The four types of social media engagement

There’s more to measuring engagement on social media than just counting likes and shares. Depending on your goals, you likely want to aim for one of four different types of engagement. Different posts encourage different behaviors, and you’ve probably find that certain types of content generate certain types of engagement. So, what types of engagement can you expect across social media? And which ones are most important to measure?


Acknowledgment engagement reacts to your content. It’s a like, a favorite, a reaction. Someone has noticed your post and appreciated it for some reason. Maybe they want to save it for later, maybe they want to let you know they saw it, maybe they want to express agreement. This kind of engagement is nice and shouldn’t be underestimated, but it is the easiest type of engagement to give. It requires very little effort, conveys very little public connection to the content or brand, and asks for very little in response.


Association engagement interacts with your content. It’s a reply, a comment, a mention, a follow. When someone responds to one of your posts, they’re publicly associating with you and your brand. Something you posted spurred a reaction strong enough to elicit a real response – not just a like or thumbs up, but something with words! This is higher-quality engagement than a simple acknowledgement. It requires more effort and more commitment than a simple like.


Amplification engagement spreads your content. It’s a retweet, a share, a reblog. This is the holy grail of social media engagement – if you can get someone to spread your content to their audience, you’ve done something very right. Not only does it increase your social reach and expose your content to a new audience, but amplification indicates that someone likes your content so much they’re willing to publicly show that in front of the audience they’ve worked so hard to build. This is a huge compliment and tremendously valuable.


Action engagement moves beyond your content. It’s a click through to your website. For most of us, this is the ultimate goal with social media – to move our social audience to another location where they can do something of higher value. That could be anything from reading a blog post, signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, or even – can you imagine – buying something. It turns social into action, and connects your social activity to the rest of your marketing efforts.

So what kind of engagement should you measure?

Simple – all of them. All engagement is important and furthers your social goals in some way. Each type of engagement represents an important action someone took the time to do, and that’s worth noting. Depending on your goals, you may pay more attention to one type than another, and this will change over time. For example, if you’re trying to collect feedback, association engagement will be more valuable than the other types, because you’re analyzing replies and comments to better understand an issue. And if you’re just getting started, you might not have the quality content you need to get amplification engagement, but every single like feels like a million bucks.

So focus on what makes most sense for your brand and your social accounts. Pay attention to the kind of content that drives different types of engagement so you can post more of what’s working for your goals.

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