Is Engagement An Accurate Key Performance Indicator?

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Ultimately the goal in any social media strategy is to provide the right tools so that your consumers can engage with your brand, increase brand sentiment and act as brand advocates. A common objective is to encourage the consumer to become the marketer, this objective has led to many marketeers claiming the consumer is king. Engagement is often the primary KPI for Social media strategy.

There is a problem with having engagement as a primary KPI. The problem centres around the definition and measuring of engagement. The way Facebook measures engagement is “the percentage of people that see the post that engage with the content.”
This figure can often be misleading, for example engagement will dramatically fall if Facebook Ad spend is increased, this is because a significantly higher volume of people will see the posts.
Furthermore Shareable content is likely to have a negative impact on engagement, if a fan shares a post they are effectively demonstrating very strong engagement and acting as brand advocates however the way Facebook engagement is calculated the likelihood is engagement will fall. 

Comments and likes are ranked equally, as one engagement. This produces a lack of clarity because in reality the level of engagement is much higher when a fan comments on a post and engages in conversation than when they like a post. It is therefore highly possible that a FB pages engagement figure may fall despite a brand increasing the volume of conversation with and around the brand.
Using Engagement (percentage of people that see a brand page and engage) as a KPI provides very limited insight into the performance of your social media strategy, Focusing on this as a KPI can lead to brands missing areas of improvement for a page. For agencies it’s essential they isolate metrics that lead to the engagement figure as the engagement figure doesn’t necessary reflect a successful content strategy. Brands need to isolate and analyse the volume of comments, likes and shares of their page in order to truly understand if there content strategy is working.

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