The Evolution of Brand Engagement in the Age of Social Media

June 14, 2024

brand engagement social media

    Alexander Shatov on Unsplash


When technological innovations and cultural shifts occur, they create a ripple effect on current market trends and, ultimately, businesses. Having to constantly adapt and reinvent brand engagement practices to capture this change can be a confusing task. With social media redefining current rules with public relations agency-level strategies, staying updated is not just a necessity, but a sure way to maintain business relevance, ensure a competitive edge, and increase your profits.

Here’s your crash course to keep you up to speed with brand engagement in the age of social media, so that your brand stays afloat and ahead.

Importance Of Brand Engagement In Marketing

First, why consider brand engagement?

Authentic and effective brand engagement enables your business to build a connection with your customers. You can achieve this by crafting tailored, interactive experiences that only your brand can deliver; an experience that instills trust and nurtures a deep attachment.

Consistent brand-related engagement efforts have been known to be instrumental in increasing sales and revenue, strengthening brand recognition, improving customer lifetime value (CLV), and ensuring sustainable business growth over time.

The Evolution Of Brand Engagement

So how has brand engagement changed through the years?

Before the rise of the internet, brand engagement practices primarily relied on traditional scattershot methods like print advertising, TV commercials, and direct mail campaigns. These methods were well-established, but they also had limitations including one-way communication, narrow targeting, and a lack of data and analytics to measure any success.

But we’re in the digital age now!

Social media platforms are transforming the brand engagement game into a cost-effective strategy composed of two-way communication, heavily personalized target audiences, and real-time analytics.

Knowing your roots, so to speak, can help you identify what strategies work best for your business. Remember that some businesses still thrive using traditional engagement strategies coupled with digital ones!

Strategies For Brand Engagement On Social Media

Let’s get into a common but crucial strategy for any business in the digital age: content marketing.

Content marketing is a multifaceted, powerful strategy for brand engagement on social media, offering a diverse mix of content formats, featuring:

  • Blog Posts - enable businesses to share valuable, informative, and engaging content with their audience. At the boom of the internet, long-form content or blogs were king. Think back to those food blogs that had those long anecdotes before the actual recipe. Not only were they laden with information – they were also emotionally charged to get the audience to engage by dropping comments, asking questions, and more.
  • Infographics - any visual representation of information that simplifies concepts into fun, bite-sized, engaging social media posts. These static posts can contain anything from straightforward information to a humorous retelling of info nuggets. Your creativity is your only limit!
  • Video Content - a shareable method to tell compelling stories, demonstrate products, and provide tutorials or educational content. This content format is also the most engaging to date.
  • Influencer Marketing - partnering with influential individuals within a specific niche or industry to promote a brand or product. A modern take on ambassadorship, influencer marketing hinges on the success of a representative talking about your brand. It will help to have a brand and messaging guide handy when collaborating with them!
  • User-Generated Content (UGC) - another modern marketing strategy, UGC refers to reviews, testimonials, and photos created or shared by customers. These are often expected to be real, raw reviews.
  • Social Media Contests and Giveaways - this content type typically gets high engagement when done right. It also helps businesses increase reach and awareness by encouraging users to participate and share content within their networks.
  • Real-Time Engagement and Customer Service - while this should be more of a solid pillar in your strategy than a passing thing, excellent customer service is a highly effective marketing and engagement tool. It enables brands to address customer inquiries, concerns, and feedback – allowing you to interact with your audiences real-time so you can adjust and optimize fast.

Measuring Brand Engagement On Social Media

Analytics function as a compass, guiding businesses toward data-informed decisions to improve engagement and performance. Pay attention to how your strategies work (or don’t work!) so you can adjust accordingly.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) For Social Media

  • Reach - the number of unique users who have viewed a particular post or piece of content.
  • Engagement - the total number of interactions (e.g., likes, comments, shares) with a post or piece of content.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) - the percentage of users who click on a link within a post or piece of content.
  • Conversion rate - the percentage of users who take a desired action (e.g., making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter) after interacting with a post or piece of content.

Determine your strategy so you can also determine which of these KPIs fit your goals best. It is also possible for different parts of your engagement campaign to need different KPIs to measure success best, so take time to hunker down and think about what indicator will be most beneficial. Reach or engagement may not be relevant to other business but monumental to others. At the same time, CTR and conversion rate may only be secondary to a start-up that needs awareness measured by reach first.

Tools And Technologies For Tracking Engagement

  • Native platform analytics – most social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools for businesses to strategically track engagement and performance. For instance, Facebook and Instagram have the Meta Business Suite and Business Manager. TikTok has the Business Center. These are invaluable tools to help you up your marketing, engagement, and analytics game online! Take the time to study these ecosystems and tools so that you can maximize them as you create engaging content.
  • Third-party analytics tools - platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer also offer advanced analytics and reporting features for businesses to monitor and refine their business strategies. While some of the best third-party tools are paid, consider this a worthy investment for the future of your business.
Again, pick and choose the tools that are best for your business’ needs and goals. Many brands and creators find the native analytics platforms to be enough, but you may find your business has unique needs!

Challenges in Brand Engagement on Social Media

Of course, brand engagement in the digital age isn’t without its challenges. We’re all still learning – consistently keeping up with the ever-changing digital landscape.

  1. Navigating algorithm changes - social media algorithms frequently undergo updates, which can impact the visibility and reach of your brand’s content. Stay proactive! Be sure to quickly adapt your content and engagement strategies to ensure sustainable, optimal performance.
  2. Dealing with negative feedback - unfavorable commentary or feedback on social media presents a double-edged sword. While it can harm brand reputation and produce negative user-generated engagement, a proactive and empathetic response can turn these crises into opportunities for improvement. Just make sure your apology or acknowledgement is sincere!
  3. Maintaining authenticity and trust - prioritize being seen as ‘real’, authentic, trustworthy, and genuine. Do this through any point of interaction with your audience. A good way is to address concerns transparently and honestly.
  4. Ethical considerations and social responsibility - consumers are more vigilant than ever. Businesses should be just as careful, too. Tread issues related to data privacy, user consent, and social and environmental impact with utmost care and responsibility.
Brand engagement and the future

Some future trends you might see in brand engagement include:

● Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies - these are increasingly being used in brand engagement strategies, enabling businesses to:

○ Personalize content and recommendations based on user behavior and preferences.

○ Automate customer service interactions, reducing response times and improving customer satisfaction.

○ Analyze large datasets to identify trends, insights, and opportunities for improvement.

● Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies - these offer new opportunities for businesses to create immersive and interactive brand experiences, enabling users to engage with products and services in innovative ways.

There are still more things to look forward to in the realm of brand engagement. In the same way it has evolved significantly over the years – with the rise of social media platforms, transforming businesses’ method of interaction with customers through the development of relevant and timely strategies – so, too, will it continue to change. The shift is evidently far from over. Brands that embrace emerging technologies, ethical considerations, and proven strategies will be the ones to maintain relevance, improve performance, and ensure long-term success.