Does Engagement Still Matter?

How many of you remember the excitement when a celebrity favorited or replied to you on Twitter? Or how about when a brand responded to a question you had on Facebook?

Something as simple as a brand letting a consumer know that they’re out there, listening, can strengthen loyalty and fandom tenfold. So why are some brands giving up engagement on social platforms altogether? The answer is as complex as it is simple. Some platforms, like Facebook, are encouraging brands to shift the focus of branded posts to get as many eyeballs on them as possible, as opposed to getting the most engagements. The question that community managers are now asking themselves: does engagement still matter?

According to a recent study by Simply Measured, engagement rates on the top 10 brand pages are going down. Some of this can be explained through the major overhauls in Facebook’s algorithm, which effectively decreased organic reach for brands. But did you know the Facebook algorithm also puts emphasis on posts that have more likes, comments, and shares? With that in mind, brands should be doing everything they can to ensure more people see their content, including responding to comments on your brand posts, which will increase your chances of getting onto your followers timelines. By encouraging and growing engagement with consumers on your brand pages, the more successful your posts will be. BOOM! You just got a knowledge bomb dropped in your lap.

Another recent study from Quintly, states that 65% of questions to Facebook Pages go unanswered. Sixty-five percent is a D – that report card will not be going on the refrigerator. I know the feeling of being bored answering the same questions over and over again, but this is an easy solve through a response plan featuring your top frequently asked questions at your disposal for quick responses. People are asking these questions because they want to be assured that someone is on the other end (of the computer screen) willing to listen and respond.

So while organic reach may be slowing down on Facebook, brands should not have a knee jerk reaction and think that engagement isn’t important anymore. As a social media/community manager, it is still important to seek out consumers who advocate for your product/business/brand. The more interaction you have on your Facebook posts (especially ones with links in them), you could potentially see in an increase in website traffic, and sales.

What can you, as a community manager, do to convince your charges to focus on engagement? I am going to use the improv trick of showing vs. telling, show your brands what consumers are saying when they are engaging with page content. You can show that when you engage with people who are talking to you on social, you are building a brand affinity with consumers. These consumers will advocate for you to their friends and networks. People still trust advice from their friends and colleagues above direct messages from brands, so if the person you’ve cultivated a relationship with online has the choice to recommend your brand or a competitor brand who never engaged with them, chances are, they’ll recommend you over a competitor. Just remember that it’s always better to be the person at the party who engages everyone, than the one who stands by the punchbowl staring at their feet.

Organic reach may be dead, but when you get people looking at your posts, and those people are engaging with your content, talk back. Otherwise, why are you on social?

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