Buckle up because I’m about to teach you some things that we were confused about all semester. And by “teach” I mean talk about, because I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on.
When you research the topic of measuring social media success, you get slapped in the face by several terms that involve a little bit of math and lots of frustrated sighing. Conversation, Amplification, Applause.
3 different ways to measure your performance that time you told the world about your soggy burrito.
Emerson math-hate aside, it’s no wonder that we had difficulty calculating these measures. In my quest to understand this topic, I’ve read long paragraphs that literally told me nothing other than: Amplification Rate is a powerful engagement metric to understand your social media performance, and if you don’t use it, you suck!
Other times, I’ve stumbled across formulas (sometimes conflicting formulas) like the following, written by supposed professionals with years of experience in this field:
1. Amplification = Retweets divided by (Tweets+Mentions).
(please note: 1 & 2 are total opposites)
…and if these weren’t confusing enough, so what? What the hell is it good for? What does it mean?
Here we go. This is Social Engagement Metrics, as understood by me and the majority of marketing professionals who write about such things, simplified as much as possible.
Conversation Rate measures the amount of virtual shouting in response to your post. It asks the question, “how much are people talking back?” and nothing more than that. On any social media platform, Conversation Rate is the average number of comments/replies per post.
Conversation = # total Comments / # total Posts
If you have a total of 10 comments and you have posted a total of 2 times, your conversion rate is 5.
Boom. You now know what conversation rate is. Ideally, a high conversation rate means your audience is open to talking with you, giving you positive feedback, constructive criticism, and other good things. But it doesn’t always mean you’re doing it right. Conversation rate doesn’t tell you if the comments are edifying or vapid meme jargon spewed forth from the fingers of a bored ten-year-old troll. But whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, your 14-year-old self’s angsty MCR blog — conversation rate is measured the exact same way.
Amplification Rate measures how much your content is shared by people who are not you. It asks the question, “How often is your content being shared?” For Facebook, it is the number of shares per post. For Twitter, it is the number of Retweets per Tweet. You get the idea. Amplification Rate is the average number re-shares for each original post.
Here’s where it gets a bit messy, number-wise:
Amplification = #total re-shares / #total posts
Amplification = #total re-shares / #total posts *100
See, some people multiply by 100 at the end and some people just don’t. My guess is that if you multiply by 100, you report it as a percentage. (Maybe I’m wrong and I’m just making things up and you should correct me.)
Either way, Amplification rate is designed to help you see how your content can be spread by your followers. If you have 100 followers and they each have 100 followers, you could theoretically reach 10,000 people if each of them shared your post. Because you want your content to be seen by more people, you might consider posting on Sunday night at 9 pm or whenever else people tend to check Facebook the most often.
Applause Rate measures how well your posts are being received. It asks, “How much do people like the stuff you post?” For Facebook, it’s the number of Likes per post. For Twitter, it’s the number of Favorites, and so on and so forth. Applause Rate is the average number of expressions of approval per post.
Applause = #total Likes or Favorites or etc. / #total posts
If you have 20 total Likes and you have posted 8 times, your Applause rate is 2.5.
The point of Applause Rate is simple. What do people like and what do they not like? Maybe you post a lot of long-winded anecdotes and your audience would rather see photos. Maybe your audience just hates inspirational quotes pasted over images of cute kittens. If they like something and want to see more of it, the evidence is in the applause.
Lastly, here’s a super important thing for everyone to understand: You want to divide the TOTAL number of comments/shares/likes by the TOTAL number of posts. Total. Total. Total. This means that, yes, you are supposed to actually count all of the comments or shares or likes you have ever gotten and divide that by all of the posts you have ever made.
And that concludes a crash course in Social Engagement Metrics. Sorry that this was a totally unsexy topic, but I needed to tackle it — before I get into the real world and just nod vaguely whenever people bring it up.
Some discussion points:
– Do you think it’s always necessary to start from the beginning of a social media account’s existence?
– What do you do if you suddenly gain 6000 followers overnight? Is all of your previous data kind of invalid now?
– Why is there so much disagreement over how to calculate these damn things?
Thanks for bearing with me on this adventure of higher learning. If you are more enlightened on this subject than I am, please drop me a message. Thanks y’all and have a great summer.