How many Instagram followers do you have? Do you know the number of Twitter followers you have or the number of people that like your Facebook page? Most people know and love these numbers, yet some don’t. I’m part of the latter group. It might sound strange coming from a marketer, but I don’t think the “count” matters at all. Rather, I think it’s engagement that’s relevant and important.

Social media engagement is a number or reference to how many people actually look at and interact with the things you share. For example, let’s say someone has 10,000 followers. If they share posts and regularly get 100 engagements, then at the end of the day, the other 900 people don’t matter. On the other hand, someone that has 300 followers and regularly gets 200 engagements is doing much better overall. Let’s dig deeper into this idea.

What is engagement?

Engagement is how many people are doing more than looking at your posts. These people could be commenting, liking, or sharing your content. Unlike their lurking counterparts, these people are active and interested in what you have to say. It’s an essential number because it tells you how many people care. While it’s vital to know the reach of a post, you should be looking to learn from how many people are interacting with each post. Analyzing and boosting engagement can help you increase your conversions for your product or service.

How do you find it?

How you measure and find engagement is dependent on the program and social account you use. Some programs can track your posts as well as plan them. Examples of this include our favorite option Buffer as well as Hootsuite and Later. If you use something like Buffer with a paid account, you can get tons of information already calculated for you. Buffer will use their analytics programs to give your weekly or monthly reach, engagement, and more. In the same way, Hootsuite and other social tracking platforms can do the same things.

On the other hand, if you are looking at social media accounts on their own, it will depend on the account you have. Facebook pages, Instagram business pages, and Twitter all have ways to look at engagement per post. On the other hand, personal Facebook or Instagram pages will not have this option. The best method we have found is to use a social media management software. It’s there that you will get the most for your money.

What can you do with engagement?

When you have the engagement information for the past month or so of posts, then the sky is the limit for growth and learning. With engagement data, you can look at what type of posts are doing better, what time photos are doing the best, who are engaging with the posts, and what tweets aren’t or didn’t do so well. Using this information, you can change the way that you post to achieve better results.

It’s also a great way to find out what platforms are your strong suit. If you are getting a ton of engagement from Facebook but little to nothing on Twitter, you can look at why that may be and if Twitter is worth it for your business. On the other hand, you can track or help to track return on investment. While tracking RIO on social media is a trick, seeing engagement rates with the company improve means that you are getting something for the money and time that you spend.

Can you use it with follower count?

Yes! Though I think engagement is a much more valuable number, follower count can be used as well. You should never base your business success on the number of people that follow you on social media. However, if your goal is growth and recognition, then the engagement you have should also be boosting your follower count across all boards. Looking specifically at sharing is a great way to accomplish this. The more people that share your content, the more likely other people are to follow you.

Shouldn’t it correlate with follower count?

Though you might say yes, the real answer could be no! For example, on Instagram, you have what’s called the follow-unfollow game. In short, people will try to grow their follower count by following and then unfollowing accounts a few days later. This trend could make a smaller business’s account jump up and down by dozens every few days. On the other hand, there will be many times where the follower count does coincide with the engagement rate. However, my point is that you should pay more attention to engagement as a metric of success rather than follower growth.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking at follower count and it’s bouncing up and down each day, try taking a look at your engagement. It’s the number that will tell you not just how many people saw it, but how many people saw and cared about what you had to say. You can use many tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or Later to look at your social media analytics through your own social accounts might be able to give you some information. Be sure to use this data to determine what times would be best, as well as what topics and what platforms work the best. Finally, make sure that you are always looking to improve and know that having a high follower count is only as good as your engagement.