Wednesday, December 10, 2008
How do you define Engagement?
Why do I ask this question? Lately, I have seen companies report the success of a social media campaign in "Number of Engagements". While these numbers do show some measure of results, I don't think they truly measure the engagement of the audience. This made me wonder what is actually being reported and led me to ask the question "How do you define engagement?"
The companies reporting success by Number of Engagements seem to define an engagement as any comment on a blog, forum, Q&A site, or social network. But is this really engagement?
The dictionary defines engagement as the act of engaging or the state of being engaged. Which is no help. So if you look up engage you get the definition: to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons). I think the key work here is Occupy.
The word occupy implies more than a simple speed bump on a the social media comment highway. It implies that the engagement grabbed someones attention and that they paused, thought about and possibly even commented back before moving on.
Number of Engagements as it is being used as a metric tells me how many mentions a brand received in a particular space. It does not tell me how many times the audience was actually engaged.
Social media should be about true engagement, occupying a person's interests. Not just about how many times I can mention a brand. Truly engaging an audience requires real participation and real effort and if done properly, is very effective.
Photo Credit rmrayner.