How to Measure Engagement

One of the big debates in my industry (internet marketing and social media) is how to calculate the ROI of things like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The problem is, everyone’s talking and no one’s paying attention.

Dollar for dollar, you CANNOT measure the ROI of these tactics.

There. I said it. Now, after the shock wears off, let me explain.

Say┬áI see a tweet for a local restaurant, but don’t rush out to patronize it that week. However, three months down the road I happen to be in that area. I have a choice of several restaurants, but remembering that tweet, I elect to eat at that one. How do you measure that? I probably won’t tell the waitress that I’m there because of a three-month old tweet.

Marketing online is less about cut and dry marketing=sales, and more about engagement. How much are people engaged in what you’re doing?

  • Are they commenting on your Facebook Page frequently (and for that matter, are you?)?
  • Do they retweet your comments on Twitter?
  • Do people follow you on Twitter and Like your Facebook Page?
  • Are they commenting on your blog posts? Sharing them?
  • Are they telling others about your business? (this is the big one)

It’s hard to engage people when you just tweet promotional links. You have to provide something useful. That could be links to articles and blog posts (even when they’re not yours), providing free advice and generally trying to be helpful.

There are companies that have developed complex systems to tell you what the return on engagement is. But my guess is you can figure it out if people are paying attention to you online and telling others about you. The sales will follow.