It’s always important to keep your eyes on the prize with any type of marketing. If you want sales – monitor sales. If you want traffic on your site, monitor page views. Therefore engagement rate on social media (by these standards) may not seem important. However social media does not work like other marketing.
This is why social media focuses on engagement rate. It’s something that is measurable, and it helps you gain the benefits that aren’t.
Social Media as a Branding Exercise
On Social Media, most people talk about engagement rate as the most important metric. This is because social media is at the top of the sales funnel – getting people interested in you in the first place.
To put it another way – people on social media are there for lots of reasons, not just to hear from you. There are so many people / companies fighting for attention, getting people to pay you any attention at all is a victory.
This is why you need to be interesting. By creating posts that people want to engage with, you can cut through the noise.
By gaining these engagements, you are (probably) improving how your brand is viewed. Many people and companies try to put a direct value on how much a brand is worth, but if you’re a small-to-medium sized business, then all you really need to know is that more is better.
By improving your brand value, you will bring more traffic to your site in the long run. You will also likely increase your sales overall. These benefits both simply come from people knowing about your company and thinking well of it.
This is why social networks are all obsessed with engagement rate, as it’s a great proxy to seeing how much people actually care about what you’re posting (and by extension, you).
That’s right – they’ve created a popularity contest with an actual scoreboard.
Why Engagement Rate is the best social media metric
The most direct metric a social network has is how many followers / likes your page has. The more people who like your page, the more popular you are right? So what does this ‘popularity’ actually mean for you? The answer is simple: more potential for engagements.
The larger your audience (ie followers & likes your page has), the more people will generally see your posts. The more people who see your posts, the more people have the chance to click on them somewhere.
Most social networks count any interaction with a post as an engagement. This includes link clicks, likes, comments, reposts, video plays, anything.
This means that on a post by post level engagements themselves don’t mean that much. Only once you look at them on a larger scale can they be used to build up a useful picture.
However Engagements can come from people who aren’t your followers, and a viral post can send a surge of traffic (and goodwill) your way. This is why engagement is a more useful measure than just followers or likes.
To keep our train of thought:
- Having more followers or likes gives you the potential for more engagement.
- More engagement gives you the potential for more sales / page views / whatever.
Where does the engagement rate come into it? Well, a higher engagement rate means more engagements per post. This means it is baking ROI (your time and effort) in as well.
In conclusion: a high engagement rate means less effort for more engagements (and therefore more sales etc).
Engagement Rate on Social Media
In general, your Engagement Rate is the number of engagements divided by the number of people who saw your post:
Engagement Rate = Engagements x 100 ÷ Impressions
Engagement Rate can be thought of as how fast, how often, or how likely, someone is to engage with your posts.
For example: If you have an average engagement rate of 5%, then you can be fairly sure that:
- You should get 5 user interactions once you hit 100 views on your post
- For every 100 views of your post, you will get another 5 interactions (on average)
- There is a 5% chance that anyone who sees your post will interact with it
While these all essentially mean the same thing, they can be used to answer different questions.
Facebook measures Engagement Rate differently from other social networks.
Improving your Engagement Rate
By working to increase your engagement rate, you are essentially improving how much people like your brand. As social media is so interactive, this is really quite a unique opportunity for most websites or companies.
You should keep track of what time of day you post (and day of the week), and figure out when people react best. Use this information to create a schedule hitting all your sweet spots.
Also, you should try to learn from your best (and worst posts) to understand how best to communicate with your audience. Look at the hashtags you use, as well as the wording and tone. It can be quite subjective, but the more you post the more you will get a feel for your audience.
You can then use the things you learn from social media in all your marketing. For example, if people respond well to “Discover More” rather than “Learn More” in your posts, you should consider using “Discover more” on the buttons on your website.
The thing to keep in mind is that even a small improvement in engagement rate will bring big rewards over the long term. It can take a while to build up a strong social media presence, but optimising towards engagement rate is a great way to give yourself a boost.
Find out more
- Engagement Definition
- Engagement Rate Definition
- Facebook Engagement Rate Definition
- Standard Engagement Rate Calculator
- Facebook Engagement Rate Calculator
- Twitter Engagement Rate Calculator
- TikTok Engagement Rate Calculator