How to Manage Customer Engagement on Social Media

Bhavya Aggarwal

February 12, 202411 min read

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Let’s say you’re managing social media for a large brand. Your day would typically start with a cup of coffee (of course!) and a quick scan of your company's social media accounts.

When you log in, you’re usually hit with a flood of notifications — comments, likes, shares and more importantly, messages from customers. The sheer volume of notifications may make devoting time to engage in genuine conversations with customers challenging, especially when you have a dozen other social media tasks to deal with. However, every interaction is a great opportunity to turn a customer into a lifelong fan and in the process bolster your brand’s online presence.

Since there’s clearly a lot riding on customer engagement on social media, it’s essential to understand how to manage, improve and measure it to ensure your brand successfully builds trust and credibility with its audience.

Table of Contents

What is customer engagement on social media?

Customer engagement on social media is a two-way interaction between businesses and their customers on social media platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, etc.

When customers like your posts, comment on them, share them or even message you directly, they engage with you. It's their way of showing interest in your brand and what you have to say. And when you engage back by replying to them promptly and addressing all their concerns, they will continue to do business with you.

Customer engagement on social media takes several forms: 

  • Likes: When followers hit the famous blue thumbs-up button (or the red heart button for that matter), they’re showing their appreciation for your content. Think of it as a virtual nod of approval.

  • Comments: Followers engage on a deeper level when they share their thoughts on your posts via comments, as it takes more effort than just liking a post. 

  • Shares: If users find your post valuable enough to inform others about it, they “share” it with their connections, helping spread the word about your brand.

  • Direct messages (DMs): Customers will send you a direct message when they have questions, feedback or if they need help with something.

  • Mentions: Users often tag your brand’s social media account when they discuss your brand in their posts.

  • Click-throughs: When prospects click on a link contained in a post, it's a tell-tale sign that they're interested in learning more about what your brand has to offer.

  • Brand hashtags: Users use your brand's hashtags in their posts to show their solidarity with your brand.

  • Video views: The number of users who’ve taken the time to watch the videos you share on your social pages.

  • Follows/subscriber count: When users hit that follow button or subscribe to your page, they’re signing up to learn more about your brand.

  • Sales/repeat purchases: Customer engagement also includes instances when someone purchases your product or returns to make another purchase through your social media channels.

Deep Dive: Customer engagement models: A detailed guide

Don’t confuse customer engagement with customer interaction

On social media, terms such as "engagement" and "interaction" might seem similar, but they mean different things. Businesses that don't understand this difference usually just interact with their audience.

Engagement is about building a deeper connection with your customers. It's like having a real conversation where both sides are talking. On the flip side, interactions are just actions taken on your posts. It's more of a one-way street.

Let’s say a customer posts something positive about your brand. If you simply like or reshare it, that’s just an interaction. It’s a way of acknowledging but not connecting.

However, if you like and reshare their post with a message from your brand, thanking them or adding some thoughts, that's customer engagement. You're not just acknowledging but also connecting, appreciating their effort and potentially starting a conversation.

An example of how Starbucks engages with its customers reposting their tweets.

Engagement can foster a community and demonstrate that your brand cares. On the other hand, interactions merely boost visibility. They spread the word but hardly nurture any relationships. 

But the question remains! Why is it important to engage? Let’s understand.

Why is it important to engage with customers on social media?

To answer “why,” we first need to understand the “what.” Yes, what happens when you engage with customers on social media? Well, it catches the eye of something called social media algorithms.

Social media algorithms are computer programs built with AI and machine learning to manage the goings-on of social media beyond the control of the general public. They are programmed to decide what to show on your feed, whose content gets promoted, what to recommend a user to watch and what not to. They also ensure what’s legal and ethical to show online and what could be insensitive to the general public. They, sometimes, hide such content with a “viewer discretion is advised” message.

These social media algorithms ensure everyone gets a fair chance to share their views and that good content gets the attention it deserves. In the context of your business, when your customers engage with your posts and you engage back with them, algorithms get a hint that people like your brand and its content.

It then recommends your brand page and your posts, whether videos, images or products, to more people who share similar interests with your target audience. It does this by showcasing more of your posts on their social media walls a.k.a. feeds.

Instagram's explanation of how their algorithm promotes content based on user engagement.


That was the tech side of things. Now let’s look at the simple, everyday benefits of engaging with your customers online: 

1. Build trust: When you talk to your customers online, primarily when you address them by their names or reference their comments, it shows there's a person behind the brand and not a bot just sending automated replies. This personal touch makes customers feel valued and understood, building trust.

Watch on Demand: The Human Touch: How personalised experiences can drive business growth

2. Get relevant feedback: Your customers are your best critics. Engaging with them helps you gather valuable feedback to improve your products or services. For instance, if you launch a new product and promote it on social media, the comments section could be filled with valuable insights from customers sharing what they liked or what could be improved.

3. Improve customer retention and keep your audience loyal: When customers see that you value their input and respond to their comments or concerns, they are more likely to stay loyal to your brand. While other brands might also engage with their audience, the sincerity and promptness in your responses can set you apart.

4. Create brand advocates: Happy customers help spread the word about your brand and their positive interactions with your brand can attract new customers. For example, if a satisfied customer shares their positive experience with your brand on social media and tags you, their friends and followers will likely check out your brand. In fact, almost 80% of consumers make buying decisions based on a friend’s social media post. 

Interesting Read: How to Turn Your Customers Into a Community of Brand Advocates

How to measure social media customer engagement

Now that you know it’s important to engage with customers on social media, it's crucial to understand how you can measure it on some of the popular social media platforms. 


Facebook provides a range of metrics such as likes, comments, shares and reviews on your page, allowing you to gauge your customer engagement. The various engagement metrics on Facebook help you understand how your content resonates with your audience.

Leverage Meta’s audience insights to measure customer engagement on Facebook.


Meta's Audience Insights provides a deeper understanding of your audience's behavior and preferences. It offers data on social media demographics, page likes, location and activity, which can be leveraged to tailor your content for better engagement. Utilize the information regarding when your audience is online and what posts they engage with most to optimize your social media posting schedule and content strategy. 


On Instagram, apart from likes and comments, story interactions hold a notable place in measuring engagement. The direct interactions on stories often provide a more personal engagement metric.

Leverage Instagram insights to measure customer engagement on Instagram.

Instagram Insights lets you view data like interactions, profile visits and post impressions. Utilize the “Content Interactions” feature to see how many actions were taken on your posts and stories. This will help you gauge the impact of your content and then improvise accordingly. 

X (formerly Twitter)

X’s engagement can be measured through social media metrics like retweets, replies and mentions, often leading to broader discussions and increased brand visibility on the platform.

Leverage X Analytics to measure customer engagement on the platform.


Twitter analytics provides metrics like tweet impressions, profile visits, engagements and mentions. Visit the “Activity dashboard" to measure the engagement and effectiveness of your tweets; this will aid in content strategy optimization.


LinkedIn has a professional audience and here, engagement metrics like shares and follower growth have a significant impact on your brand's perception in the industry.

Leverage LinkedIn’s creator analytics to measure customer engagement on LinkedIn.


LinkedIn's “Creator Analytics” provides insights into post-performance, follower demographics and engagement metrics. Use the “Updates” tab to see how your posts are performing and who is engaging with them so that you can measure and tailor your content to your audience. Heads up! You might need LinkedIn's premium account to get full access to LinkedIn's analytics features.

Related Read: How to measure social media engagement effectively

5 tips to increase customer engagement on social media

Once you know how to measure your customer engagement levels, it’s time to boost them with the following innovative strategies:

1. Personalize your customer interactions

When you tailor your responses or content to each customer on social media, they start looking up to your brand. In addition, personalization makes them feel unique and more connected to your brand, nudging them to shop more and even give your brand a shout-out on their social networks.  

A neat example is Netflix. It often has personal banter with its followers on X. Each time they engage with its posts, or tag it, Netflix engages them back impressively.

A friendly exchange between Netflix and a social media user on X (formerly Twitter).

💡 Pro Tip: Try using the customer's name in your responses. It's a simple gesture but one that goes a long way in making the interaction feel personal and not robotic.

Read More: Social media messaging: How to get it right? 

2. Host virtual roundtables or Q&A sessions

Hosting live Q&A or virtual roundtables on social media can stir the pot. It gets people talking, not just to you but with each other too. It's like throwing a little party on your social media platforms, inviting everyone to chime in.

Take a leaf out of Adobe’s book; it often hosts live sessions on Instagram where it dives into creative processes and guess what: people love it!

Adobe-s live hostings for customer engagement

💡 Pro Tip: Keep a fun, engaging host to moderate these sessions. Someone knowledgeable about keeping the conversation lively and inclusive can make all the difference. 

Related Read: How to kickstart your social media collaboration 

3. Create user-generated content (UGC) challenges

Throwing a social media challenge or contest your customers' way is like inviting them to a creative playground. They get to have fun, show off their skills and buzz about your brand all at once. When they create and share content related to your brand, it doesn’t just translate to better engagement but results in more UGC that you can leverage in your marketing activities.

Just look at how the #InMyDenim challenge took off on TikTok, courtesy of Guess. It got people flaunting their Guess denims in style!

Guess In My Denim Challenge

💡 Pro Tip: Keep the challenge fun but simple. You want to whip up excitement, not confusion.

Recommended Read: How to leverage user-generated content to drive engagement & conversions on social media 

4. Launch sustainability or social responsibility campaigns

When you show that your brand stands for more than just profits, it catches people’s attention. Launching campaigns on your brand’s social media pages that highlight its commitment to sustainability or social responsibility isn’t just good ethics; it’s good engagement, too.

Take Ben and Jerry’s, for instance; its campaigns on climate change and racial issues not only sparked meaningful discussions but also resonated deeply with the audience.

💡 Pro Tip: Show the real you in your campaigns. Customers can sniff out insincerity from a mile away. Competitive benchmarking tools with modern capabilities to identify top-performing content and industry trends can also help you ace this tip.

Competitive benchmarking tools help identify top-performing content of competitors.

5. Stay responsive and consistent

Your customers value a quick reply. It shows you’re there for them and you’re listening to their grievances. But hey, you got to be smart about it. Schedule your posts when your audience is most active and maintain a consistent candence to your posting through a social media content calendar

It’s not just about being there; it’s about being there at the right time, every time. It’s like hosting a radio show; your listeners tune in at a specific time, so make sure you’re on air. And when they buzz in, answer the call. It’s a simple but solid step toward keeping the engagement ball rolling on your social media.  

💡 Pro Tip: Use scheduling tools to plan your posts but watch for user comments and messages. A timely response is considered gold in the social media world.

Must Read: 3 effective ways to improve customer engagement on social media 

To sum it up

Bill Gates once said, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Engaging with your customers on social media helps you learn from them. It might feel like juggling at first, but once you get the hang of it, the benefits are plenty. 

Whether it's making your interactions personal or always being there to respond, engaging on social media can build a community that values not just what you sell, but what significance you have as a brand in their lives.  

Keep engaging, make the most of emerging tools to handle your social engagement and you'll see the positive impact spread far and wide.

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