We’ve been talking a lot about social media engagement lately – a.k.a., all the actions that your audience can take on social media. Obviously more engagement is a good sign, right? But engagement is also made of all different kinds of social signals, and it’s important to dig a little deeper and see exactly what your social media responses include (most platforms, like Facebook, make this analysis easy). Let’s look at the different kinds of specific audience engagement, and what they’re really worth to your brand.
From tagging people in the comments to retweeting to all your followers, this type of engagement spread your content to other audiences, which makes it one of the most valuable social signals around. Social media marketers love seeing shares, because it puts their post in front of a new audience with a built-in trust factor (a social media friend they already follow). This can lead to all sorts of beneficial interactions, and it’s a great way to grow your own social media audience. If you are getting a lot of shares, you probably don’t have a problem with any other social signals, and you can consider your content a big success!
This refers to comments and questions that people can leave on your content. This type of engagement is valuable for two reasons. First, it allows you to have a real conversation with your audience and help them solve problems or feel involved, which leads to greater brand loyalty and can even secure additional sales. Second, comments are an important part of the algorithms that social media companies use to control post visibility, so a post that gets a lot of direct interaction will automatically get more notice.
Clicks happen when someone uses a social media post to visit your website, blog, whitepaper, etc. Clicks are a funny type of social signal. When it comes to analytics, they are incredibly valuable – which is why they are often used to “prove” the success of social media. Clicks get someone right into the sales funnel, and that’s the main goal!
But clicks don’t have as much impact on social media growth. Sure they mean that a post worked, inasmuch as it got people to click on it, but a click doesn’t do anything to start a conversation or grow your social audience. Ideally, social media will have clicks as well as powerful signals like shares and comments, which are healthy for social media itself, and not just sales.
This is the “Hey, I see this!” type of engagement. Acknowledgments are always nice to see, and they are a good measure of casual engagement among your audience. However, they don’t have much residual value, it’s all the social platform – basically, they are the opposite of clicks. Their best use is charting the popularity of social content, and getting your posts more visibility thanks to the algorithms. But other signals like shares and comments are much more worth pursuing.
This happens when someone follows your business page or profile so that they continue to see your content in their feed. Follows have a ton of long-term value and are one of the most powerful signals around. Someone who follows your company on social media is much more likely to continue making purchases in the future. However, follows can be difficult to win: It can only happen once, and viewers who aren’t following are less likely to see your posts asking them to follow, which a classic social media knot that’s tough to untie.
Memberships occur when someone joins your specific Group or forum on social media. They are very similar to follows, but have even denser value: A membership usually means that someone is interested in taking part in the conversation or asking very specific questions. That great for both engagement and eventual sales, which is why starting a social media group can b a very powerful tool!
These are essentially temporary follows for an activity, like a contest, trade show, or live band. While sign-ups are great for that specific campaign, they don’t have a lot of long-term value. Most of their value resides in encouraging more shares, and getting additional contact information from people, so it’s important to capitalize on these aspects.