What Is Engagement on Social Media?

If you’re new to the world of social media marketing, you’ve probably seen the term “engagement” used over and over. This kind of engagement has nothing to do with diamond rings and weddings: engagement is a key metric to measure the success of social media campaigns and advertisements.

Engagement is a measurement of how people interact with your posts on social media. Some factors that are included when measuring engagement are likes, comments, social shares, and others depending on your social network of choice. Considering how much time people spend on social media lately, a strong social media presence can drastically impact business and bring new customer leads.

Social Media Engagement

Engagement is a fairly self-explanatory concept: it assesses how engaged your followers are on social media. Most of us engage with others on social media every time we log in through likes, comments, clicks, and more.

Social media engagement goes both ways: if you like and comment on other users’ posts, they’ll be more likely to do the same on yours. Engaging with other users can help grow your social media presence, as they will reciprocate engagement and it may also help you find new followers and accounts similar to your own.

Businesses, especially, should work to engage with followers. Answering their comments and questions will improve brand loyalty and show that your business is run by real people who care about customers. Encourage customer or follower feedback by asking questions in captions and responding to their comments, messages, and questions.

Why Social Engagement Is Important

Everyone wants likes and comments on their social media posts. For the average social media user, engagement is a nice response from your family, friends, and other followers. For businesses, brands, and influencers, however, engagement is vital to social media marketing campaigns and brand image.

Engagement provides businesses with a measure of how their posts perform for their audience. High engagement rates can show an active, interested following that will hopefully lead to sales. Low engagement reveals a disinterested audience, which could push others away from your social media and, in turn, business.

Imagine you stumble upon a new business on social media. If their posts don’t have many likes or comments, you may think the business is not popular or experienced, and therefore not worthy of your business. If their posts have lots of likes, satisfied comments, and helpful information from the company, however, you would likely be more inclined to stay on the page, visit their website, or potentially become a customer.

Engagement is important to brand image on social media, which can help with finding new leads, maintaining a relationship with current followers and customers, making sales, and more. Engagement can also help social posts rank higher based on algorithms like Instagram’s algorithm, which places better performing posts higher on users’ feeds or on the explore page.

Social Media Engagement Rates

Engagement on social media comes in many forms. The fundamental markers of engagement are likes and comments, but different social media platforms include different metrics. We’ll break down what Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter consider engagement.

Instagram: There are a few methods to calculate engagement rates on Instagram. Instagram’s measurement defines engagements as likes, comments, and saves on a post. Engagement rate is calculated by adding those factors together and dividing by the total number of impressions. Some Instagrammers choose to include or omit elements like saves and shares, however, so there are different ways to look at engagement.

Facebook: Facebook considers engagements to be likes, comments, shares, and clicks on links, photos, or videos within a post. To calculate engagement rate, Facebook adds these up and divides by the post’s total reach.

Twitter: Twitter engagements consist of retweets, favorites, replies, follows, tweet expansion, or clicks on links, hashtags, embedded media, the poster’s username or profile picture. These engagements are added up and divided by total impressions to calculate an engagement rate.

Average Engagement Rates on Social Media

I understand what engagement is, but what’s a good engagement rate? If you’re wondering what the average engagement rate is per platform, there are studies which have looked into that exact question.

Engagement differs across different social networks. Instagram is known for having higher rates of engagement across the board compared to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Engagement also differs when you compare different industries or different types of accounts; Instagram influencers, for example, see significantly high engagement, usually over 8%. Normal businesses don’t always see the same results, however, likely due to the high volume of general followers they accumulate.

One study by Rival IQ reveals a yearly benchmark report that looks at 1800 businesses across 12 industries to assess average engagement rates. The 2019 report (which actually looks at the full 2018 year) shows relatively low engagement rates, but it is important to keep in mind that they businesses surveyed had huge followings. Having a lot of followers is not a bad thing, but it increases the number that you divide by when calculating engagement rate, which can reduce the overall rate.

According to the yearly report, the average engagement rate for businesses on Facebook is 0.09%. Twitter’s engagement rate is even lower, at 0.048%. Instagram, as predicted, has significantly higher engagement rates, clocking in at 1.60%.

Improve Social Media Engagement

Businesses are always striving to improve engagement on their social media posts. There are various factors that influence engagement, so boosting it can be complex. Check out our 13 strategies to boost Instagram engagement for ideas to improve your social media campaign on Instagram or on other social networks.

Written by Erin

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