Social Reach vs. Engagement, which is better?

There is much talk about social reach vs. engagement on Facebook. Although there is something to be said for both as a goal. At a baseSharing level if your main goal is to generate awareness for a product or service then Reach should be your main metric. If Buzz is your main goal then Engagement may be more important. But as with all things in life and business, the base level seldom takes you all the way.

What constitutes worthwhile engagement?

While Likes are nice, they don’t translate into much gain for the brand other than an indicator that you are having some resonance. Comments could be an indicator of engagement but depending on your industry, comments can be filled with customer care issues, spam and just plain pissed off customers. You should do a monthly analysis of your comments to see what percentage of comments are discussing the topic vs. negative sentiment and are off-topic. Shares are arguably the truest indicator of fans liking your post since it requires more of a lift by the fan to Share a post than to simply Like it.

Engagment as a path to Reach

With Facebooks new lockdown on your ability to get reach of even your fan base, your best way to get to fans for less cost is through Social Shares. Of course creating a Shareable post is easier said than done but it should always be a big topic in discussion for any post that does not involve lots of media dollars and a goal of Reach. Important to remember is that Facebook will let “some” of your fans friends see your Share but not all. Just like brands, users have the same restrictions on how many folks will see their posts and shares. That said, shareability should always be something you ask yourself when concepting your message.

Engagement as the main goal

If you want to engage a smaller group of influencers for instance, then overall engagement and type of engagement might be much more important than simple reach.

So which is better?

It’s up to you to determine based upon your overall goal. But here is an approach that might help.

  • Determine if Reach is your main goal. If so, then allocate enough media dollars to reach your goal
  • Even if reach is your goal, consider Sharability of your post. Would YOU share it?
  • If Engagement is your goal, then the “is this sharable” question should be the first one you ask.

What are your thoughts?


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