Social Reach vs Engagement — Which Is More Important? (We Settle The Debate!)

02 August 2021

Metrics matter! We all know that. But being creative and understanding the stats are two different things. Not every content creator understands the number game that goes behind the calculations of metrics like reach, impression, and engagement. On the other hand, for brands metrics are all that matter. But what exactly are these metrics? How important is each one of them? And should you be worried about social media reach or engagement more?

In this blog, let’s take up all these questions one by one and settle this ongoing debate, once and for all.


What Is Social Media Reach? 

Social reach in simple terms means the number of people who see your post. However, don’t confuse it with impressions, which are the number of times the content is viewed. So, one person can create many impressions. Your potential reach as an influencer is the total number of followers you have on a social network. Ideally, all your followers should be able to see your postings, but that’s not how things work on social media. You may have 100,000 followers, but you will reach only a fraction of them with a post. Thanks to algorithms and factors, like frequency or timings of posting. Some of your followers are bound to miss a post from you. 

Also read our blog: Here’s How To Get More Likes On Facebook And Reach Millions.

And: How To Get The Best Reach On Social Media.

How to track it?  

This is an easy one! You know how many people you have reached with your post. And the best part is that you can improve these metrics. All you have to do is study the pattern of your audience behavior – like what time they are active on social media, their geographic location, and then you can time your post accordingly to reach the maximum number of people possible. 

To measure your reach for a post, simply divide the reach by your total number of followers and multiply by 100 to get your post reach percentage.

Graphic showing formula to track social media post reach

Figure 1:  Formula to calculate Influencer ‘Reach’. Source: Hootsuite

But your potential reach could get inflated if your followers share your post within their network.  

If the numbers are not as good as you would like them to be, here’s good read for you: 10 Tactics To Tackle Instagram’s Falling Organic Reach.

What Is Engagement? 

The word engagement gets thrown at us at every other click on social media. But what exactly does it mean? Let’s get to the answer straight. On social media, engagement means any action like “share” or “like” or “comment” or “subscribe” or “follow” or “retweet” by the follower on a post is known as engagement. It is different for different platforms. Simply put, your audiences’ reaction to your post is called engagement. 

As you are already aware that engagement rate determines the influencer’s capacity to generate interaction with their content, so it is very important from a business perspective.

Here’s a bonus read for you: 10 Strategies To Help You Increase Social Media Engagement.

How to track it?

No doubt, knowing your average engagement rate is of ultimate importance for brands, but it holds equal value for you as an influencer. It helps you devise your future course of action since you get to know your audiences’ likes and dislikes by calculating your average engagement rate. 

Here’s how you calculate it: First add up all interaction to your post, which includes all likes, shares, and comments. Then divide this number by your total number of followers and multiply by 100 to get the engagement rate percentage. 

Graphic showing formula to track average engagement rate on social media

Figure 2: Formula to calculate Influencer ‘Engagement’. Source: Hootsuite

What is a good engagement rate for different platforms?

Facebook: Anything above 1% is good.

LinkedIn: Anything around 2% is good.

Twitter: Anything between 0.02% and 0.09% is good.

TikTok: Anything between 3% and 9% is good.

Instagram: Anything between 1% and 5% is good.

Know The Difference Between Social Media Reach And Engagement?  

Figure 3: Difference between reach and engagement.

Now the difference between social reach and engagement is clear. But reach and engagement don’t go hand in hand.  Rarely do higher reach numbers mean a higher engagement rate.

You may be targeting your audience right and you might even be reaching them but getting the audience to interact with the content can be tricky. 

Here are a few points to consider while creating posts to increase your engagement rate:

  • Think from the audiences’ perspective. Don’t try to hard sell your product. Pause and think, what is it that your audience wants to know? Market your product keeping these things in mind and initiate a conversation. 
  • Incorporate things for your audience to actively engage in such as polls and questions for them to answer. 
  • Take out time to interact with your followers and reply to their comments.
  • Use your own voice, make interactions with followers as authentic as possible. 

ROI Impact That Influencers Can Get For Brands

While it can be difficult to directly track RoI from influencer marketing, brands can certainly trace some sales back to you, check your channel performance, such as increases in web or social traffic. Sometimes they also use promo codes to measure RoI.

Although it is still a lot complicated to measure the exact return, businesses have opened to the idea of influencer marketing. You, being the expert in your field, bring in a lot of experience to the table and a considerable fanbase that trusts you and considers your word as the final word. This has changed the advertising industry. Now almost 60% of the brands that target millennials or zoomers prefer to invest in influencer marketing. And we know businessmen never invest in a bad business. Right?

But to honor your side of the deal, as an influencer, you must do everything to keep your audience engaged. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Stay honest and authentic with your audience.
  • Respond to their comments.
  • Engage in conversations, even if it means at others’ posts comment sections.
  • Stay consistent.
  • Keep researching and learning about your niche.  


Our Verdict 

The debate over social reach or engagement, which is more important, seems to have been raging ever since influencer marketing became a thing. Almost everyone involved with the industry has discussed this with their peers, at least once if not more. But consensus still eludes. Why? 

Social reach and engagement, both influence customers at different levels during the buying cycle. You cannot have a good engagement rate if you don’t reach enough people. To have a good reach you must have a sizable number of followers. Once you establish a good fanbase, you need to keep feeding them with good content for the reach to turn into an engagement.

When people start following you, they get to understand you, what you stand for, and what your niche is. You can then use this knowledge to promote a brand, without sounding like a pushy, in-your-face kind of advertisement. And if they value your opinion, they will engage with your post which will generate leads for the brand you are promoting.

Now that this is clear, let’s go back to the problem – Why there’s a lack of consensus over which of the metrics is more important, social reach or engagement. Because there is no right or wrong answer. Both metrics are equally important for different reasons. Social reach and engagement are two pieces of a puzzle. 

Different campaigns with different goals prefer different metrics. Social reach could work wonders for branding and awareness campaigns, but brands that need to generate traffic to their website would want a high engagement rate.


The final word – You can’t complete the puzzle if either of them is missing.

Beyond any doubt, we have proved in this blog that metrics hold huge importance in the world of influencer marketing. You could be on either side of the line, you need to know your numbers right. Understanding all aspects of the trade is important for your growth. But if you are struggling to find a foothold and get connected with the right kind of brands, stop worrying. atisfyre is here to help. Get in touch with our experts by signing up and then they’ll ensure you find the right brand to partner with. 

What are you waiting for? Be the influencer of your dreams with atisfyre!

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