The ROI of Social Media (Part 3)

by Jami Winstrom

You’ve developed your brand and your voice, created content and have begun to deploy it across your social channels. Now you can start to measure engagement. It has been difficult for marketers to agree on a definition of engagement. However, I would include the following measures: number of comments, number of active users, number of “likes,” number of user-generated items (photos, threads, and replies), usage metrics for app, impressions-to-interactions ratio (how many people see a post compared to how many interact with that post), and rate of activity.

Brand engagement should be considered as a continuum, with a consistent momentum. At the start of the continuum is awareness, and at the other end is engagement, where consumers interact with your brand in meaningful ways. These are called “brand fans.” According to Razorfish, a leading digital marketing agency, 40% of online consumers have become a friend or fan of a brand on a social networking site. There are five characteristics of engaged consumers as they become what we call “brand fans”:

1. Emotional Engagement: a post (image, text, or video) has a meaningful connection with the fan.

2. Self-identification: the fan personally identifies with like-minded content.

3. Cultural Competence: the fan has a cultural connection with the brand through social content, understanding the history of a product (goes beyond functionality).

4. Auxiliary Consumption: the fan collects a brand’s products and utilizes the items based on their experiences.

5. Production: the fan actually becomes involved in the production of the content related to the product, which means they’re posting about a product on their own (we’ll talk more about this one next week!).

Our goal in the engagement phase (and how we’d measure ROI) is conversions, which is when customers take a specific action such as sign up for your newsletter, contact you, or purchase a product. This is why we care so much about how people engage with our brand. The level of engagement of our consumers makes a profound difference in the buying decision process. We want our audience to be compelled by our story to use our products and services, and to continue to use them. We want them to see our social posts, visit our website, and buy our products or services. And next week, we’ll talk more about customers who are so loyal to our brand that they recommend us to others (advocacy).