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Measuring social media engagement

Ben Dickens, March 25, 2014

Measuring social media engagement, it’s important to get it right.

Measuring social media is a constant area of debate for most brands. Often social is seen as a must have with little understanding as to the real benefits. This post discusses social measurement and why applying conversion metrics isn’t always the right way to show the real benefits.

Last week, our CEO Ben Dickens wrote about engagement via web traffic, highlighting some of the basic principles of how to analyse user visits on websites. However, while most businesses grasp the importance of measuring on-site interaction and engagement, when it comes to social media, much is forgotten.

For example, it’s good practice to filter out your office IP address from your Google Analytics account. Visits to your website from employees or computers in the office aren’t the kind of visits you’re trying to measure. At DVO, we have to filter out our office and some of our regular freelancers to ensure our traffic numbers reflect our actual audience.

But this is a principle that frequently goes out of the window in social, especially among the many companies who consider likes, retweets and shares from employees to represent bona fide engagement with the brand.

It might be a good thing. It’s a case by case situation. If, for example, you’re a food brand hosting a competition on Facebook to raise brand awareness, it makes sense to encourage your employees to get involved. Everyone eats food, after all.

However, if yours is a specialist industry with a product that only appeals to other businesses or a small selection of individuals, it’s unlikely that employee likes and shares (beyond those of your sales force) will gain you traction.

And while it can be hard to gauge ROI directly from social media, you should always ask yourself whether the activity is really going to gain you any new leads. Social media can be a valuable tool for customer service that can assist in client retention, but having an honest think about whether it’s drawing new leads to your business is another important aspect to consider. Looking at engagement rather than just raw follower numbers makes sense. But if all of that engagement is coming from employees, your data is inherently flawed.

Just like with your business’s website, you want to know you can look at the stats thrown up by social and see the behaviour of your prospects and clients – not of your staff.

DVO is a digital agency that’s here to help you get more from your brand’s engagement in social. Call us on 020 3771 2461, email iminterested@dvoagency.co.uk or tweet @DVOagency.

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