4 Recommendations (and 1 Calculation) to Improve Social Media Engagement

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Marketers often have a spectrum of goals for their Facebook pages. From growing awareness to converting Fans into email subscribers, many marketers make progress on each of these goals by focusing on a strategy of building overall community engagement. To aid in this goal, here are four key ways to improve overall Facebook engagement and a great way to calculate average engagement.

1) Look to the Industry Standard

It can be helpful to use the industry standard to gain a sense for where one fits in the big picture when validating strategy, looking for inspiration or advocating for change internally. Specifically, there are two primary ways marketers should seek to use the industry standard: First, to unearth organizations in their space that are killing it so they can follow those pages and learn from them.

Secondly, to show their boss that what they are doing is either working or not. In both cases, marketers should only do so to the degree that it helps them get things they need in order to do a better job building engagement on their Facebook page, whether that be more flexibility on what they can post, tools to help them do more with the limited time they have, etc. 

2) Know Your Audience

While having an understanding of how the industry as a whole performs is helpful, page managers should make posting decisions based on their community as audiences can (and do!) vary widely. For instance, as hard as it is to believe, some Facebook audiences engage more with simple text posts than images or videos!

Page managers should base their posting strategy on what their audience has shown that they care about – from frequency to post type, voice, and more. There are terrific analytics available to help marketers analyze all aspects of their audience’s content engagement.

3) Build Community Engagement

If your goal is to accomplish maximum engagement per post, this graph from HubSpot’s recent 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report makes it pretty obvious that you should be posting 2 to 3 times per week. After all, the data shows us that this is the sweet spot. But if your goal is to maximize engagement on the page overall, you are actually far better off posting 10 or more times per week. Consider the following math: 10 posts x 47 interactions = 470 engagements vs 3 posts x 73 interactions = 219 engagements.

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4) If you have the Capacity, Use it

The HubSpot Research illustrates that every organization that has the capacity to post 10+ times per week, should be doing so. Finding the means to do so can help grow overall content engagement; in fact, there are numerous ways to boost the number of posts an organization can make that don’t require a lot of time.

For example, using tools like Facebook Insights, organizations can find and repost their top performing content. They can also use Timeline as a tool to learn which content performs best in order to create more like it, helping improve the performance of their content over time.

Similarly, marketers can re-share top performing content from other like-minded pages. (Which also encourages these page managers to repay the favor helping further spread others’ content as well.) These strategies can help marketers maximize engagement over time, whether that be per week, month or more.

Calculating Average Engagement

While analytics will help marketers better understand what content and post frequency performs best for their particular audience, many struggle with how to calculate engagement over time. The best approach is to examine an aggregate number of posts from over several weeks (e.g. 200 over a 3-week period) which will give a view into the level of engagement for content in general. Because this approach looks at many posts, it evens out the trend line and causes the organization to focus on constant improvement over time.

Marketers can calculate the impact of a page on a daily/weekly/monthly basis by multiplying the average engagement by the number of posts per day. The equation looks like this:

Average Engagement * Average Posts Per day = Average Engagement Per day

To calculate it for a week, multiply it by seven, etc. And, for those who want to be really disciplined, they can divide the resulting number by the money spent on ads for that period of time. Or, taking it one step further, divide any budget spent by the number of outcomes generated – e.g. emails collected, revenue created, etc. This provides a really clear picture of cost relative to the targeted outcome.

With a clear goal to increase this number over time, marketers can pull from the strategies above and increase ad spending. Given the current state of organic reach, focusing on increasing both the performance of each post and honing ad-spend is a solid strategy. Note that regardless of how the formula focuses on engagement over time, when organizations increase ad spending, the number will go up.

While average engagement per post is arguably the most important metric to manage toward on a day to day basis — because it is the measure of whether or not a page’s content and audience are getting better over time — average engagement per day/week/month is super valuable to see total impact over time. Marrying a deep understanding of one’s peer group and what works well in the industry with an even deeper knowledge of what makes an organization’s community tick will result in deeper engagement across the board, helping to most importantly drive specific organization-impacting outcomes.

Drew Bernard is the founder and CEO of ActionSprout.com where he helps nonprofits and political campaigns further their mission by engaging supporters in social media. Drew frequently shares his experience helping organizations build productive relationships with supporters online at the ActionSprout Blog

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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