“Reach” and “engagement” are the two main metrics that companies typically track with social media marketing.

But the critical question that most still need to answer is how to optimize their efforts and marketing dollars between these two measurements.

While it is often thought that reach and engagement are equally important, ideal optimization between the two depends on the overall goals of the business. The following piece will explore both metrics, look at their value and discuss how they can best be optimized.
reach and engagementWhat is reach?

Reach is a measure of the range of influence of any content – it is the measurement of how content is spread across various social media channels. At a very basic level, it can be thought of as the number of eyeballs your content is getting. On Facebook, for example, “total reach” is the number of people that have seen your post.

Your post reaches someone when it’s shown in the News Feed. Total reach can be broken down as organic, viral and paid. ‘Organic reach’ is the number of unique people who saw your post on their feed. “Viral reach” is the number of unique people who saw your post from a story published by a friend, while “paid reach” is the number of unique people who saw your post through an ad.
What is engagement?

Engagement measures the actions taken by users on the posts. Continuing with the Facebook example, engagement is measured as the number of times your post is liked, shared or commented on. A highly engaging post leads to increased activity and by definition increased viral reach. Engagement, as expected, is largely driven by the content of posts and the strategy of a company’s marketing teams. It is achieved over time as marketing efforts build a dynamic community where consumers actively share content and stories.

It is extremely critical for companies to focus on engagement, because ultimately your consumers are your best brand ambassadors. Further, with the proliferation of digital advertising, studies have shown that people trust recommendations from friends more than from companies themselves. Hence, engagement becomes a critical component of a successful social media marketing strategy.

So, should you reach? Or should you engage?

Improve engagement

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