Social media is evolving, and one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition is to benchmark it. Comparing yourself to something else is a tried and true way to spot differences which, in the long run, can help improve your brand. But what is benchmarking, exactly? We’ll run you through the basics below and leave you with some insider tips!

Benchmarking Defined

Chances are that you’re already benchmarking in some form or another, even if you don’t realize it. Are you constantly looking up other brands’ social media profiles to see what their current Facebook ads or their latest Instagram posts look like? Or maybe you regularly keep track of similar brands’ quarterly reports, be it fiscal summaries or web statistics. These are all basic cornerstones of benchmarking habits that every company should establish and continue to do.

Benchmarking is defined as follows: comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests as well as the leading practices of other companies

With that, social media benchmarking is the comparison of your social media data to that of your competitors. Comparisons can literally involve anything, so when it comes to benchmarking you need to be selective or else you risk losing focus amidst an overwhelming amount of data. Target a handful of your own KPIs—key performance indicators—and use those as focal points for comparing your social media metrics with your competition. But before you even get that far, one of the most important things you need to do is choose who you’ll be benchmarking alongside your own brand.

Select Competitors to Analyze

The whole point of benchmarking is to retrieve worthwhile insights from your competitors so that improvements upon your own efforts can be made. In the case of social media, there is a wealth of available data which can be accessed with the proper means—the public and digital nature of social media makes benchmarking an obviously advantageous endeavor. Most brands these days are on the social network trinity which consists of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (there are other apps that definitely yield useful information in their own right—Yelp and Snapchat come to mind—but those are radial benchmarking opportunities that should be explored later).

For now, focus on the three main social media platforms mentioned above!

Selecting which companies to line up against as you devise your social media benchmarks might seem like an easy task, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you rush in and absent-mindedly choose the top two or three companies in your industry:

  1. Pick brands whose businesses closely resemble your own.
  2. Make sure those companies are on the same social media networks as you are.
  3. Create several comparison groups based on different factors—company size, product suite, service locations, etc.

benchmark your competition

For evident reasons, the businesses you focus on for your benchmarking venture should be similar to your own. If you choose companies that don’t have much in common with your brand, the data you collect won’t be as relevant. Granted social media allows for a certain margin of industry overlap, you still want to extract data that makes sense for your own business so it’s best to avoid wasting benchmarking resources on selections which are too broad. Making sure that these brands are mostly on the same social media platforms that you operate on is important too; you’re doing social media benchmarking, after all. It wouldn’t make much sense to compare your company’s Twitter habits to a competitor who has zero presence on the platform!

A good rule of thumb for social media benchmarking: pick companies who are active on at least two of the same social networks which you are active on

One of the best things about benchmarking in general is that you can perform multiple comparisons across different focal points, so why not run several benchmarking reports at the same time? After starting with several likely brands for your first comparison, come up with a few additional brands which also fit your overall social media aspirations and sort them into categorized groups. Run the data and try to uncover any other statistical narratives you might’ve missed out on otherwise. The more you benchmark, the better.

Rethink Your KPIs

You’re going to be tempted to benchmark for social media, using your existing key performance indicators, and that actually isn’t a bad place to start. Approaching anything with a marketing mindset is a smart thing to do, but you’ll probably want to adjust when it comes to social media benchmarking. Indicators like turnover / revenue or leads may not smoothly transition into your social media benchmark process, but these things are integral to determining which KPIs you’ll be targeting once you scale down from the bigger picture. Engagement metrics such as likes and shares can go a long way in figuring out how you’ll turn your social media reach into conversions, so pay attention to each social interaction signal!

A Benchmarking Tool Worth the Hype

Remember when we said that social media supplies us with important data that can be accessed via the proper means? Our analytics dashboard is precisely that: Storyclash Insights does all the heavy lifting so that you don’t have to spend valuable time researching every strand of your competitors’ social media data sets.

Just designate your competition, pick from a host of different categories, and filter each report according to varying time durations (from 15 minutes to 1 month) and we’ll do the rest in real-time. This is powerful social media tracking at your fingertips, allowing you to analyze your competitors with just a few clicks in order to make data-driven decisions based on indispensable benchmarking reports. Try Storyclash for your benchmarking needs—you’ll be satisfied with what you extract from our tool, especially if you utilize it to get ahead of the pack!

Convince yourself of Storyclash Insights and watch in real time, which pages perform best (no registration required)!

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