What is social engagement? A question I hear all to often, so in this article we are covering everything you need to know about social engagement.
While you may be busy posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any of your social media profiles, you are merely considered to be performing a social activity. This refers to any event within a social media platform that involves you directly or indirectly.
Events that do not impact you directly do not need your immediate attention. But those that involve you, such as getting a new follower, comment, or share is what you call social engagement and this is what you need.
Social engagement is an event on your social media profile that has a direct effect on your social existence. Examples would be new comments, shares, retweets, check-ins, likes, views, or click-throughs, among others.
The more engagement you get, the better, because this could lead to new fans and followers who will likely do what you want them to do. You could get them to subscribe to your blog or even to purchase something from you. This is because these are usually people who are interested in what you have to offer and who usually need a little push to become a customer.
But it does not end there. Once these followers do something for you, you have to do something for them too! You could respond to their comment or talk to them. Treat them as though they are your friends, even if there are hundreds or thousands of them!
To get this social engagement going, you need to establish an action plan that includes a series of activities that you need to do once you engage a follower. This is what you call as social strategy.
So, how can you encourage more social engagement?
Showcase your employees and events to your followers
Hardworking employees are the heart of every great company.
SEOMoz, for instance, started a Facebook photo album showing pictures of their employees, making it even more interesting with a “Then and Now” theme.
If you also have company events, you can start a Facebook Event so your followers can take note of it and include it in their calendar. It could be webinars, seminars, charity events, conferences, or open houses. This will make your followers feel as though they are part of your community.
Convert customers into brand advocates
This is the latest trend in social media marketing. If someone tweets positively or post a video about your company, repost it! It conveys a more authentic message to your audience. Find ways to encourage people to talk about you or your band.
As your loyal audience, your fans deserve to be rewarded. It could be a gift card, a T-shirt, or a product showcasing your brand. Watch how your interactions will grow, not to mention the Twitter handles, email addresses, and phone numbers that you can collect for future marketing campaigns.
Be mobile friendly
Keep your messages and updates short, given the short attention span of the users these days. They tend to read shorter posts than long paragraphs. The shorter the better!
Use the right tone
It all depends on your target audience. If you are dealing with customers, it might be best to sound casual. But you should also consider your product or service. For instance, a luxury brand might sound more appealing if they sound more formal when engaging their audience.
The peak performance of social sharing
Late afternoon to nighttime is the best time to reach people on social
Social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from about 5 a.m. to noon, and social substantially overperforms overall traffic from about 3 p.m. until 1 a.m.
Chartbeat reported on the data of the sites it tracks, looking at how social media sharing corresponds to site traffic. The general trend seemed to follow: Traffic and social sharing both increase throughout the early morning, peak midday, then lessen into the evening.
The unique finding here was in the subtle difference in exactly where each metric peaks.
Social traffic outperforms website traffic from 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time to 1:00 a.m.
What the average Facebook user looks like
The very male, college-educated, heavily IT, somewhat liberal demographic
Only two publishers–BuzzFeed and Yahoo!–have more women than men in their audiences at 51% and 56% respectively.
Only two publishers–Forbes and Wired–exceed a 10% likelihood in their audiences working at management level.
Fractl and BuzzStream collaborated on a study of 20 publishers’s Facebook audiences, looking at the Audience Insights for publishers like The Guardian, Wired, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and more.
In the case of these audiences, the results skewed heavily in a few directions:
- 18 of the 20 publishers had an audience that was more male than female.
- The majority of active users on these pages has graduated from college.
- All but one publisher had an audience makeup of more IT workers than the U.S. Facebook average.
Comparisons might be a little tricky to draw between these pages and yours, though the research does point to the value of understanding your audience. My best guess at the demographics of some of these publishers would be that the audience was more female (I was wrong) and perhaps not as IT focused.
Instagram vs. Facebook
Instagram a more engaged platform than Facebook, Twitter
Instagram leads social platforms for engagement with 2.81% of audiences engaging with a post.
Locowise studied 2,500 Instagram profiles from April 2015 to measure a wide assortment of different engagement metrics and content strategies. One of the big takeaways was how engagement on Instagram far outperforms Facebook and Twitter.
Average engagement per post on Instagram was 2.81%.
On Facebook, engagement was 0.25%.
On Twitter, engagement was 0.21%.
(For Instagram engagement—as you can see from the graph above—the best results still come from photos versus video.)
Other interesting takeaways from the Locowise study include:
- Likes account for 96% of all engagements (comments account for the other 3%)
- Brands post 2.3 times per day to Instagram
- The largest profiles post 7.24 times per day, the smallest profiles post 1.68 times
- Average follower growth month-over-month is 1.95%, meaning that if you had 1,000 followers in March, you could expect to gain 19 new followers in April.
Interactions and Instagram
More interactions happen on Instagram—5 likes or comments for every 100 followers
The average interaction % on Instagram is up to 10 times higher than on Facebook.
Quintly analyzed over 5,000 Instagram accounts (and broke those accounts into buckets of followers, too) to see the current trends in engagement, content type, and strategy. One of the main takeaways from the study: Interactions are amazingly high on Instagram.
Quintly measured Interaction Rate, which is interactions per post divided by number of followers. They found that Instagram’s Interaction Rate was 4.80 interactions per 100 followers. Facebook’s rate is 0.72.
Further, Quintly also shared the average interactions per post for Instagram photos or videos, along with a breakdown of what you might expect at varying follower levels.
Where is social media marketing headed?
Survey says Twitter, YouTube, & LinkedIn
Social Media Examiner surveyed over 3,700 marketers on their social media strategies, goals, and plans, ending up with some truly fascinating results on where social media marketing may be headed.
A significant 66% of marketers plan on increasing their use of Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Additional cool findings from the Social Media Examiner survey include:
- Marketers are most keen to learn about Facebook
- Nearly 3 out of every 4 marketers plans to increase video usage
- Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important networks for marketers
- Most marketers aren’t sure their Facebook marketing is effective
How people spend their time on social
Twitter is for news, Facebook is for friends
Another interesting takeaway from the Global Web Index report is in the survey responses about how people spend their time on social media sites. For Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, the report found the following:
- The most popular activity on Twitter is reading a news story
- The most popular activity on Facebook is clicking the “Like” button
Here’s how the rest of the activity breaks down. Note how many of the top Twitter activities deal with reading the news or catching up on what’s been happening whereas many of Facebook’s top activities involve connecting with friends.
Here are 5 tools to help you manage your social engagement
We all know that social media outreach is an important component of every business endeavor these days – whether you’re using social sites to generate interest in your product or to develop an “online resume” of sorts that’ll help to get you hired.
However, there’s a big difference between effectively managing your social media activities and simply engaging sporadically with your networks. Good social media outreach requires active management in order to conclusively prove a positive ROI – which is where any of the following tools come in…
1 – Klout
No list of social media engagement tools is complete without Klout, so let’s just get this one out of the way right now…
Basically, Klout attempts to “score” social media performance by tracking your engagement on various networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+ and more. Compiling metrics such as number of followers, frequency of engagement and relative standing of your followers, the Klout score is reported on a 0-100 basis with the intent of measuring overall influence on social channels.
On the one hand, Klout is by far the most widely used social media engagement tracking tool, so signing up for an account makes sense in the “see and be seen” world of the social web. But as far as reporting tools go, the program doesn’t offer much concrete data in terms of measuring engagement. While you can see the change in your overall score, as well as a list of recent interactions, the program can – at best – be used as a general overview to gauge whether or not your engagement efforts are proceeding successfully.
2 – Commun.it
Price: Free plan and Paid plans available
If your social media outreach program focuses primarily on Twitter,Commun.it deserves a place in your marketing toolbox.
Once you sign up for an account, a custom Commun.it dashboard is created for you featuring three columns: your main Twitter feed in the central column, a “Prioritized” Twitter feed showcasing tweets from your most important and influential followers on the right and a series of management tools in the left-hand column.
In this left-hand column, pay particular attention to the following sorting options, which allow you to view specific subsets of your Twitter relationships:
- “High Value Members” – This list allows you to pull out tweets from the members of your feed with whom you’ve had the most interactions.
- “Consider to Reply” – This criteria filters out tweets that mention you that you haven’t responded to (even adding a handy “Reply” button to the tweet itself).
- “Consider to Follow” – This sorting tool pulls a list of Twitter users that you should consider following, based on your existing relationships.
In addition to these and other sorting tools made available by Commun.it, you’ll want to check out the program’s reporting features, which allow you to compile reports on your profile’s activity and engagement levels. Currently, the free version of the program allows for only 3 days of data reporting, though you can upgrade to a paid plan if you’d like access to longer spans of information.
3 – Crowdbooster
Price: Free 30-day trial; Paid plans start at $9/month
Crowdbooster functions as an all-in-one database for information on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Not only does the program combine many of the features described in the tools referenced above (specifically, the tracking of influential relationships as in Commun.it and the metrics measurements found in TwentyFeet), it offers a number of additional features that social media managers will find helpful.
For example, a few of the different Crowdbooster tools you’ll want to pay special attention to include:
- Real-time Facebook and Twitter analytics – This allows you to see the performance of your social media updates as they go live, giving you the data needed to plan more effective posts in the future.
- Recommended update scheduling times – Based on the activity of your audience, Crowdbooster recommends the times during which your tweets and profile updates will reach the largest number of users.
- Internal update scheduling – Using the Crowdbooster interface, you can schedule your tweets and profile updates to go live at specific times.
- Personalized recommendations – Based on your social media activity, Crowdbooster develops custom recommendations alerting you to the users and messages you should be engaging with on a higher level.
Though many social media managers will find it frustrating that the program currently only tracks Facebook and Twitter, there’s no arguing with the fact that the program’s graphic interface is one of the most attractive out there. If you’re called on to present social media engagement reports to your boss or colleagues, you’ll definitely want to take a closer look at Crowdbooster.
4 – Cloze
Cloze offers a unique way of looking at your digital network and prioritizing the relationships you have with different people. However, Cloze takes this process one step further by pulling data from your Gmail accounts, as well as your social profiles.
The result is a clean interface that tracks information according to three key areas:
- “What’s New” – A list of all the different email messages and social profile updates that you haven’t responded to (but should).
- “Key People” – A list of your 1-100 most important connections (as determined by Cloze or added by you). Cloze will notify you automatically when something changes with these key relationships and will remind you to follow up with them if you’ve missed an engagement opportunity.
- “All People” – A list of everyone you’ve engaged with recently, how frequently you’ve engaged with them and how your relationship is trending, compared with others in your profile.
Unlike some of the other tools listed above, Cloze doesn’t offer metric tracking tools that show you how your social media accounts have performed over time. Instead, what it does is help you to improve the relationships you have with those who are already in (or who you’d like to be in) your networks – helping professionals at any level to make the most out of the social web.
5 – Sprout Social
Price: Free 30-day trial; Paid plans available
Finally, let’s look at the “mac daddy” of all social media engagement tracking tools – Sprout Social. At a minimum investment of $39/month, the program isn’t cheap, but you do get a lot of bang for these bucks.
In its current incarnation, Sprout Social includes the best features of all of the different programs listed above. Pulling data from your Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, the program’s metric monitoring tools enable you to track who’s engaging with your brand, how your scheduled status updates are performing and what people are saying about your brand online.
Basically, if there’s a type of social media data you want to track, Sprout Social can help you do it!
In addition to these primary features, Sprout Social is set up to facilitate group management of social profiles, making it an ideal solution for larger companies and social media teams. Of particular interest to these users will be the following advanced features:
- “Single stream” inbox technology, which enables Sprout Social users to view social media interactions as they occur – preventing teams from missing any important customer communications.
- Collaboration tools, which enable groups to effectively divvy up social media tasks and work more efficiently overall.
- Mobile app interfaces, which allow social media teams to manage their profiles anywhere, at any time.
Again, Sprout Social isn’t cheap, so put some time into determining whether your company truly needs the features this program contains – or whether you’d do just as well with a more cost-effective alternative. If your social media management needs are more complex, though, Sprout Social might just be the program for you!
Of course, these are only a handful of the different social media engagement monitoring tools out there. If you have another recommendation for a program you like, please share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you are dealing with businesses, it’s best to sound formal, but not stuffy and uptight. Even if you have CEOs and industry figures as your followers, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your social media content.