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How to measure engagement in social media

If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. Well, that’s an exaggeration - for now. Given developments in social media, however, we are almost at that point. In recent years, social media has quite literally exploded. Almost every consumer interacts via social channels in some form, and nearly all marketing growth is achieved through social media.

Therefore, it is imperative to have a digital presence if you want your business and brand to grow.

What’s it worth?

Once you’re ready to launch your business’ social presence, it’s time to analyse and think through what its value means to you. What is the short term revenue it will generate? Long-term? What does this mean for your brand's future development?

It's no mean feat to translate the success of social media into increases in revenue. Consider social media presence as a building block of your business; a trigger for commitment, customer loyalty and lead generation.

What and how do I measure?

A measure used regularly in social media is ROE - return on engagement. It is possible to define measurable parametres, in turn indicating the commitment a company's activities inspire through social media. It may, for example, manifest in how many comments a post gets, or the number of times an image is shared. Split testing is a method of assessing what content your fans respond to the most, and consequently provides insights into the best times to post, which call-to-actions inspire people to click through to your website and more.

Some argue that an issue for many companies today is the tendency to measure everything in terms of money instead of another currency – commitment. Leading to brand loyalty, commitment eventually translates into profit, but is initially difficult to quantify. This can create frustration and resistance toward social media where businesses aren’t necessarily digital by nature.

A common mistake is to establish accounts on e.g. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook but failing to be sufficiently active with posts and responses. Competition for share of voice is fierce with so many messages out there, requiring effort and resources. Creative work, however, is often worth the reward, and adds to your organisation’s story.

Reach and return on investment

Normally calculating ROI (return on investment) is based on marketing activities, while ROE is a somewhat "softer" measurement. On the other hand, it can provide answers and assists in estimating your brand’s ROI.

A very concrete measurement is reach. There are several tools that indicate the number of people exposed to a post on social media.

Any additional sales owing to social media efforts can also be measured, for example, by using tracking codes on any links to your webshop/website/branded channels.

Although social media is a little difficult to grasp in comparison with traditional marketing efforts, its formats have features that often make it more streamlined. Targeting is, for example, often easier on social media compared to offline channels. An example lies in defining the surfing habits and behaviour of different demographics, courtesy of their interests and user-generated data.

If you succeed in inspiring sufficient commitment among your followers, they may well transform into brand ambassadors. The average brand ambassador spends more money on the brands they cherish, in turn communicating their experiences to other people - some surveys put this figure at a minimum of 150 people per post.

What’s the goal?

Do not forget to define what you want to achieve with social media. If your goals are reasonably measurable, even better, but do not underestimate the immeasurable factors. The quality of your contact with users is often more important than the quantity. One hundred engaged readers than 10 000 visitors who quickly surf on.

The number of clicks generated is very measurable and allows conversion into goals. Leads can often develop into potential clients or partners and are therefore quantifiable. For example, a lead can attract attention and have great potential to be retweeted.

When you define your social goals, do not overlook employer branding as a factor. Today, employees are often in a powerful position to set the bar for an organisation’s appeal, in many industries.

The clearest measure of all is of course increased sales. There are many examples of successful social media campaigns that have led to business development. Given the environment of social media, it is difficult to quantify the sales generated in precise terms – the goal may have been designed as wishful thinking, rather than something which must be achieved systematically. Occasionally we are pleasantly surprised when a campaign goes viral. However, it is very difficult to predict what will gain traction at the greatest speed; sometimes virality seems more or less random. A rule of thumb? Create social media content that resonates with your fans and inspires them to share.

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Marketing Social Media
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