Engagement and Tone: Intermediate Measures

Engagement and Tone - Social Media - Engagement

Reach is a one-way, quantitative measure of passive interaction, which helps to measure the size of the social media audience, without measuring feedback.  Social media 'engagement' is an indicator that measures the extent to which followers interact with (take action on) the event specific content they find on social media and can be measured by cumulating data from the various social media platforms.  For example:

  • Total likes on Facebook
  • Total likes on Instagram/Google+
  • Total retweets and favorites on Twitter (shares on Facebook)
  • Total pins on Pinterest
  • Total comments on Facebook
  • Comments and views on YouTube

Measuring engagement performance on specific social networks allows event organisers to understand which channels are performing well and can identify areas for development. The tracking of engagement rates over specific timeframes is essential in trying to understand whether the content being produced is delivering an event's objectives effectively. 

Engagement and Tone - Social Media - Other Measures

Using hashtags (#) is a useful way to measure aggregate content because they are recognized across multiple platforms (Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) which make monitoring engagement much easier as people interact with an event under a specific hashtag.  Instead of finding individual pieces of content on different social networks, an event can use a specific hashtag to collect tweets, pins and pictures to show collectively.  By aggregating in this way it is be possible to undertake some analysis on the tone of interactions which will provide another level of detail. 

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Evaluation1 included a social media analysis as an appendix which is available here and revealed the following key points.

  • Approximately 1,200 tweets were sent out via the @London2012Fest account resulting in 42,000 followers
  • There were over 20,000 retweets of @London2012Fest content.
  • The number of engaged followers actively promoting Festival through their own social media activity was approximately 4,000
  • 85% of tweets using #London2012 conveyed a positive tone during Games time
  • Over 500 creative and cultural organizations were made visible via #London2012Festival.  

As suggested in the London 2012 example it is possible to evaluate the tone of the social media messages, either by commissioning media evaluation consultants to undertake the analysis or by using some of the more sophisticated web analytics packages available online.  In some of these tools it is possible to devise and customize dashboards that will meet the social media monitoring needs of the average event.  In some cases customised, real-time dashboards from Google Analytics can provide an immediate overview of key metrics; for example, page views within the last minute or 30 minutes if something major happened to occur at an event.


Although not referenced in the text, the following report on the music industry provides some useful insight into the industry and the use of social media within it.


In addition the evaluation of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme provides a useful section on media evaluation including social media and hashtags.