We spend a lot of time here at SME: Digital talking about Return on Investment. Heck, our CEO wrote the book on it. So, it should come as no surprise that when we were out post-client meeting enjoying adult beverages that the conversation should come back to measuring social media. We had this amazing conversation overlooking the city of San Francisco about metrics and measurement and the value therein. As the conversation was winding down, it dawned on me, we should think about looking at our social engagement metrics in a slightly new way.
Today, we are looking at reach and engagement. And if you aren’t, step one: start looking at reach and engagement. But, I have often felt uncomfortable with the current engagement metrics. Because we all agree that a share is more powerful than a like. And I hate lumping in likes with shares. It muddies the waters in my mind. So, I propose that we start looking at two levels of engagement: Passive and active.
By no stretch of the imagination am I putting down the like or the RT. I simply wish to delineate these actions from the more action-oriented engagement. Passive engagement really is the lowest barrier of customer entry. The minimum action required: moving a mouse and clicking. Anyone can do this. It is passive. It is like nodding your head when talking to someone. It is the bare minimum. It is simply an indication of appreciation. Important, yes! But, is it an indication of affinity or purchase intent? Not really. Passive engagement is the easiest action a customer or fan can do. Moving your mouse and clicking “like” or hitting the RT button doesn’t take much effort and doesn’t really indicate passion for the post. This is why I think we should begin to differentiate engagement.
The reason I feel this is an important change in measurement is not necessarily to share with the C-suite. However, these metrics should be uses to refine our content strategy. And we should be consistently refining our strategy based on results. You need to be measuring things in order to know what’s working and what’s not. And if straight-up engagement is all you are after, then feel free to discard this idea, but, if you are really into being useful to your customer and your shareholders, you should consider this approach when you are evaluating your content strategy in your next quarterly meeting. Look at the content that gets passive engagement and then look at the stuff that over-achieves in the active engagement arena. There is probably a hybrid in there somewhere that you could boost the passive engagement posts into more active engagement and watch the amplification fly.
What are your thoughts? How are you evaluating you content strategy? What metrics matter to you?