Promoting your message and fostering community is an important part of a social media manager’s job. Having an engaged audience increases your chances of compelling your social media audience to act.
But what’s “engagement,” anyway? Should you use it as the only measurement to gauge the success of your work? No way! Let’s BUST the myth once and for all why Facebook Likes aren’t everything or an accurate representation of your brand.
But first, some definitions.
“Talking About This”
The “talking about this” measurement on Facebook is made up of any stories that users share in their timeline. This includes:
- Liking a Page
- Posting to a Page’s Wall
- Liking, commenting on or sharing a Page post (or other content on a Page, such as photos, videos or albums)
- Answering a posted Question
- RSVPing to an event
- Mentioning a Page in a post
- Phototagging a Page
- Liking or sharing a check-in deal
- Checking in at a Place
This is excellent data because you can see how many people are, as it’s named, talking about your brand.
Engagement is a ratio of engaged users (people interacting with your content) and reach (the number of people who saw your content). For example, a post with four engaged users and a 100 reach would yield a 4% engagement score.
It’s important to clarify that I’m only talking about engagement as a predictor of action, not as an end-goal in itself. High engagement scores don’t mean that your audience has clicked through to your website, bought your product, signed up for your newsletter or signed up for your service. For most businesses, engagement is a great indication of how your audience is interacting with your content. However, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ve been driven to action.
How To Calculate Engagement Rate
In order to calculate your page’s engagement rate, divide the “talking about this” number by the Page’s total “Likes” and multiply by 100. See the example below for our client Any Day Now (which is a fantastic movie about a gay couple in the late 1970s who took in a teenager with Down syndrome). In December, Any Day Now’s Facebook engagement rate was 91%.
You can calculate this for any brand. At the same time, The Hobbit had an engagement rate of 69% and Coca-Cola had an engagement rate of 1%. Statistics show that the average Facebook page has an engagement rate of only 2%.
This also can be calculated for individual posts by looking at the number of “Likes” and comments divided by the amount of people that have seen the post.
Why Does This Matter?
Why does it matter if Coca-Cola had an engagement rate of 1% while Any Day Now had 91%? Simple. Because “Likes” aren’t everything! In fact, more Facebook “Likes” hurts your engagement rate if that individual is not actively engaging with your brand. Facebook “Likes” can be easily bought if that is what you feel is fitting for your business. But think about it this way: Purchased “Likes” are not opting in to receive messages from you brand. They don’t care. So you won’t receive any financial benefit from these users. Simple as that.
Take People StyleWatch for example. Even though I can’t tell you if their fan-base is fake and I can’t look into the backend to see their page statistics, but I can show you this:
For a fanpage to have 100,oo0 fans and a post with only eight Likes is a sign of off-the-charts low engagement.
Check out this Any Day Now post:
Keep in mind, Any Day Now’s Facebook page has a little more than 1,000 fans and has over 11x more engagement than People StyleWatch’s post.
How To Get A Higher Engagement Rate
Now that you understand that engagement is more important than total Page Likes, how do you truly compel your audience? Start by developing content that your target audience wants. Then try these additional tips:
- Include an image. Posts with images receive interaction rates 39% higher than average.
- Keep posts short. Short posts with 80 characters or fewer get 23% higher interaction rates.
- Ask for captions. By asking fans to caption photos, comments increase by more than 5x.
- Post on Wednesday afternoons. Current studies show that Wednesdays at 3pm EST are the best days/times to post.
- Ask for photos. Run a photo contest!
- Ask for tips. Ask fans to share tips!
- Ask, ask, ask. Ask open-ended questions.
Tell Me More
I love connecting with other community managers and brand advocates about their Facebook page’s engagement rate. Let’s share ideas! What has worked best for you? What hasn’t worked as well?