When advertising on social media, there are key metrics to assess how well your social media marketing is performing. One very important metric on social media is engagement. Exactly how engagement is measured depends on the platform, but this measurement looks at how social media users (read: potential customers) interact with your online content.
What Is Engagement?
When it comes to social media, engagement measures how engaged an audience is with content. Some standard metrics that are used to gauge engagement include likes, comments, social shares, saved items, click-throughs, or retweets.
Engagement helps to assess how your content is perceived by your audience based on their interest in and reactions to what you share.
Engagement is a two-way street, however. To create brand loyalty and start a conversation with your customers and followers, you should engage back when they interact with you or your business on social media.
Respond to comments, follow and engage with similar or local businesses, and answer questions when they are asked online. This will create a stronger connection between your business and your customers and exemplify your commitment to customer service.
Social Media Engagement
Depending on which social media platforms you use, engagement may mean different things. We’ve broken down how the major social networks define and measure engagement.
Facebook: Facebook measures engagements by likes, reactions, comments, shares, and some clicks on links, photos, or videos. Engagement rates on Facebook are measured by engaged users, not total engagements; if someone likes and comments on the post, that counts as two engagements, but one engaged user. Total engaged users are divided by the post’s reach to find the engagement rate.
Twitter: Twitter engagements are measured by retweets, replies, follows, favorites, tweet expansion, or clicks on links, hashtags, embedded media, the username, or the profile picture. Engagement rates are calculated by adding all of these engagements up and dividing by total impressions.
Instagram: Instagram defines engagements as likes, comments, and saves on a post. There are a few ways to calculate Instagram engagement rates, and some Instagram users include or omit other factors like shares. To calculate an engagement rate, Instagram takes these metrics and divides by the total impressions.
Why Does Social Engagement Matter?
Engagement helps you measure how well your social media campaigns are performing and how your audience and potential customers react to your brand. In an era where social media users spend on average 2 hours and 22 minutes on social platforms daily, social media marketing is essential for businesses to stay in touch with old customers and find new ones.
Poor engagement could reveal customer dissatisfaction or disinterest in your brand. Good engagement, on the other hand, only helps the image and growth of your business.
If a new potential customer finds your social media and sees few likes and no comments, they may lose interest. If they see lots of likes, enthusiastic comments, and helpful responses from the business, they are more likely to stay on the page, follow your social accounts, and hopefully convert into a customer.
Social media marketing can generate new leads, nurture existing leads, generate sales, and create brand loyalty with customers. Engagement is essential to good social media marketing and the goals that come with it.
Average Engagement Rates
Now that you know what social media engagement is, it’s important to understand how to interpret this metric. Engagement differs across different social networks: Facebook and Twitter tend to have lower engagement rates, while Instagram sees more engagement.
A 2019 benchmark report from Rival IQ looked at engagement across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for 1800 businesses across 12 major industries.
The report found that the average Facebook engagement rate for businesses over 2018 is a low 0.09%. This is a dropoff from the previous years 0.16%. While both of these engagement rates seem low, this is not unusual on Facebook, especially for businesses with a lot of followers and a huge reach.
Twitter engagement rates over 2018 were even lower than Facebook, with an average 0.048% engagement rate for the businesses surveyed. This benchmark was consistent with last year’s rates, and again, is not surprising for businesses with huge followings and therefore more impressions dividing engagements.
Instagram engagement has always been higher than those of Facebook and Twitter. For 2018, the average engagement rate for businesses on Instagram was 1.60%, considerably higher than the other platforms. Many social media experts quote 3% as a good average engagement rate on Instagram, but businesses with massive follower counts like the ones in this study may expect to see lower rates of engagement, since their audience is so large.
Social Media Engagement Strategy
How can I improve social media engagement? The answer is not always straightforward, but there are strategies you can implement to boost engagement and work towards building up your social media marketing campaign.
Engage With Your Followers
Responding to those who interact with your posts will build a stronger relationship with customers and make your social media accounts look like they are run by actual humans who care about the business and its customers. Engage back when followers comment, share, or ask questions. You can also follow and engage with similar brands in your industry, or other local businesses.
Start The Conversation
To get followers to interact with your posts past just clicking the like button, ask them questions to get them involved. Asking a question in captions improves engagement, and can start a conversation that could help your post take off. Use actionable language to get followers to like, comment, or share posts with friends.
You can also start the conversation with followers by hosting a contest of some sort. Offering incentives can result in a huge engagement boost, as followers will be willing to follow contest instructions (like, comment, follow, share, etc.) in order to potentially win a prize.
Share User-Generated Content
Asking followers to share their content so that you can repost it can greatly improve engagement. Not only will followers be eager to win a shoutout, but they may tune in to your social accounts regularly to see if they were picked or if another opportunity arises.
Ask followers to share their content to be reposted along with a branded hashtag or by tagging your account. This will improve engagement from current followers and can win you new followers and customers who see your account tagged on their friends’ posts.
Post Great, Targeted Content
In the end, the best way to get users to engage with you on social media is by sharing great content that is focused towards your target audience. Share quality content that your followers are interested in and engagement will come naturally.