You can evaluate your success on social media by using a few different tactics. One of the questions that I like to ask when evaluating the success of a social strategy is, “how engaged is my community?” The more engagement that you see across your social channels, the better you’re telling your story to an audience that has chosen to opt in to your brand message by simply clicking “follow.” 

Whether your audience consists of 1,000 or 1 million followers, looking at the numbers and quality of engagement is a sure-tell sign of your performance. As humans, we like beautiful images and are attracted to messages that evoke an emotion. We crave a connection that is achieved when we can relate to someone else’s story or when we can confidently partake in a conversation about something that we care about. If you’re sharing an engaging brand story, then you will see the results appear as likes, comments, and shares.

Likes are the most common and simplest form of an engagement. It takes less than a second to give a like. There are 4.5 billion likes generated daily on Facebook and over 1 billion likes given out a day on Instagram. Yet, many users are still selective when it comes to dishing out their likes. If your content doesn’t speak to them, they’ll pass right by it without a single thought.

A comment takes more effort and serves as a more valuable measuring tool for engagement. If a user chooses to leave a comment on your post, this means that they are truly consuming your content and listening to your message. The comment could be a compliment, a question, tagging of a friend, a conversation starter, or a negative response (learn how to manage negative comments here). Each of these comments deserves your acknowledgment and response. Once you start getting more comments, you may find yourself responding only to the questions, negative comments, and conversation starters - and that’s okay. As long as you continue to stay active, your community will continue to build a relationship with you.

A share on social media is the most valuable component when evaluating your social engagement. If a user chooses to share a post that you’ve made, this means that they are all in. They agree with your message and have enough confidence in it to share it with their own friends and followers. This is the the jackpot for a brand partaking in social media. 

Think about a manager at a corporate office. The manager is responsible for keeping “the machine” well oiled and running efficiently. They are expected to have an open-door to any employee that feels the need to voice their concerns, frustrations, suggestions, hopes, and desires. Not only are they expected to be available when an employee may need them, but as a manager, they are also expected to be proactive and lead by example. Community management is a combination of these very same attributes. By choosing to feature your brand on multiple channels, you’re opening up a method of communication between brand and customer that didn’t previously exist. Customers expect immediacy in response time to questions that they ask and they’re thrilled by positive engagement from a brand. You will receive complaints on Twitter and product questions in the inbox of your Facebook page. You’ll run into pricing question on your Instagram feed and random selfies to your Snapchat. Nothing should surprise you.

One of the things that I see happening far too often of brands on social media is communication with only the “influential” followers. Take for example your tagged photos on Instagram. Often times brands will comment and thank only the users with thousands of followers and choose to neglect the customer with under 100 followers. The effort that both of these users have put into taking, sharing, and tagging their photo is comparable and you should thank each of them by liking and/or commenting on their image. 

Managing your social communities isn’t a 9-5 job. Social media never sleeps (and users are often even more engaged in the evening and wee hours of the night). You want to be present when your fans are present and you certainly don’t want to keep them waiting more than 12 hours for a response to a question. You should continue sharing content and engaging with your communities outside of office walls and dedicated work hours. 

Community management is a vital component in keeping your social channels alive. The secret to maintaining an engaged community is being consistently both proactive and responsive across all of your social channels.