Improving Performance through Social Media Benchmarking

Darsana Vijay’s Photo

Peter Claridge, Manager Global Marketing at Unmetric
@PeterClaridge

What is benchmarking?

Why do you need benchmarking?

What is social media benchmarking?

Why does your brand need to be cognizant of social media benchmarks?

What is benchmarking?

Why do you need benchmarking?

What is social media benchmarking?

Why does your brand need to be cognizant of social media benchmarks?

What is benchmarking?

Why do you need benchmarking?

What is social media benchmarking?

Why does your brand need to be cognizant of social media benchmarks?

How do you produce reports for benchmarking?

How to make your boss/client care about benchmarking?

Feeding social media benchmarks into strategy

What to look for in a social media benchmarking tool?

Social media benchmarking is key to prove that you are performing better than the competition. However, if your real challenge lies in finding, recognizing and reporting these benchmarks, this article is for you. Beginning with a basic explanation of what are social media benchmarks to how to report ROI through benchmarking, we’ve covered them all. Read on to find out how to outperform competition with social benchmarking.

What is benchmarking?

In the most technical sense, benchmarking is the process of comparing one’s processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other companies. It’s what drives goals in any field – from management to sports. It answers the question – ‘Is what we’re doing good enough?’. That’s because a stand-alone performance is subjective while a comparative study is empirical.

What's the hardest part about social media benchmarking?

What is social media benchmarking?

Benchmarking is essential to contextually recognize the performance of any efforts. In simple terms, to understand how well you are doing, it is important to compare with peers.

You might have received more interactions on a piece of content than normal or more views than ever before on a video you uploaded to YouTube. Before you go ahead and give yourself that proverbial pat on the back, you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “is that good?”. By your own standards it might be good (this is internal benchmarking) but by throwing the net out to cover your direct competitors or even the wider industry, you get a better picture of what ‘good’ is and where you fit on that scale.

Without benchmarking, it is impossible to understand where you stand in the market.

Top level management isn’t simply interested in knowing how your end of season sale performed, they want to know how it did in comparison to “other” brands. If you made more money than the previous year that is obviously good, but if your competitors were able to increase their sales by an even larger percentage it puts your efforts into perspective. Whether it is for reporting or internal assessment, benchmarks are essential to justify any analysis.

What is social media benchmarking?

A social media benchmark is a single metric that averages the performance of all brands in an industry. It acts as a yardstick to gauge your own performance.

The top line performance of a brand’s social media efforts can be measured through a social network’s inbuilt analytics. However, brands and agencies do not have ready access to competitor’s data. Without spending days of effort, there is no way of even approximating how a competitive brand is performing on social media.

To start off, brands need a tool, or a suite of tools, to comprehensively analyze their own performance. Though social networks have started strengthening their analytical capabilities, there are still plenty of limitations with overly simplistic numbers.

Key metrics to be considering for benchmarking include share of voice, mentions, sentiment, campaign performance and factors such as demographics, and influencers to personalize content and get a pulse of your market. Only the more advanced analytical suites can offer these benchmarks.

Once brands have a thorough understanding of their own social media efforts, it’s time to bring competitive intelligence into the picture. Benchmarking social media efforts could get as granular as pitting a specific metric against one particular brand or as broad as comparing overall performance through an industry-wide average.

For example, you can check to see where the engagement score on your Christmas campaign stands when compared to the score of competition’s Christmas campaign. While that benchmarking is very specific, you could also benchmark average overall industry engagement score to understand how your content is performing in comparison.

Benchmarking Engagement Score

From the chart above you see that Carnival Cruise Line is engaging better than the average hospitality brand in North America.

Share voice

However, in summer related conversation, Royal Caribbean International is engaging better than Carnival Cruise Line. If “summer” is a topic the brand is trying to perform better on, they will be able to go in and see the posts of Royal Caribbean and dissect to understand why they are performing better.

Like you’ve seen in the examples above, social media benchmarks can be customized according to geography, industry, brand or even to the a topic level detail.

Metrics to Benchmark

You can start by benchmarking fundamental metrics such as community growth and then graduate to metrics such as frequency of posting, share of voice and customer service. Here is a table that details all metrics that will benefit from benchmarking:

SOCIAL NETWORK METRICS TO BENCHMARK
FACEBOOK Fan growth
Engagement Score
People Talking About
Daily Active Users on App (DAU)
Monthly Active Users on App (MAU)
Brand Participation in User Posts
Admin Participation
Average Reply Time
Campaign Intelligence
TWITTER Follower Growth
Engagement Score
Favorites
Retweets
Tweet Count
Tweet Frequency
Tweet Type Distribution
Mentions
Response Rate
Average Reply Time

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