As social media has developed, its position as a key medium for brand engagement has only become more established. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have such an emphasis on sharing that they are strong tools for increasing reach and targeting new audiences. There is a difference, though, between creating content for reach and creating it for engagement. Publishing a video with the sole intention of it going viral, for example, may lead to quick gains, but it inherently suggests a lack of long-term strategy.
Though every brand will agree that there is a great deal of value in publishing on social channels, it seems equally accepted that it is fundamentally difficult to gauge the efficacy of a social post. Likes and comments are obviously a positive sign - they show that users are engaging with your output - but they don’t suggest any real long-term engagement with the brand that’s actually publishing the content. Shares are more useful, but ultimately followers are the holy grail for a lot of publishers, given that they offer the opportunity for continued engagement down the line.
To a degree, every brand is now a publisher, a trend which has led to an explosion in the amount of content vying for attention on both social channels and search. Creating quality content is undoubtedly the most effective way of cutting through the noise, but the difficulty in measuring the success of a piece of content can make even that a difficult ask. We asked four digital marketing executives how they assess their success on social.
Ram Kapoor, CMO, UC Berkeley
'Horses for courses', that’s our approach to social media. Since we generate a wide variety of stories for a range of audiences, we look at the subject matter and the audience to determine whether the story will lead to greater engagement on Twitter, Facebook or another channel. Depending on the channel, we look at typical social metrics such as shares and clicks, but we also look at exposure amongst non-fans.
Justin Barton, Vice President of Audience Development, iHeartMedia
Publishers should focus on measuring the metrics that drive results. Clicks, Shares, and Comments. The soft touch metrics of Likes and 3 Second Views are nice to have in bulk, but it really doesn’t mean that people are engaging with your content.
Dan Lagani, President & Chief Revenue Officer, Diply
Diply was born as a native social publisher. Through the lens of 1,500 original videos and stories each month published directly to social platforms and generating 5B consumer impressions around the world, Diply measures success through both reach and engagement. In March, Diply consumers watched more than 1.2B videos on Facebook alone accounting for over 12 millennia (that’s 12,040 years!)2 spent with its content during the 31 day period.
Jennifer Dwork, Head of Content and Partnerships, Book of the Month
We try to track, measure and analyze whichever metrics are most closely associated with a particular initiative. In a membership-focused contest or promotion we might measure participation rates. For influencers, we look at increases in our followers. For an enrollments-driven campaign, we track cost per enrollment.