What Counts as a Social Engagement?

by Quietly Team

What Counts as a Social Engagement?

Remember that video you liked on Facebook yesterday? Or the salad recipe you saved on Pinterest? Each of those actions counted as a “social engagement”, essentially giving the person who originally posted the content a “gold star” for having posted engaging or shareable content. Brands often monitor their social engagements across social media—but what types of interactions count?

What Is a Social Engagement?

A social engagement is commonly accepted as any interaction where a person engages with a piece of content on social media.

Social engagements include reactions, shares, and comments, including:

  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter’s “Like” reaction
  • Facebook’s other reactions, including “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, and “Angry”
  • Google’s “+1” button
  • Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn’s “Share” function
  • Twitter’s “Retweet”, as well as Retweets with comments, or modified tweets on Twitter
  • Pinterest’s “Save” and “Tried It” buttons
  • Comments on any social platform, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and more

At Quietly, we track social engagements across channels by summing up the total reactions and comments on Facebook, in addition to the total number of shares across Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. We also assess the popularity of content and the benefit of spending advertising dollars on social media to generate meaningful social engagements.

What Doesn’t Count as a Social Engagement

You now know what does count as social engagement—but what doesn’t count?

  • If a user clicks on a link shared in a post on social media, but doesn’t comment, share, or give a reaction, this is not considered a social engagement.
  • A social engagement isn’t counted if a user engages in “dark social”: sharing content in a direct message, email, or even offline, such as printing and distributing an article. Dark social makes up 84% of all social sharing, and all of it is untraceable, meaning the vast majority of social shares are not actually counted when measuring total social engagements.

But don’t let this scare you out of promoting or sharing your own content on social media. The remaining social shares that are counted towards social engagements are a great representative sample of how your content is actually shared across channels.

The Bottom Line

Social engagements such as reactions, comments, and shares allow you to track how users on social media interact with your content. “Dark social,” such as direct shares through messaging platforms or email, do not count towards social engagements. Although there are plenty of “dark shares”, the remaining shares we are able to track help you understand what content resonates with users, and which platform it performs best on.

Wondering if you’re measuring your social engagements right? Give us a call at Quietly.  We can help you track your reactions and comments, and use them to make your content even better.

Photo: Shutterstock / Jakraphong Photography

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