Setting Social Media Goals In 2015: Why Engagement Trumps Impressions

Happy new year, the time of finalizing 2015 plans! Whether it’s a specific social program or a general channel campaign, the first two questions in goal-setting should always be “What are my goals?” and “How do I measure them?”
Shifting into 2015 with Facebook creating bundled posts, reducing promotional posts, and new platforms offering paid opportunities, we’re beginning to see new answers to those key metric questions and setting social media goals in 2015.
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Impressions are LESS important

For the past few years, social media marketing focused primarily on Impressions and Reach. While fighting ever-changing algorithms, marketers used organic and paid media to serve content to as many eyes as possible. Impressions as large numbers felt satisfying, driving content that focused on clear calls to action to elicit further Impressions and campaigns with large paid support.
Now marketers realize that Impressions do not necessarily translate into sales lift or brand advocates. In businesses that increasingly focus on the ROI of large media spends, it’s simply not enough to have a passive audience. The focus needs to be connection to audience, thus focus shifts to Engagement.[br][br]

Focus on True Engagement

With Facebook announcing that all brand content will now be seen as promotional, marketers must adjust goals to focus on Engagements instead of mass numbers of eyeballs on a post. How are fans truly engaging with content? Are views translating into actions and advocacies?
While big numbers may feel nice, brands see higher advocacies and conversions from true fans, aka those that go out of their way to interact with social media posts. In turn, those interactions will organically create higher Impressions through Shares and Retweets.
The responsibility of eliciting advocacies falls to Community Managers, strategists, and creative teams to create content that resonates with Fans and Followers.[br][br]

Messaging Must Support New KPIs

The clear way to support the focus on Engagement is appropriately supportive content. Without aligning copy and creative, reaching set goals may prove frustrating and difficult.
For example, including images in Tweets boosts Retweets by 35% and photos receive 87% of Shares on Facebook. It is clear that content with images can successfully drive Engagement. Additionally, creative calls to action are not a thing of the past. Give Fans and Followers a clear idea of what to do next. However, be careful not to like-bait as the Facebook algorithm punishes routine users of basic calls to action.
More than ever, it is important to ensure those creating the content are aligned with strategy. This collaboration will grow successful campaigns in the New Year.

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  • Sonal Sharma
    Posted at 13:26h, 16 January

    Right Beth, Content is the key to engage users. Also, I think that marketers, especially startups and small & medium enterprise (with small ad budget) should increasingly use Influencers, along with right content, to promote their product / brands online. This is a very cost & time effective to get maximum visibility (millions at one go) on social media. I know many influencers (facebook, twitter, youtube, blogs, pinterest etc.) who are promoting brands in a big way, and facebook’s new policy has give a little extra boost to this segment. It will be interesting to see how influencer marketing will take shape in future.

    Thankfully, finding influencers has become easy with platforms like IZEA / fromote (search google with exact phrase) an influencer marketing platform which helps brands to find and engage influencers to promote their brands on social media. Brands get targeted reach and influencers make money from their postings!

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick
    Posted at 18:33h, 26 January

    I’d argue that this instrumental understanding of “using influencers” plays into the old “impressions” model that’s being critiqued here. The *only* value that these pay-to-play “influencers” offer is in sheer number of low-value eyeballs. Paid influence is really difference than authentic engagement with influential thought leaders and experts – who are typically independent and not available for one-off paid advocacy. Engagement with those sorts of Influencers (not the Izea type) offers insight, collaboration, early warning on market intelligence and expansion of marketing reach all at once. It’s harder than paying off people who have large numbers of random followers, but it delivers far more value. (Disclosure: I am the CEO of http://getlittlebird.com – a company that discovers true independent influencers and helps ease engagement with them.)

  • Techinplain English
    Posted at 10:18h, 06 April

    PR agencies WANT the latter type, but because they’re asked to scale, they go for the former type, which is poop. Also, when it comes to influencer relations and influencer outreach PR sorely lacks the skills they claim they have. I’ve seen it time and time again and can tell you half a dozen real life anecdotal stories that will make you laugh – and not in a good way. I’m @ggsolutions123 on Twitter

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