Perhaps one of the more elusive concepts related to metrics in the Web 2.0 world is gauging engagement. How do we determine whether people “Like” us enough or not? How do we try and understand whether the buzz being created about our brands is directly leading to higher sales? Of course a profit margin is the bottom-line; however, since customers drive them, are intangible factors like emotions important?
 
The answer to the last question is an unequivocal “yes”.  While they’re difficult to measure and we can’t gain an absolute understanding of all human behavior, we can certainly establish infrastructures that help us navigate these very murky waters. Clearly, a post with a million views is easy to understand – it’s the ones that “lag behind” that need deeper evaluation. Although these metrics differ by campaign, a few fundamentals are the same across the board.
 
 
 
 
How do we measure social engagement online?
 
One of the strongest benchmarks of SM engagement is its Key Performance Indicators. The first step is to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Not sure what they look like? Take, for instance, a mailing list with a set number of subscribers. The first step to analyzing metrics is establishing which ones you need to measure. Open rates, click through rates, conversions, opt-in rates and ROI rates are good starting indicators of performance.  Mashable.com offers a more detailed explanation of establishing and analyzing these numbers with an engagement index. 
 
Some numbers are easier to crunch than others and its no secret that many of us find lengthy formulas tedious and quite daunting. For the mathematically challenged amongst us, keeping track of social engagement can be as simple as tracking the number of responses to a post and running quick reports to see what kind of content tends to draw the most responses. 
Begin with a spreadsheet that tracks the title of the post, the frequency it was posted with and the numbers of responses it generated. You may also want to track qualitative data to gauge how many responses were favorable in your impression or vice-versa. Of course, keeping track of statistics like these might mean developing a 24/7 Social Media team, but that’s a story for a much later time!
 
How have you been measuring your engagement lately?