We’ve mentioned the term KPI numerous times throughout our writing, and the word engagement is one of those key performance indicators which we throw around a lot more than the rest. It’s for a good reason: engagement is undoubtedly the most important metric you should be tracking in your social media content strategy.

Engagement Defined

Simply put, engagement is comprised of the different ways in which users interact with a post on social media. Reactions on Facebook (likes, loves, laughs, “sad faces,” etc.)? Those are all engagement buttons wearing emoji masks. Hearts on Twitter and Instagram? Also engagement buttons. Don’t forget the share button; that’s a significant slice of the engagement formula as well, and you’ll find it on all the main social networks in some shape or form.

Any button beneath a social media post which leads to a meaningful user interaction can be considered a pathway to engagement, but the comments field is also a very valuable component of the engagement equation. A user who leaves a comment is engaging in the most genuine manner, even if the comment itself isn’t overtly useful—what you normally wouldn’t be able to extract from a reaction button, you might be able to deduce from someone’s comment. For instance, varying moods and sentiments toward a specific part of a post or its source material can be derived if the user left detailed feedback.

With the potential for these interactions to reveal such insightful data about your social media users, engagement naturally becomes a fundamental element of your overall marketing data.

Can Engagement lead to Conversions?

As useful as engagement is to your analytics, you’ll get the most out of it when you’re adding it to your bottom line. At the end of the day, every company / brand / agency wants to profit; understanding your engagement data can open doors to profitability which you might have been missing out on otherwise.

But is there a direct correlation between positive engagement metrics and conversions? Do the same users who interact on your social media profiles eventually spend money on your product? The answers aren’t black and white, but we can brainstorm enough to arrive at a few observations. If there was a no-fuss relationship between user engagement and site conversions, we’d all know it by now. Social media engagement doesn’t currently equate to sales, but the study of it provides information on how to get there.

With the data from your engagement insights, you can begin to pay particular attention to such things as when users are interacting with your posts, which posts are performing better than others according to interaction rate, and how users are engaging your content. It’s always a good idea to focus on how your data is trending, so take note of these things when analyzing your social media statistics—why are people clicking on the heart reaction button for certain posts on your Facebook page, for instance, and how might you tap into that information to refine your brand’s conversion funnel (whether that is your website, your app, or even ads and email campaigns)…

The sooner you understand your social media user demographics, the better you’ll be at making inroads toward understanding your buyer demographic and its personas. This, of course, can lead to new sales, or better yet, return / repeat buyers!

Things to Remember

It’s important to keep in mind that every social network has its own user base personality and its own engagement interface / experience. Sometimes platforms will have unique user interaction scenarios which you’ll need to interpret differently from the others. A good example is the share button on Facebook and Twitter: a person retweeting your content to their Twitter profile might not be as willing to share the same content from your FB page to their FB timeline (people seem to be less strict with their RTs on Twitter due to the social network’s overall nonchalant, anything-goes atmosphere).

Also, don’t forget to keep track of your follower counts; it’s so easy to get distracted by the finer details of your engagement data, such as reaction types and interaction rates, that you might not remember to observe something as basic as follower count trends. Is your Instagram user base increasing at a steady rate? Which months – or weeks if you want to get super specific – do you acquire the most new followers? Are there certain periods of time during which you actually lose Facebook fans and, if so, what might be the reason?

Follows and unfollows are two of the most basic engagement metrics, and users are typically driven to make the important decision of following or unfollowing an account based on pivotal content. There’s a lot to learn from such app events if you line them up with your content timeline!

Optimize for Engagement with Storyclash

You’ve learned why engagement is such an impactful KPI, so your next step is to put that knowledge to use: optimize for engagement


(sample images – data does not necessarily correlate)

The idea is that once your social media content strategy is engagement-optimized, you’ll start to see improved interaction rates across the board, making it easier and more natural for your social media users to consider your product once they’ve clicked over to your site. With Storyclash Insights you can optimize for engagement in several intuitive ways, one of which is by making use of our dynamically detailed interaction charting to track your engagement trends across multiple social networks, in real-time or during specified timeframes.

Another way to optimize for engagement, and you’ve heard us say this time and time again, is to compare your own engagement metrics to those of your competitors. At the beginning of the month, we wrote an article about benchmarking your competition and engagement is definitely one of the KPIs you want to benchmark. Additionally, you might want to set alerts for specific engagement milestones (i.e. interactions per hour, interaction rate, etc.) so that you’re notified exactly when your social media content is doing well, that way you can make data-informed decisions without wasting time.

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