers love engagement?
Think about it - the more you click, the more you comment, the more you engage, the more content that gets seen. And the more content that gets seen, the more ads that can be displayed.
How and why you measure social media engagement is critical for success
While I agree that content engagement can be a top priority metric for many brands, I also believe that it's not a top priority metric for all businesses.
I also know, from experience with our own platforms as well as in working with brands of all sizes, that measuring engagement is not as simple as looking at public engagement such as comments and likes.
I think there's much to be learned from engagement, and it's always a good idea to want and drive for engagement with your content. However, you need to understand exactly how engagement metrics matter to your business, and exactly what you should be measuring to help maximize your success.
When you think about content for the social and digital web of today, without eyeballs reading and watching, ears listening, and fingers typing, content would be meaningless. It's people we are connecting with, and without people engaging with our content, at some functional level, it becomes meaningless.
However, I also believe that too many marketers are blindly listening to the words of self-professed social media leaders who tout in Mark Zuckerberg's shadow that engagement is king and nothing else matters.
What did 3,000 top marketing leaders say when asked if they engage publicly on Facebook?
I was recently the keynote speaker at an event with over 3,000 marketing leaders of the world's greatest brands. These people were all at minimum executive director to c-level professionals, such as CMOs, CEOs etc.
I asked them a simple question… “How many of you are engaging with content from brands you want to buy from on a regular basis on Facebook?”
When I asked this question there was nothing but crickets. Literally crickets. Maybe 3-4 out of 3,000 people raised their hand.
I asked a similar question about Facebook Live video and the response was about the same.
We've found similar with our target market buyers for many of our higher end training and consulting services - they simply do not engage with our content, or our competitors' content, on Facebook.
What does this mean and why does this matter? If I were to only look at engagement as top metric for content success, we would fail. Our target market will not, and does not, engage with our content on public forums. Yes, they may engage with content on LinkedIn or Twitter, but more often than not, Facebook is a no go.
We have more than two million followers in our community across the different social platforms we use. We serve small business up to large enterprise brands with our agency and online digital and social training academy.
Our audience varies significantly, however there are some key similarities when it comes to how they engage with content that go directly against what Mark Zuckerberg is pushing for when it comes to business-focused content.
Does our target market do the following?
- Subscribe to our podcast and listen to every episode?
- Subscribe to our email newsletters and other offers and actually open our emails on a regular basis?
- Open our emails and click through to engage with our content we provide to them?
- Read every blog post, social media post and others we publish?
Register for and listen / watch our free webinars?
- Purchase our annual webinar pass to make certain they don't miss a webinar even though their schedules are jam packed?
- Refer us to their friends and colleagues because of the great content we have been providing for years that they know and love?
- Give us hugs when we meet them for the first time because they feel like they know us intimately?
The answer to all of the above questions is a big fat yes. They watch, listen, subscribe and engage with our content:
- Our podcast has been listened to more than 1.6 million times.
- We have an email list over 100,000 with open rates up to 50%+ on average.
- Our conversion rates on free offers on all of our landing pages are at minimum 65% to 85%+.
We have, and are using, content to build authority, trust and relationships. We have earned the clicks, subscribes, downloads, listens and watches.
However, many of the metrics that we track for success are happening behind the scenes, with only metrics we can track. This is not what Mark Zuckerberg wants, but it is what drives our business. This is because the majority of our target audience does not want to publicly engage in content on platforms such as Facebook for their own specific reasons.
What are the metrics that drive your business?
What are the metrics that matter?
Does engagement matter? How do you measure it?
Take a listen to the 254th episode of Social Zoom Factor to dive in deeper to the topic of digital and social media engagement to discover and determine how you should be leveraging engagement as a metric to improve your online marketing results.
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A version of this post was first published on Pam Moore's blog.