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What is engagement?

When it comes to Marketing and PR, an engagement can mean a number of things depending on the channel or context in which it exists. However broadly it can be defined as an interaction or communication between two parties over online, digital or social networks.

The digital revolution provided marketers a new avenue through which to broadcast a type of one-way communication that had been the norm for decades. The advent of social media marketing brought with it the industry-shifting feature of two-way interactions as a part of modern marketing. The introduction of this type of dialogue shifted the landscape in a number of ways – while the final goal of brands has remained much the same, the techniques used to get there have been entirely focused on interacting with consumers to achieve that goal.

What is engagement in social media?

Each social media platform will define engagement differently depending on their functionalities, but engagements will always be measurable. Whether it’s likes, comments, views or shares, the effectiveness of a piece of content is illustrated through the engagement rate.  For example by taking a total amount of likes on a post and dividing by the number of people who saw that post online. Assigning a value to that engagement also depends on your objectives. For e.g. a post with lots of comments might be seen as a success until the content of those comments come under further inspection.

Engagement should not be looked at as a once-off statistic, but rather as the beginning of the development of a longstanding, two-way interaction between brand and consumer. The value of engagement changes over time and across both users and platforms. It also requires both a qualitative and quantitative mind to analyse properly. It provides a clearer picture when assessing the value or effectiveness of a brand or a piece of content, especially in a time where it seems anyone can gain a significant audience by paying for it.

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