These days, it seems like "social media engagement" is everyone’s favorite buzzword. To some people, it means nothing more than a like, to others it’s giving someone your email address. Its use has gone way beyond social, as networks and media publishers are using engagement instead of eyeballs as a measure of success.
Technically, engagement is the process an individual goes through as they deepen their relationship with an organization or cause that interests them. It is the first step in building a relationship between an organization and its stakeholders. In today’s era of overwhelming inundation of data and messages, an organization’s relationship with its customers and/or stakeholders may be what differentiates it from everyone else out there trying to convince people to buy, donate, or volunteer.
In social media, the term engagement refers to any action taken by anyone who has seen your post. So a like, a retweet, a share, or a pin are all “engagement.” The Conclave on Social Media Measurement Standards dictates that engagement should be calculated as a percentage of your total following (click here to view the full engagement standard). So, you would take the total number of engagements in a post and divide that by the total number of likes or followers.
Levels of engagement
But raw engagement numbers don’t tell the full story. Most organizations today acknowledge that likes are less impactful than shares and that comments and retweets with edits are signs of a higher level of engagement than a simple like. So they divide engagement levels into low vs. high:
In general low-level engagement includes:
- Number of likes on Facebook
- Number of YouTube views
- Number of Twitter followers
- Number of pins on Pinterest