Digitally, we are trying harder than ever to connect with customers.

On social, those connections are identified through social media engagements.

How do we measure the quality of social media engagements? And how do we identify the quality of those engagements?

We have a few answers for you.

Social Media Engagements, Simplified

First of all, the easiest way to look at social media engagements is to count them for what they are

  • Likes
  • Comments/Conversation
  • Shares
  • Reviews

In addition to this thinking, in 2011 Avinash Kaushik encouraged marketers to look at engagements in four ways (which Buffer outlined in detail in 2014):

  1. Conversation — the number of conversations per social media post. On Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, this would be comments. On Twitter, it’s replies.
  2. Amplification — measures the number of reshares or retweets on average for each post.
  3. Applause — accounts for the various ways a user can promote a post on different networks—Retweets, Likes, +1s, hearts, etc.
  4. Economic Value — according to Kaushik, this value is the sum of short-term revenue, long-term revenue, and cost savings.

The real question is: what economic value are you getting from your social media engagements?

Look at your conversations, amplification, and applause. Are you seeing a return of some sort?

If you answered no, it may be time to take a deeper look at how engagements are achieved, and how to aim for more quality engagements.

Why Engagement Isn’t A Simple Metric

According to a report from Thunderhead, only one in four businesses feel confident in their customer engagement methods.

Furthermore, the report goes on to list four areas of trust between consumers and brands

  • Repeatability — deliver what was promised.
  • Unselfishness — generate value for the customer.
  • Accuracy — deliver what is needed.
  • Longevity — retain customers over the long run.

When it comes down to understanding how social media engagements help build trust, the Thunderhead report best sums it up in the below statement.

“The trust customers place in a business has its genesis in the brand promise. This is what the business says it will do and, in interactions with customers, is what they should deliver on. The ability to deliver on their promise is what engenders trust.”

At the end of the day, both the customer and the business must receive value from engagements obtained on social media.

For a customer, this could be

  • Discounts
  • Coupons
  • Contests
  • Customer service

For a business, value could be

As a business, your goal should be to ensure that each interaction has a common value for both you and the customer (or potential customer).

And, here’s a hint, to obtain more quality engagements you’ll need to aim for deeper interactions.

Quality Begets Quality

As you build a thriving community online, you should start seeing more social traffic on your website, better brand awareness, and even more prospects in your pipeline.

Though we covered “applause” above — retweets, likes, hearts, or +1s — these are low-level engagements.

Just because someone liked your post, doesn’t mean they read it.

Even retweets may not mean much when you realize 60% of people share content they haven’t even read themselves!

Watch out for low-level forms of social media engagement.

Meanwhile, higher-level engagements like comments, conversation, and peer-to-peer reviews are paramount to gaining trust and building relationships online.

As a result, marketers may want to start to look more closely at clicks versus retweets or shares since this may indicate a desire to find out more versus blindly sharing information.

Or, if you haven’t had much success with starting a conversation on your social media pages, why not try a review campaign to let those social signals help rank you higher in search.

You Can’t Half-Ass Quality Social Media Engagements

Finally, I think this goes without saying, you can’t put in half-assed efforts and get superb results.

Social media is the MOST preferred channel when it comes to where consumers want to engage with brands according to the Sprout Social Q2 2016 Index.


Therefore, your business has to be on social ready to engage in real time with your current and would-be customers.

Most of all, you have to be able to execute with ruthless efficiency, which is why we chose Sprout Social as our social media monitoring dashboard of choice.

Not only does Sprout’s Smart Inbox allow us to see all social media engagements in one, single stream, it also allows us to find opportunities to engage in conversations around our keywords online.

Furthermore, we can easily pull Engagement Reports to see how well/fast we’re responding and any engagement trends we may need to pick up on.


Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you’re putting an emphasis on creating deeper engagements online.

Whether that’s through conversation, reviews, or more click-throughs, you can gain more trust and better economic value from your social media engagements if you put a plan behind it.

How are you using social media to obtain deeper relationships or gain trust? Let us know in the comments section below!