December 2, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
Image by L.e.e. http://www.flickr.com/photos/l-e-e/2919561589/in/photostream/
Engagement: It’s been the buzzword de jour.
So what exactly is engagement in social media and why is it important?
Parta Dialogue’s white paper Engagement Is Efficiency explains the importance of engagement to social media ROI in Google and Facebook.
According to a 2007 Forrester marketing report, “Engagement is the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence an individual has with a brand over time.”
In social media, engagement is active individual participation and multi-user interaction around content and content-creation.
Engagement goes beyond reach and frequency to measure people’s real feelings about organizations and brands. It starts as a person deepens their relationship with the organization through online interactions and purchases (involvement and interaction). It then moves to affinity and championing (intimacy and influence), assuming the relationship continues favorably.
As an organization, fostering and measuring engagement is critical to understanding a customer’s intent as well as the organization’s rank in Google and Facebook.
Google’s PageRank is powered by engagement.
PageRank, Google’s link analysis algorithm, assigns a weight to pages online with the purpose of measuring its importance to the community and the World Wide Web.
A link to your page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank value of the incoming link depends itself on its own PageRank. A web page with many incoming links that have high PageRank receives a high rank itself. A page with no incoming links will have a low PageRank.
Why should your organization care about your PageRank? The higher the PageRank, the higher your page will appear in searches. The highest PageRank will result in the highest reach for its content.
In Facebook, engagement is the driver that determines which content followers receive and the reach of each piece of content that you post.
EdgeRank is the algorithm that manages Facebook’s NewsFeed. The NewsFeed presents each user with a customized feed of content from other users and pages. The NewsFeed is different each time a user logs on Facebook or refreshes.
Based on the EdgeRank of each of your friends’ or pages’ updates, NewsFeed arranges the order and prominence of items to each viewer.
So how does EdgeRank algorithm work?
1. Every item that appears in your NewsFeed is treated as an object (status update, post, like).
2. Whenever anyone interacts (tags, likes, comments, etc.) with an object you create, they have given that object an “Edge.”
3. Each Edge has three components important to the algorithm
The take-away: If you want your posts to show up prominently in the NewsFeed of other users, you must ensure that people engage with your content.
Google and Facebook reward engagement by giving relevant and attractive content a boost in reach because it gives better value to their users. Ultimately, the more others engage with your posts, the more reach you have for less dollars.
What are some practical ways you can try to increase engagement in social media? What can you do as a customer to help some organizations increase their engagement?
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I think the law of reciprocity really plays here.
A good strategy I have found is to engage with others first. Give to get.
The more proactive I am about commenting on others posts the more likely the other person is to engage back or make a comment on my posts.
It is unrealistic and naive to think that engagement begins with everybody else first and that the content creator can sit back and wait for others to reach out.No, reach out first and plant the seeds of reciprocity.
Jeff, what I’m looking forward to see in the future is that ultimate tool which will help accurately measure your engagement level with each person you connect with on the Social Web. All the numbers right now are just the tip of the iceberg and how deep their sentiment to your brand is still an X factor, unless you blatantly ask. Here’s an interesting observation I’ve made though: Most of the quotes I automate on Twitter got a lot of impressions, making you think that automation works pretty good in engaging your followers. Still, I’d say that taking the time to converse can go a long way and it starts with a simple ‘thanks’.
Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m looking forward to that ultimate tool too! There are some that are already available that measure engagement and sentiment like SocialMentions. I’m sure more are coming.
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