Engagement Ladder

Engagement Ladder

There’s a figure that gets quoted about engagement; 1, 9, 90. Which is a ratio representation of engagement.  For everyone person who contributes content, 9 might like it and 90 will see it. It’s a little simplistic, and there are more forms of engagement now so it’s helpful to think of the engagement ladder.

Engagement Ladder

Starting from the lowest rung of the ladder

Seen / Read

How many people saw your image, watched your video, read your content. This is the lowest level of engagement as it requires the least amount of effort from your visitor. It’s roughly equivalent to reach, although you might want to consider how much of your content was viewed or read.

It doesn’t tell you much about the person’s attitude to your brand, or their likelihood to purchase. We’ve all read stuff we don’t agree with, sometimes because we don’t agree with it. To compare this to a classic sales funnel it’s at least awareness.

Liked / Facebook Reaction

The next rung on the engagement ladder is a like, a G+, a Facebook reaction. It’s low commitment, a one click easy reaction, Facebook reactions tell you a more. Personally I’m pretty quick to like posts on Facebook or Instagram, much less likely to do so on Twitter.  As likes are visible to others this level of engagement does indicate that the visitor has a possible interest in your brand – but be careful. Facebook rates all reactions the same, but a thousand “angry” reactions won’t translate to sales for your company.

Commented

The third rung is comments, or reactions to your posts. If you’re posting on social issues, as Banana Republic did in the screenshot below, you’re likely to attract a lot of comments.

It takes more effort to comment on a post, positive comments are a public endorsement of your brand. It’s going to take some effort on your part to analyse the comments, or to parse the sentiment analysis provided by social listening tools.

facebook comments

Shared

If a person shares a post, retweets, embeds your video, they’re increasing your reach as your content is now (potentially) reaching a new audience.  They’ve also added your brand to their online reputation, this doesn’t map easily to a step in the sales process, but sits between evaluation and decision. They’ve added your company to a mental list for possible future purchases.

CTA

Some of your content might included a specific Call To Action, or CTA. For many companies this is exactly how they sign up more customers or subscribers, you can see some examples of great CTAs in this article from HubSpot. (And I’ve just shared content from a brand I have never been a customer of, but I’m aware of them, and they remain a potential supplier if I’m ever in a purchase decision for their services in the future).

Your CTA might be a subscribe, follow, download, or purchase option.

Created Content

The ultimate brand accolade, when users generate their own content related to your brand. But it’s a tricky area, with brands needing to pay attention to copyright and privacy issues.

Spotify have taken the step of using the real titles of subscribers’ lists in their own ads, it’s a campaign strategy that is infinite since their users will always be creating new lists. It resonates with their audience really well – seeing your own list picked up for an ad is cool, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

When your customers take the step of creating content around your brand and sharing it you can bet you’ve got the ultimate level of engagement.

Image: Ladder | Rich Bowen  |  CC BY 2.0

Employee Engagement

 

 

 

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is often cited as a contributing factor to improved company results, and Kevin Kruse defines it as;

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

Engaged employees will go to extra lengths to do their job and serve the business and the customers. Kruse cites examples of people choosing to work overtime without being asked because the work needed to be finished. Essentially they’ll care for the company and its customers.

What’s in it for employees?

If you’re engaged at work you feel pride in your work, in the company you work for, a loyalty to the company. You’re likely to have more intrinsic motivation; a sense of purpose, a willingness to take responsibility, and a desire to learn.

What’s in it for companies?

Engaged employees are seen to be more productive, more service oriented, and better for the profits of the company. It’s so important to companies that they put considerable, and growing effort, into measuring engagement year on year. There is criticism on how it’s measured, but large companies still find value in measuring it.

What do the cynics say?

It’s a term that is an easy target of cynics, some label it as a new name for employee satisfaction, or teamwork. Others consider it a measure of window dressing to make the company look good. It’s often connected to “manager speak” as in this brilliant Dilbert cartoon.

Can you have too much employee engagement?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic points to a dark side of employee engagement, reminding readers that engagement is a means to an end – companies pursue it for the productivity results. He also points out that it’s dangerous to expect higher performance to automatically come from higher engagement, managers should instead focus on developing performance at a higher level.

So much for the company perspective, what about for individuals? I believe that in some cases burnout is the direct result of excessive employee engagement. I’ve seen more than one highly professional, highly motivated, engaged employee take on levels of responsibility beyond their capacity, when the company failed to notice – and failed to support them – burnout was the awful outcome.

Can companies build employee engagement?

A friend whose work in internal communications I admire has suggested that engagement is something intrinsic to the person and not dependent on the company. I think there’s some truth in that but I’m not quite so pessimistic. I think you can destroy engagement or you can build it up.

I would like to see a change in how we talk about engagement, the conversation now centres on expectations on the employee and benefits to a company.

Instead I propose that we recognise that the contract between an employee and a company is about the exchange of money for skills and time. That agreement must be a fair exchange. Beyond that it’s up to a company to earn the engagement of all employees by how they treat their staff.

So next time people talk about “building employee engagement”, suggest a switch to “earning employee engagement” and go on from there. It’s a one word change but the approach is completely different.

image happy

Engagement on an Enterprise Social Network

We’ve implemented an Enterprise Social Network, we’ve solved a mass of connectivity issues, so everyone can access the site. We know that 80-90% of employees have visited the site at least once, which is great news. Our challenge now is how to really engage people on the platform.

At a recent event I asked what engagement meant; we talk about it a lot, but I wanted a simple, recognisable definition we could use. It’s definitely more than happy employees.

If I look towards Human Resources research on employee engagement definitions like “an “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests.” Which sounds great in theory – but not easy to apply to a social media platform, and not easily measured.

Marketers looking at online transactions talk about engagement as something akin to process completion. Here’s one definition; “The amount of key processes completed during a visitor’s lifetime prioritized and analyzed across the site as a whole or within pre-defined segments.” It makes sense for marketers who may have a pre-defined outcome in mind but it won’t fit an Enterprise Social Network.

In our discussion on Tuesday one of the participants came up with a definition that is easy to understand, easy to spot, and relatively easy to measure.

Engagement on an enterprise social network = people helping each other.

It’s simple, it reflects the vision we had when building Buzz (our Enterprise Social Network) that it would facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration, and it’s something everyone can recognise. In fact our participants are way ahead of us, they’ve created a hashtag #buzzworks, applied when they see someone being helped on the platform.

 

What Should You Count?

One of the trickier subjects in discussing social media is measurement. Everyone agrees it must be done, no-one’s very sure of the best way to do it.

I think it’s accepted wisdom that “likes” or “followers” is not a useful measurement. It’s a very easy action for a visitor to make – it is just a click – so it doesn’t tell you very much about the visitor’s sentiment. It’s also risky in that focussing only on likes would lead to a company taking a short term approach to social media and building campaigns that generated likes but ultimately destroying value.

So companies look for other measures;

  • visitor engagement – comments, content shared, content submitted
  • business goal – ideally social media is connected to a business goal; eg; are the calls to call centres reduced by webcare? has the customer perception of the brand changed?

But I think in some cases measuring fans (to use an older term) is a measure of engagement.

I was listening to KLM’s Director of Corporate Communications and Media, Joyce Veekman, at a conference last week and she said that one of their goals is to reach 2 million Facebook likes this year. They reached 1 million in January of this year, and created a cute thank you video, at the time of the presentation the talley stood at 1349086.

KLM have tried stuff in social media for a while, but became very active when the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull closed airports and stranded visitors across Europe. That was the moment the KLM management “got it” and started supporting the use of social media. Since then they’ve developed a 24/7 approach to their webcare, built a following on facebook, experimented with pinterest and developed innovative campaigns – such as their “meet and seat” programme.

In KLM’s case I suspect the depth and richness of their social media is earning them “likes” and “follows”, and the steady growth in those figures is a reflection of engagement.

I need to add here that “likes” is not the only measurement KLM uses, and it’s not their only goal in their social media activities. They have other business goals related to customer service and brand perception with appropriate measure systems in place. “Likes” is just one measurement – and it’s an easy and visible measure of their progress.

Postscript; KLM’s total number of likes on Facebook now stands at 1360329, a growth of more than 11k in four days.