Social media engagement is one of the key metrics used by businesses and social media marketers to measure marketing performance. It is used to measure interaction on social media in the form of likes and shares. It is a key variable that tells how a social media campaign performed. However, the problem marketers face is: How to measure social media engagement?
It is problematic because engagement is a qualitative variable. And it is never easy to track and measure a qualitative variable. Even if you do so, comparing engagement across different social media platforms isn’t possible.
A like on Facebook isn’t equivalent to a like on Instagram or Twitter and vice versa. Social media platforms have made it easier for marketers and businesses to measure engagement by converting it into a quantifiable variable such as likes, shares, comments, impressions, etc.
But it isn’t enough.
How to Measure Social Media Engagement Like a Pro
Engagement measures the interaction in the form of likes and shares for your social media content. A whopping 72% of marketers define engagement in the form of likes and comments and 62% in the form of shares and retweets:
Several metrics are used by marketers to measure and compare engagement just like you can measure revenue using different metrics. Here are the most popular ways to measure social media engagement:
1. Average Engagement Rate
It is the basic metric that measures likes, comments, and shares. It is the rate of engagement a post receives relevant to the total number of followers you have. Here is how to calculate it:
Average engagement rate = (Total likes, comments, and shares on a post / Total account followers) x 100
The resulting number is a percentage that shows the average engagement rate for a post on any social media network. You’ll need to compare your average engagement rate with the benchmark report to see where you stand.
You’ll get a simple percentage and it won’t make a lot of sense as a standalone figure. For example, a 2.2% engagement rate doesn’t mean anything. You can’t tell if it is good or bad.
This is why you must compare engagement rate with an industry benchmark report such as this:
If your engagement rate is low, it indicates your followers do not like your social content. You need to tweak your content strategy and start posting content that has a high average engagement rate.
You can also compare your average engagement rate with the industry benchmark report. This gives you a clearer picture of where you stand in your industry. Here is another benchmark report you can use for comparison.
2. Applause Rate
Applause rate is quite similar to the average engagement rate but it is more specific and measures approval actions and applause such as likes and retweets. The average engagement rate measures all types of interactions that also include unhappy reactions to your Facebook post.
Applause rate measures approval actions that mean your followers like what you have shared. Here is the formula to calculate applause rate:
Applause rate = (Total approval actions / Total followers) x 100
You’ll receive a percentage that will show the percentage of people who liked what you have posted. A high percentage means your followers love what you are posting, and a low percentage shows your posts aren’t liked by your audience.
3. Conversation Rate
It is similar to the average engagement rate but it specifically measures comments and replies. It tracks conversations that your social media posts have generated.
The formula is:
Conversation rate = (Total comments and replies / Total followers) x 100
You’ll receive a percentage that will show you the number of followers who have engaged in a conversation.
Don’t mix the conversation rate with the conversion rate. These are two different metrics. The conversation metric is used for calculating social media engagement while the conversion rate is a marketing metric that measures the total number of people who have taken a specific action.
4. Amplification Rate
The amplification rate measures the total number of shares your social media post has received. It includes resharing, retweeting, and any sharing feature that increases the reach of your social media post.
Amplification rate is calculated by the following formula:
Amplification rate = (Total post shares / Total followers) x 100
The percentage shows the number of followers who associate themselves with your company (and/or content) and share it with their audience.
It is used with conversation and applause rate metrics and these three are often considered the key to social media success:
High applause, conversation, and amplification rates mean your followers like your content, are actively commenting on it, and are willing to share it with their audience. This is what social media engagement is all about.
5. Virality Rate
Virality is a key metric used extensively in social media marketing. It is the total number of shares your post receives based on total unique impressions. It is a more granular engagement metric that measures the engagement of a post in depth.
The formula to calculate virality rate is:
Virality rate = (Total post shares and reshares / Total unique impressions) x 100
If you want to see how effective a post is, you must look at its virality rate. A post that has a 5% average engagement rate might seem very attractive but it might have a virality rate of less than 1%. Another post might have a 1% average engagement rate but it might have a virality rate of over 10%.
It is a more realistic engagement metric that shows how your followers interact with a post that they have seen.
Use Social Media Engagement Metrics for Decision-Making
Measuring social media engagement is one thing and using these metrics for decision-making is another thing. Simply measuring and reporting engagement metrics isn’t enough. You need to take action.
If a post has a high virality rate, dig deep and see why it went viral. Try recreating similar posts. And posts that don’t work must also be analyzed.
Measuring engagement is just one tiny part of social media analytics. Decision-making and tweaking your social media marketing strategy are more important steps.
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