Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Lots of people and businesses are using it, but many still don't know how to measure the ROI social media provides. What metrics should you be following? Number of followers? Number of re-tweets? Are these accurate performance indicators? Well I'm here to argue that your engagement rate is the best indicator of performance. What is engagement? It's basically the percentage of times that followers interact with your your posts. If you have 400 followers on Facebook, but your post only receives 40 likes, that means your engagement rate is 10%. There are a bunch of websites that will give you a variety of formulas you can use, so we are going to focus on the major conceptual points.
Social media is full of fluff.
Lots of accounts out there have thousands of followers/connections. Unfortunately, a lot of these numbers are full of fluff or people who just want to increase their follower count. Major networks like Twitter have #teamfollowback, while Facebook pages have people who like a brand but will never actively interact with it. Connections like these are more or less useless. 10,000 followers who refuse to engage with your brand is worth far less than an account with 500 followers and even a 10% engagement rate. As a brand you NEED people to interact with you to gain traction.
Engagement rate can be directly attributed to how well your content resonates with your audience.
Someone sharing your content, or commenting on a post is more valuable than someone who just glances at it and moves on. The majority of followers will usually be passive and act like the latter. The highest performing brands online are those that can drive interaction, and have a larger proportion of active followers. Engagement rate also is much better at tracking how well your content is performing. You may have 10,000 followers, but what is that worth if you don't track who, or how many times someone is interacting with a certain piece of your content?
Engagement is useful for identifying and qualifying potential leads.
Which would you identify as a more promising lead? A person who never looks at or shares your content in their newsfeed, or the individual who actively comments/shares/ask questions about your posts? Probably the latter. Your messaging and content are clearly resonating with them more than the first person. The more engaged a person is, the more invested they are in a brand. In marketing that usually means they are the more likely sale.