Insights & News

The Engagement Metric Success Trap

Engagement Metric Success trapIf you’ve developed social media posts, you know that high engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, re-tweets and hearts feel good. These engagement metrics are tangible, and obvious to everyone publicly, which means your boss might check out your brand page, and congratulate you on that post with 500 shares. You might even look at these metrics and work to tweak your content to garner even more engagement, but are these the metrics that should guide your content strategy?

Don’t be distracted by the shiny metrics

These engagement metrics (likes, comments and shares) might not be your big-picture goal. Focusing on the wrong social metrics can derail your content strategy. This seems like common sense, and yet it’s easy to fall into the engagement metric success trap.

Before you determine if a high-engagement post was a success, look toward your original content strategy and measure the impact of the post, or series of posts against your objectives. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember to do this when people really “like” you.

Don’t assume failure without doing your research either

Recently we conducted a quick audit of Facebook posts for a client. We were exploring what post types had the most consistent engagement on the brand page, and on competitor pages. We quickly noted that images, conversational posts, and educational posts garnered a large percentage of likes, comments and shares. That felt good.

However, posts with the most important call to action, visit our website and learn more, were met with near radio silence.

Were these failing?

Our primary goal for social content was website traffic, so we dove into the specific reporting. Using tracking links, we were able to prove that our “radio silence” Facebook call to action posts were actually the third highest driver of website traffic overall, only behind organic search and direct visits. Even better, people who clicked on these links from Facebook stayed on the site longer than the average user.

Keep your eye on the metrics that matter most

In this scenario, engagement metrics alone didn’t properly demonstrate fan interest in the “visit our website” post type. Had we altered the copy or messaging based on engagement metrics, without looking at website visitor behaviors, we may have inadvertently stopped fans from what we really wanted them to do- click on the website.

Often, posts that receive high engagement are on the right track, and are positively impacting a brand’s goals. Other times, high post engagement can distract a brand from seeing that the desired call to action isn’t happening. This is the engagement metric success trap.

In summary

Pay attention to your engagement metrics, but take them with a grain of salt. Determine how those metrics impact you larger goals, if at all, before making changes to your content strategy.

Do you need help setting social media goals and developing a content strategy? Contact us today.