Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

February 2, 2010

It’s About Engagement You Idiot

Filed under: Main — Ryan Jones @ 5:03 pm

engagement ring

Last month I talked about why having 1000 twitter followers doesn’t make you a social media guru. I got some great feedback, but one of the questions somebody asked me was “Ok, if it’s not about followers, what is it about?”
My reaction was nothing more than a facepalm.

It’s not about followers you idiot, it’s about engagement!

I can’t believe more social media mavens haven’t figured it out yet. (and yes, Nick I still think maven is feminine)

I’m going to let you all in on a little social media secret: It’s not about how many followers you have or even rating those followers; it’s about how you and your followers engage. It’s such a simple concept, but very few people actually understand it.

In fact, most people who are currently classified as “social media gurus” fall into one of the following categories:

1. They don’t engage at all. A good example here is your favorite band on facebook or Twitter. How often do they actually respond to fans or leave comments on their own posts? Most don’t. Some (I remember having a convo with Adam Duritz ) do, but in general most bands simply leave Twitter and Facebook to their PR teams or labels.

2. They only engage other A-listers. I’m not going to call people out here, but just go look at your favorite celebrity’s tweets. Most of them are only to other celebrities. This thing goes on a LOT in the SEO community too – where many A-list SEO people only reply to each other.

3. They treat their twitter and facebook like a press release. This is what happens when legal gets involved or marketing and PR end up supervising a social media person. Believe it or not customers DO want to year your PR pitches, but they want to hear them from an actual person – not a faceless corporate entity.

Then there’s category 4 – the people who actually understand engagement and get it right. There’s tons of these people out there, but they don’t go around calling themselves gurus.

See, followers are useless unless they actually click on links, respond to questions, and generally give a shit about what you’re saying. Go ahead, try asking a question on Twitter and see how many people answer you. You may be surprised.

Ok, that’s great, but how do I measure engagement?

I’m glad you asked. Forrester breaks the measurement of engagement down into 4 categories: Involvement, Interaction, Intimacy, and Influence.

This model is a bit different from the current “Earned, Bought, Owned” one being thrown around, but I find it much more useful. EBO is great for measuring where you’re spending your social media efforts but it comes up lacking in the measurement department.

So what is IIII?

Involvement refers to the standard metrics I’ve been discounting in my last few blog posts. Put simply, involvement measures presence. Things like Followers, RSS subscribers, Friends, etc fall into this category. As I’ve been saying before though, they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

Interaction refers to actions that people take. Things like @replies, blog or video comments all fall into this category.

Intimacy is nothing more than a measure of a person’s affection. Retweets, Thumbs up, Diggs, Sphinns, Shouts, and Votes all fall into this category.

Influence is just what it says. It’s the likelihood of somebody advocating you or your brand. Retweets, reviews, and suggestions are great ways to measure this.

That’s how to measure engagement, and that’s why social media is more than just followers.

To extend my previous analogy: Your huge follower-related e-penis may give you great influence, but you can’t can’t achieve intimacy with a giant e-penis alone. Interaction and Involvement are where your e-penis can make the biggest (giggle) impact.

1 Comment

  1. Haha, thanks for the pingback, even if you’re calling me a girl 🙂

    Great post, and from what I’ve observed so far, it seems like you really practice what you preach. Glad we’ve made the acquaintance.

    – The internet’s #1 Male Maven

    Comment by Nick Roshon — February 2, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

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