What is Social Media Engagement and Why it Matters for your Business

POSTED BY Stacey McGurk - 06.11.14 - Social media

A common objection that businesses have to social media marketing is that there is no way to measure theSocial Media Engagement impact of social media marketing. Or that they don’t understand the value of social media engagement and how it affects their business.  In this blog post, I’ll provide insight on what social media engagement is and why it matters to your business.  


A recent survey of 45 CMOs by Esteban Kolsky found that the majority of CMOs didn’t know the definition of engagement. Without an understanding of engagement, it’s difficult to understand the value of social media marketing, making it really difficult to measure the impact. Engagement can be defined and measured in many ways. In the simplest terms, engagement is the interaction between people and brands on social networks. For example, on Facebook, engagement includes likes, comments and shares.

It’s important to note that engagement takes time and requires trust. Kolsky shares that it happens over time because it is “a function of trust and knowledge.” So it’s important for businesses to be patient. But also for businesses to understand that they need to create valuable content, experience and relationships to build their social media engagement. Consumers will connect and engage with a brand on social media if there is something in it for them. It’s not about the business; it’s about the customer. Businesses need to provide valuable content for their consumers, and to be helpful, personal and authentic. Overtime this will build trust and prove expertise.

What is social media engagement?

Jason Falls, defines engagement as “communicating well enough that the audience pays attention.” This definition shows the importance of why businesses need to create valuable content for their social community and present it in a way that works for that social network. In simpler terms, engagement is a two-way conversation. That’s one of the great benefits of social media; consumers can have a relationship with their favorite brand, business or store and have a two-way conversation.

How social media networks measure engagement

Each social media network defines engagement a little bit differently based on the features and functionality of their platform. It’s important to understand how they measure engagement for you to measure the impact your social media marketing is having on your business.

Facebook defines engagement as likes, comments and shares.

Twitter defines engagement as @replies, retweets and mentions.

LinkedIn defines engagement as the number of interactions on a post plus the clicks and followers acquired divided by the number of impressions.

It’s important to understand what each social network is measuring and how to interpret their insights and analytics. There are many third party tools that you can use or purchase to get additional analytics and help you measure the impact of your social media marketing. Be sure to understand how they are measuring engagement and other key insights to really measure the impact of your efforts and campaigns.

Simple ways to measure your social media marketing and engagement

The first step in measuring the impact of social media marketing is to create a goal. Once you have defined your goal, you can determine how you will measure. There are many ways that you can measure the success of your social media marketing. Here are three examples of what you can measure:

  1. Measure your likes, comments and shares on the content you share via your Facebook page. Monitor the type of content that receives the most engagement and continue to create similar content for your customers. For example, you may find out that sharing video results in more likes and shares versus an article.
  2. If your goal is to drive people to your website, monitor the response and engagement on the content that drives people to your website. And measure the click throughs and traffic to your website from social media. For more measurement, I suggest looking at the analytics on your website to see the behavior of those coming to your website from social media.
  3. Create a hashtag for your business or for a specific campaign and monitor how it’s used across the applicable social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

With a better understanding of what social media engagement is and how you can measure it, you can set realistic goals, create content and social campaigns to help you achieve your goals and grow your business.

social media plan template

Stacey McGurk

Stacey McGurk

Stacey (Stefani) McGurk is a Product Manager for social media, reputation and email marketing at Fusionfarm. She is passionate about marketing and helping businesses grow through digital marketing strategies. For a girl who could never stop talking, it’s no surprise that she frequently writes on Fusionfarm’s blog.