Don't believe me? How much money does your company make from comments? How much money does your company make from those people who comment? How much money does your company make from people that comment on your social media posts?
Engagement, as measured by comments or participation, is nonsense for the vast majority of businesses. Many experts will tout these oddball metrics, stating that they will somehow lead to revenue, like pulling a rabbit from a hat. These are the same guys that advertised sock puppet commercials in Super Bowl advertisements for companies that went out of business.
Has anyone proven a correlation on any social media site or blog that proved a direct relationship between conversions and comments? Of the sites that I've seen, the comments were written by people who were probably never going to purchase… friends, colleagues, dissenters, and folks trying to build online authority. Out of all of them, it's doubtful that any of them would make a purchase.
Engagement should never be measured in comments or social media responses unless you can tie that interaction directly to subsequent revenue. Comments and discussion should never be a metric of success for a business unless you can prove that they impact your conversion rates.
The Exception: Online Reputation
The one indirect benefit is from positive responses on social media, which can improve your business's online reputation – and ultimately lead other consumers or businesses to purchase from you based on that reputation. Those compliments and recommendations are pure gold… but often just as hard to mine in social media.
Do you want to be engaged with your customers? Yes! The question is: Are people who are engaged actually customers? Maybe not!
I'm not trying to show any disrespect nor take away from the appreciation I have for those of you who participate in my blog. I love comments! Comments are user-generated content that I believe also assists with keeping my pages alive in conversation and on search engines. That indirectly means revenue for me since I can show a albeit direct correlation between the number comments and the number of clicked advertisements.
You're not running a publication, though. You're running a business.
So What Is Engagement?
Engagement is a phone call, a demo request, a registered download, a request for proposal… or an actual purchase. Engagement is any activity that can be directly attributed to the revenue that your online presence is producing.
If your company is going to measure the effectiveness of your blog, you need to calculate the true Return on Marketing Investment:
ROMI = (Conversions * Revenue) / (Total Cost of Manpower + Total Cost of Platform)
Let's rid ourselves of this engagement hocus-pocus and start talking about the real metric of success… how much money is your company making through its digital marketing efforts.
It's really not that difficult. One example is Dell's recent acknowledgment that they've been able to leverage Twitter for over $1,000,000 in revenue!
Measure what counts! If your company is engaged in social media strategies, that's fantastic. Be honest, be transparent, open a path of communication to your prospects (usually searchers) and measure the impact of your hard work… in cash!