Engagement Is Not Just a Metric You Measure

It’s the heart & soul of everything you do

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]E[/su_dropcap]NGAGEMENT IS A sneaky issue. On the one hand we hear it’s important, and in fact even more important than just “followers”, but on the other hand it’s very hard to measure. Still, “Engagement” has become one of the standard KPIs on every marketing strategy or plan today.

Everyone wants marketing managers to be able to demonstrate “engagement”, show it on the charts, measure and report it.

So what is Engagement and how do you measure it? Is it the comments you get? The views? The shares and likes? Is it the sentiment (and how on earth can an algorithm, smart as it may be, actually differ between “positive”, “negative” and “neutral” sentiment???) – too many questions and too many answers.

SOCIAL-ELINORI’d like to offer a slightly different point of view. Engagement is not something you measure for your reports to the management. It is the heart and soul, the actual goal, of everything you do.

If you think in terms of engagement when you plan not only your strategy, but in your entire value proposition (your product or service and your added value), then you will find yourself doing thing differently.

For example: If you’re a marketing director of a company and you are planning the company’s online presence strategy with Engagement as a KPI, you will usually want to count incoming leads and blog comments/shares. You will probably plan social media channels based on your gut feeling, or what “everybody else does” and you will probably think that you can always change/expand later if needed.

The questions you will likely be asking yourself are:

  • What does the company make/develop?
  • Who’s the target audience?
  • Who’s the end customer (usually you will think it is the same as the target audience)
  • Who’s most likely to contact the company?

However, if you plan everything for Engagement as an approach or state of mind and not just a measurable KPI, you will probably think first of:

  • Why does the company do what it does?
  • Why would anyone need / want the company’s product?
  • Why would anyone recommend the company’s product to others?
  • Who would you be talking to – who is the company creating products for?
  • Who is most likely to connect (on an emotional and cognitive level) with the values the company stands for?
  • Who is most likely to appreciate the expertise that the company shares?

These questions and the order in which you ask and answer them, affect the entire strategy. They may change the structure of content and the type of content on the website. They will almost definitely change the list of social media channels you will want to open and operate. They will change how you present and represent the company in the words that you choose, the images you depict and the content you create.

Adopting Engagement as a state of mind will take your content (and therefore your image and branding) from a “dry” and informative to rich and valuable.

If this sounds a bit philosophical, that’s because it is. You can’t really measure engagement or sentiments, but you can feel them. Allow yourself to truly feel what others need, want, like and adapt accordingly. Engagement will follow.


Elinor Cohen
Elinor Cohen
ELINOR is an Engagement Strategist (a combo of Community Management, Content Marketing, Online Marketing and Social PR), dedicated to helping brands grow, evolve and engage. Focused on the Human aspect of anything and everything around us and remembering that all business is done with and between people, She works with brands to help them evolve and transition from the narrow B2B or B2C approaches to the broader B2P. Elinor also trains Executives in Social Media and Personal branding and the future generation of Engagement Strategists. She is currently operating from the world’s innovation hub – Israel, the Start-up nation – working globally with clients from around the world.

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  1. Elinor, thanks for an insightful article about engagement.

    Too much effort is spent trying to get employees to be engaged.
    Employee engagement is what employers get in return for doing all things well.
    Doing all things well is very hard work for most of us.

    Employees’ lack of engagement starts with the CEO.
    CEOs hire the managers.
    Managers hire the employees.
    Employees don’t hire themselves.

    When there are disengaged or problem employees we need not look beyond managers and executives.
    * Too many employees are in the wrong jobs, i.e., management errors.
    * Too many managers are in the wrong jobs, i.e., executive errors.
    * Too many executives are in the wrong jobs, i.e., CEO errors.
    * Too many managers and executives Reward A hoping for B.
    * Poorly behaving employees are tolerated, i.e., management errors.
    * Poorly behaving managers are tolerated, i.e., executive errors.
    * Poorly behaving executives are tolerated, i.e., CEO errors.
    In other words, we get who we hire and who we promote.

    It is far easier to change our own behaviors than to change other people’s behaviors and changing our own behaviors is nearly impossible for most of us without wanting to change and without help. Telling and insisting that others change is a fools errand and is a cause of employee disengagement.