In my understanding, I think that instead of going by just the number of fans, followers, friends, a company has, it would be practical and logical to understand their level of participation.
Just to give you an example, if we are going to find out the success of Starbucks’s the Betacup challenge, we can see how many have read/viewed/tweeted/bloged about it – first level of participation, and how many have become registered members and reviewed others ideas, (this denotes a higher level of participation), and how many have actually proposed new ideas (obviously, a higher level of participation).
I think this reinforces a great point: You should think about not only the different types of participation and engagement you want around your social media efforts, but also, how you prioritize and link those activities.
For example, let’s say you are using the list in the graphic above to prioritize the levels of engagement you want on your company blog. Sharing the blog posts would be lower than commenting on them. But if you knew from examining your analytics that people that share one of your posts on a social site were far more likely to subscribe to the blog (which is a higher priority than commenting), then perhaps you would want to encourage sharing, since it would lead to the higher-priority activity of subscribing to the blog.
Also, how can you encourage a visitor to engage in a more ‘valuable’ activity to you? How can you convert a reader into a subscriber, or a commenter, into a buyer? By prioritizing the level of possible engagement activities associated your blog, you can get a better sense of how each activity relates to your ultimate goal for the blog.
Does this help? Have you made a list of which types of activities you want your readers to take on your blog, and how each ties back to your company’s blogging goals? Please leave a comment, or if you would rather, email me your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.