The Importance of Social Media Engagement in 2023

Harvey Rañola |
 03/27/23 |
10 min read

The Importance of Social Media Engagement in 2023

Social media is where consumers go to connect with their friends and with brands. But this connection is a two-way street, and brands often miss the opportunity to engage their audience and create authentic connections. Without this exchange between consumer and brand, social media becomes just media—and consumers will look elsewhere for connections.

It cannot be said enough that social media engagement is crucial to brands. And we are going to discuss why. In this blog, we’ll go over these topics:

  • What social media engagement is
  • Why social media engagement is important for brands to measure
  • Nine tips for increasing your social media engagement.

But first, let’s look at some statistics that shine a light on the importance of engaging your audience:

Additionally, consumers want to connect with brands online. They see social media as a way to build relationships with the people and brands they choose—and companies should see it as a way to do this too. And engagement metrics are one way to tell if your efforts are working.

Let’s explore why social media engagement is crucial to your brand and how it helps your consumer/brand relationship.

What is Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is how your audience interacts with your brand on social media platforms. This includes likes, shares, and comments—though these can vary by social platform. For example, engagement might translate on Facebook as Page mentions, likes, comments, and shares. While on Twitter, engagement is retweets, likes, and comments.

No matter what platform you’re on, social media engagement metrics will have some variation of the following:

  • Likes or Favorites
  • Comments, Replies, or DMs
  • Saves
  • Clicks
  • Shares or Retweets
  • Mentions

These metrics help brands understand if their content resonates with their audience. It’s a bird’s eye view of whether your efforts pay off. But there’s more to it than that.

Why Social Media Engagement Important

The days of putting a product out on the shelf and someone buying it because they need it are over. Today brands need to interact with their consumer base using messaging that resonates. Consumers are over faceless brands, and they are demanding a more personalized experience. They want to connect with brands.

By interacting with your consumer base, brands can increase customer retention as your audience will feel like you see them and care about what they want, need, or desire.

Perhaps Facebook put it best way back in 2018 (they’ve always been ahead of the curve):

“Interacting with people is associated with a greater sense of well-being… On the other hand, just scrolling through your Facebook feed, passively reading or watching without interacting with others, tends to make people feel worse.”

Consumers expect interaction, whether replying to a comment they left, fixing a customer service issue, or just commenting on a post where they mention you—they want you to respond.

Additionally, engaging with your audience will increase overall engagement with your brand. How does this work? Engagements are prioritized on social media channels, meaning the algorithm sees them as more meaningful to social media users, and as such, these posts show up in your feed more frequently. Facebook labels these posts as “meaningful engagement,” so they get prioritized.

So, if your audience interacts with your post via likes, comments, shares, etc., your content will show up more frequently, inviting even more engagement and raising your social media brand presence.

9 Tips on Increasing Social Media Engagement

So, with social media engagement central to a brand’s success, how do brands measure it successfully? We’ve put together nine tips on how to use social media engagements to your advantage.

Locating Engagement Metrics

All major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram) have native analytics that measures comments, reach, likes, and even some light demographics such as location, age, and gender. But that’s about as far as they go.

For more in-depth social media analytics, brands need access to third-party social media management tools. With these tools, you’ll have all your social media engagement metrics in one area, and you’ll get an overall picture of your mentions, posts, potential impressions, and net sentiment across all channels:

social engagement sentimen summary

Additionally, you can filter by channel to focus on only Facebook, Twitter, or whatever channel you want to precisely zero in on. And unlike native analytics that social media platforms provide, you can adjust your timeline to compare social media engagements as far back as 27 months. This lets brands know how their volume has changed, informing brand health and marketing strategies.

Have an Engagement Plan

To be successful in marketing, you need to have a plan. And this is true of improving engagements as well. What do you need to focus on? Your social media goals are dependent upon what metrics you want to use. For example, if you want more shares, you’ll need to focus on creating content that resonates with your audience. And to do that, you need to know what type of content works on each platform, which brings us to our next tip…

Understand and Speak to the Subtle Nuances of Each Platform

What works on Twitter may not be what works on TikTok.

As I’m sure you know, videos are the bread and butter of TikTok marketing, just as Reels and Stories are to Instagram. But these same marketing tactics won’t work well on Twitter, where adding hashtags and a simple image to your post is crucial to engagement.

And then, you need to know your audience. There are many social media platforms, and brands must concentrate on those that attract their audience. No use advertising on Facebook if your audience is on TikTok.

Know Where Your Audience Is

So, where is your audience talking? This is where a third-party tool like NetBase Quid® saves brands time. Instead of jumping between social platforms, brands can access all those social media engagement metrics in one tool and filter them according to channel:

social media channel metrics

As you can see, our chart illustrates which channels experience the most brand mentions of the popular streaming brand, Hulu, over the past month. Twitter has over 65% of mentions for a total of over 275k mentions. This metric can also be adjusted to show posts, and you can filter in and out specific channels, I.e., change the view to see only Facebook or Tumblr. You can also click on the chart to identify individual posts.

We can also see how the conversation peaks and wanes—these fluctuations are essential to check out as they could signal an opportunity in marketing or a chance to engage with your audience on whatever topic is trending.

Know Who Your Audience is to Inform Content Creation

It’s more than just knowing where your audience is; you need to know who they are. They are more than just their age, gender, or geographic location. For example, Joseph is 47, yes. But they are a veterinarian who loves red wine, biking to work, and watching historical documentaries. This intel can inform brands to create targeted messaging that resonates with their audiences.

Below, we can see an example of this type of psychographic intel:

demographics and interests

Speaking to consumers’ interests can only draw them in—and it makes them feel as if you know and understand them, which is critical to increasing social media engagement.

With that thought, you must come across as authentic when messaging out.

Be Consistent and Authentic

Consumers can smell inauthenticity a mile away. If your latest marketing campaign boasts sustainability, yet your brand has unsustainable practices, to quote a biblical reference, “be sure your sins will find you out.” The pandemic was an excellent example of brands getting called to the carpet for not “walking the walk.”

So, before you go on social media to talk about your new jeans made from 100% recycled materials, ensure your audience can follow this sustainable thread through to your brand practices. If they can’t, your brand engagements will drop, and you could suffer severe damage to your brand health.

And then, you want to be consistent in your messaging—if you’re not, consumers will see this as wishy-washy, making your brand seem untrustworthy. And if there’s one thing that will decrease social media engagement, it’s consumer distrust. Establishing a brand voice, especially if multiple people manage your social accounts, is critical to how consumers view your brand.

Consider the Algorithms

Many platforms use different metrics to determine social media engagement. This can affect your social media strategy. Brands must educate themselves about unique algorithms so they can increase engagement.

Timing is one factor. Does it matter when engagement occurs, or are interactions at midnight treated equally to those at noon? LinkedIn considers the “golden hour”— The success of your content depends on the FIRST Hour after you share it on Linkedin. To determine if a post is worthy of appearing in other people’s feeds, LinkedIn measures the initial engagement. Your content is far more likely to perform well throughout the day, week, or month if it performs well in the first hour.

Instagram is entirely the opposite. They don’t have one algorithm; they have many–one for stories, one for Explore, one for posts, etc. With Feed and Stories, the algorithm is set to show content from people that users follow; the only exception is ads. For the explore tab, they look at engagement signals such as likes and shares which helps them know what to show users.

As you can see, there’s a big difference in how various social media determine what your audience will see.

But you don’t have to be held completely captive to the algorithm. With social media engagement tools, you can view when the optimal time is for you to share content:

optimal times for social media engagement

The graph above illustrates the most active times for the popular health and beauty company Lush Cosmetics. The darker squares indicate the days and times their audience is most active online. Using this as a part of your social media engagement strategy is vital for any brand hoping to get its brand and products in front of its audiences’ eyes.

Measure Your Success

Spikes in brand engagement are fantastic for boosting your confidence. Still, if you do not measure how social media engagement impacts your business, you could read the room all wrong.

We’ll break this up into two sections, customer support, and brand impact.

Customer Support

Are you responding to messages and comments in a timely fashion? Do you see a reduced need for help and support? This can be a good sign. That being said, setting up triggered alerts for a sudden rise in mentions or for brand-specific keywords is never a bad idea—this way, your brand is alerted the minute there’s any change. This is specifically helpful in catching and stopping any negative comments in their tracks.

sociall media alert settings

Brand Impact

Because of the nonlinear nature of brand interactions and the ambiguity around attribution, it is more challenging to quantify social media engagement’s impact on your business. Brand perceptions develop throughout time and through a variety of media.

A third-party analytics tool is essential to get a comprehensive view of how these social media engagements impact your brand. It saves you the time of app hopping and comparing back and forth. Additionally, the best tools have sentiment analysis—sadly lacking from native social media engagement tools.

For example, our summary metrics below reveal the past three months of social media engagement metrics attributed to a popular food chain–including mentions, posts, potential impressions (how many people could have seen your posts), and net sentiment:

summary metrics net sentiment 1

We can compare these metrics with the past month to see what’s improved—comparing them shows that sentiment has risen 3%, as has mentions and posts. The only thing that may be of concern is the loss of potential impressions:

summary metrics net sentiment 2

Additionally, with this social analytics tool, brands can peel back the layers to see what is causing any spikes or dips in sentiment. For instance, the spike we saw on February 22 is unrelated to anything this brand has done. Instead, it centers around a kid selling cell phones in the parking lot of this establishment. This is an excellent example of why you need to know what’s behind the sentiment and raise in mentions—they could indicate people loving your brand, or like in this example, could have nothing to do with your actions. You need to operate with all the facts.

Continue to Monitor

So, you’ve gathered all your social media engagements, evaluated, switched tactics, and measured the impact on your brand. And it looks like your strategy worked! Hoorah! That’s it, right?

Not even close.

Brands must continuously monitor their efforts. Brands must benchmark to understand what is normal for them. Once you know this, you can measure against it to establish whether their engagements are going up or down.

In addition to tracking volume, mentions, likes, etc., tracking how consumer conversation changes are crucial—as this directly impacts your social media engagements. A conversation shift could indicate that you need to change your strategy—or, at the very least, shift your focus.

Consumer opinion is inconsistent, and it changes overnight. The campaign you spent so much time creating that your audience loved last week could fall out of favor this week, causing social media engagement to plummet.

As an example of how topics fall in and out of favor, our Quid Social discussion of Chipotle reveals trending topics rated by engagement:

trending conversations by engagement

In mid-December, we saw that the main topic getting the highest engagement focused on eating at this quick-serve restaurant. However, come mid-January, and the conversation turned towards Ordering Chipotle. And recently, in mid-February, discussion, and engagement trended towards Chipotle Bowls and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

But these engagement numbers mean nothing without seeing what’s driving them. Just because a topic gets high engagement doesn’t mean it’s good. With NetBase Quid®s social media analytics tool, you can investigate the numbers and actual conversations driving these engagements. For example, digging into the above discussion reveals the top attributes people are talking about:

conversation attributes

We can see that Bowl is a top attribute—and this should come as no surprise as it showed high engagements in our timeline view. We can also see that it has positive sentiments and even see attached social media posts explicitly talking about Chipotle’s bowls. Chipotle could use this intel to boost their engagement by creating content that includes this topic.

Once again, consumer behavior changes, and though this is the talk of today, it may not be tomorrow, which is why brands must continuously monitor if they hope to increase and maintain a positive and high engagement rate.

If you need more profound and meaningful insights into your social media engagements, reach out for a demo and give social media algorithms a run for their money!

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