Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the book Engage, defines engagement as “the interaction between a consumer or stakeholder and an organization. It is measured…as the takeaway value, sentiment and actions that follow the exchange.”
Engagement is the enduring effect of content to motivate an audience to do something – the “actions, reactions and transactions you can shape and steer,” says Solis. “This is why we are no longer merely engaging with an audience, but instead, a sophisticated and connected audience with an audience of audiences.”
Engagement Transcends Return on Investment
“People get stuck on ROI, but it’s only going to give you 10 percent of the bigger piece of the pie, which is really developing relationships. It’s the human interaction on the other side that’s more important.” (Erik Qualman global vice president of digital marketing at EF Education)
The Benefits of Social Engagement
BRAND LOYALTY: Engagement also affects existing customers by improving the chances they will become repeat customers. Nearly half (49 percent) of the Facebook fans studied by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research in the study previously mentioned reported that they had become fans because they were already customers. Further, more than half of people who had engaged with a brand or company in social channels said they were more likely to buy (51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers) than they were before they became a fan/follower.
CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS: Customers now expect to engage via social channels to ask product questions, give positive and negative feedback, get customer service and to simply share enthusiasm.
This expectation is evident in comments by respondents to the Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research survey report. The report asked what it says about a brand if they are not involved with sites like Facebook or Twitter; survey respondents indicated companies and brands are now conspicuous if they have no presence on social channels.“You doubt their relevance in today’s marketplace,” said one consumer.
Similarly, brands that do not have a social presence risk alienating certain demographics. “Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure,” said another consumer.
AMPLIFICATION: Engaged fans help spread your message within their social network. As they do, posts gain credibility and expand reach.
A May 2009 study by Knowledge Networks found that between 10 and 24 percent of U.S. social media users turned to social networks when making purchase decisions. A survey report by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research, “Why Social Media Matters to Your Business,” found that fans and followers of a brand or company were more likely to recommend that brand or company (60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers).
EDGERANK: Taulbee Jackson, president and chief executive officer at digital media agency Raidious says that EdgeRank strongly favors content with engagement. In fact, it is a primary variable.
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm … is the key to effectively managing content on Facebook for deeper and more meaningful engagement
More help with Facebook’s Edgerank