Before recent digital times, the word engagement only evoked images of a big diamond ring. Today one of the most sought-after social media metrics is increased engagement. But what is it? And why do you need it?

What is social media engagement?

Social media engagement is a measurement used to define how much, and how often, people are interacting with your account and your content on social media.

A higher engagement rate indicates a strong online community around your company, demonstrates that your audience is enjoying your online content, and shows that your followers are building and feeling a connection with your business. It reflects that your brand recognisability and awareness are on the up. All these factors help you win over customers, convert leads and generate sales.

A lower engagement rate points to a need for a social media content shake-up and a new social media marketing strategy – and the lower your engagement rates are, the less likely your content will be served to users on social media (sadly, that’s how social media algorithms on channels such as Instagram work).

Social media engagement can be defined and measured through:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Comments
  • Reactions
  • Mentions/tags
  • Retweets
  • Direct messages

And any other social media action that users take when engaging with your content.

How is social media engagement measured?

Engagement rate is calculated as the total number of interactions your content receives divided by your total number of followers, multiplied by 100%.

Average engagement rates vary across different social media channels, and they differ over time, but as you can see from these figures, taken from Cyberclick, a good engagement rate is 1% and above.

  • Facebook’s average engagement rate: 1-2%
  • Instagram’s average engagement rate: 1-5%
  • TikTok’s average engagement rate: 3-9%
  • LinkedIn’s average engagement rate: 2%
  • Twitter’s average engagement rate: 0.045% (2020)

Consistent growth in engagement is a great sign as it shows that you’re doing your social media marketing well. However, it is completely normal for your engagement rates to dip and peak, due to circumstances such as:

  • The time of day you posted on social media (find out what times are best for you to post)
  • The social media platform you are using and its ongoing changes and updates (for example, there was a time in 2021 when Instagram started favouring reels over images)
  • Your industry and niche (engagement rates vary across these)
  • The weather (people are on their phones less during sunnier periods)
  • The time of year, occasions, and social events such as high-profile sports competitions, royal weddings, bank holidays, school/holiday term times, Christmas, Easter weekend, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.
  • The content type (it’s normal for some content to outperform others – and you can simply make more of what works well!)
  • The call to action on your content (some call to actions will drive clicks whilst others will drive engagement, depending on what call to action you use)
  • Social and cultural circumstances (social media engagement rates dropped when UK lockdowns finished)
  • Social media algorithm shifts (inevitable and unavoidable)

Why is social media engagement important for businesses?

Social media is meant to be social, so the businesses that succeed in encouraging social interactions are the ones that generate the most sales and awareness from social media.

Social media engagement doesn’t directly or necessarily translate to sales, but it certainly instigates them and increases a target customer’s chance of converting. The more times your content is engaged with, the more times it is then seen by users online, and the more consumer touchpoints you are generating. And the more a consumer has a touchpoint with a company, the further down the conversion journey funnel they go!

The higher your engagement rates, the larger your social media reach, and the easier it becomes to attract and gain new, engaged followers who will become your target customers. For example, Instagram content with high engagement will appear on Instagram’s Explore page, meaning it’s going to be organically found by a target customer. Social media channels will favour and push what does well – their priority is to keep people on their networks for as long as possible!

The more a social media channel sees your content being lapped up and interacted with, the more often your content is going to be served to online users selected and deemed a suitable target customer by the social media platform.

A consistently high engagement rate means you’re building your presence and staying at the forefront of consumer minds.

How do I increase my social media engagement rates for business?

If your social media engagement rates are low or have dipped, there are so many strategies you can utilise to increase your social media engagement. They include;

  • Responding to comments and messages
  • Establish what goals you want to achieve from social media and implement a strategy to achieve them
  • Building your presence with regular, consistent posting
  • Interacting with other social media accounts (includes liking posts, sharing content, commenting on content, direct messaging other accounts, and so on) you must give it out to get it back!
  • Revising your social media content plan – what you’re posting and when
  • Having a purpose behind your content and adding value to your audience online
  • Instigating conversations (ask questions, run polls, etc)
  • Doing social media collaborations with other creators and businesses
  • Ensuring you have a defined brand persona, voice and tone of which you want your audience to recognise you for
  • Utilising the multitude of different features social media platforms offer (Instagram, for example, offers reels, IGTV, lives, carousel posts, video posts, stories and guides)
  • Employ social media listening strategies to establish what your target audiences want
  • Use and encourage user-generated content to expand reach and develop customer relationships online

You could also plan and execute a social media campaign to offer refreshing content and instigate engagement.

Key social media engagement takeaways:
  • The better your engagement, the larger your online reach, the more awareness and followers you will acquire
  • Social media engagement builds a community and a fan base around your business
  • Social media engagement instigates sales and leads
  • There are strategies you can use to improve your social media engagement rates, even if they’re currently low
  • A social media campaign could increase your engagement rates and reach – have a look at our social media campaign ideas
  • You get back what you put in, so start conversations whenever and wherever possible!

If you’d like to speak to one of our social media specialists to inform your social media marketing strategy, talk to us today.