Beyond the Likes: A Data-Driven Approach to Social Media Success

Social media has become an indispensable tool for brands to connect with their audiences and build relationships. Traditionally, engagement metrics like likes, comments, shares, and video views have been used to gauge the success of a brand’s social media content. However, this approach has its limitations. How do you know if your social media strategy is actually working? While traditional engagement metrics like likes, comments, and shares offer a basic gauge of engagement, they often fail to paint the full picture. 

The Problem with Traditional Engagement Metrics 

While high engagement is generally desirable, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Not all engagement is created equal. Negative reactions, like “angry” Facebook emojis or critical comments, can mask the true impact of a post. In fact, high engagement driven by negativity can be detrimental to a brand’s image. 

Imagine this: your brand posts a seemingly innocuous image on Facebook. The post explodes, racking up thousands of likes and comments. But as you delve deeper, you discover a storm brewing in the comments section. Angry users are criticizing your brand’s practices, sharing negative experiences, and even calling for a boycott. 

I once worked with a large financial brand on its content strategy plan. This brand was unfortunately the frequent target of negative campaigns. We were working with a paid media agency at the time, and the agency reported that the content promoted that month had earned high engagement and exceeded its media objectives. However, when looked deeper we identified that 92% of the engagement metrics had nothing to do with the quality of content. A campaign had been launched against the brand, and its social media channels had been targeted. Users flooded the brand’s social media channels with critical comments on the brand post we were analyzing. Media objectives were technically met, but the recommendation to publish similar content in the future was not the right recommendation. The true story was not being told and focusing solely on engagement numbers failed to capture this crucial nuance. 

The bottom line is that high engagement doesn’t necessarily equate to positive reception. It’s equally important to consider the sentiment behind the engagement to understand its true impact. 

To address these limitations, brands must look beyond simple metrics. Is The Answer has worked with brands in creating an engagement scoring system to more accurately measure the quality of its content. Brands should consider the following when analyzing the success of its content: 

  • Positive Reactions: Likes, hearts, and other positive reactions carry a positive weight, contributing to the overall score. 
  • Negative Reactions: Angry faces, dislikes, and other negative reactions carry a negative weight, reducing the overall score. 
  • Positive Comments: Constructive feedback, compliments, and positive discussions contribute to the score. 
  • Negative Comments: Hate speech, insults, and complaints detract from the score. 
  • Shares: Shares are considered positive but receive a higher weight if accompanied by positive comments. 
  • Video Views: Video views are weighted based on completion rate and engagement within the video. 
  • Brand Mentions: Track mentions across social media to gauge overall brand sentiment. 

Developing Your Engagement Score 

The specific weighting of each factor in the scoring system will depend on your brand’s unique goals and target audience. By assigning weights to different types of engagement, you will see a more nuanced picture of how audiences are truly responding to your content and more accurately measure the success of your objectives and goals. This allows brands to distinguish between “empty” engagement and engagement that indicates genuine interest and positive sentiment. 

Benefits of an Engagement Scoring System 

  • Accurately measure success: The system provides a more accurate measure of your content’s success by considering both quantity and quality of engagement. 
  • Identify areas for improvement: By analyzing the specific types of engagement your content receives, you can identify areas for improvement and tailor your strategy accordingly. 
  • Benchmark against competitors: You can use the system to compare your performance against competitors and identify best practices. 
  • Make informed decisions: The data-driven insights provided by the system can help you make informed decisions about your social media strategy. 

The traditional metrics of likes, comments, and shares are no longer sufficient to measure the true success of social media content. By implementing an engagement scoring system that considers both positive and negative interactions, brands can gain a deeper understanding of their online presence and make informed decisions that drive meaningful engagement and build stronger relationships with their audiences. 

Remember, social media success is not just about generating noise; it’s about generating positive noise. Looking at engagement as more than just metrics empowers brands to achieve this by measuring what truly matters: genuine engagement that leads to brand love and advocacy.

Are you ready to move beyond traditional metrics and unlock the true potential of your social media content? Get in touch and we’ll help you develop your own custom engagement scoring system.

Learn more about Unlocking the Power of Sentiment Analysis in the CPG or FMCG Sector.

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