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Published November 9th 2023

Social Media Benchmarking: Why You Need to Benchmark Your Social Media Activity

To improve your social strategy by understanding what’s working and what’s not, you’re going to need a benchmarking solution.

Businesses need to know how they stack up against their competitors, and the same applies to their social media efforts. The latter has spearheaded the digital divide, and its impact has caused impressive industry growth.

Every social engagement platform deserves care, efficient monitoring, and a fine-tuned approach. Your brand needs to adopt a data-driven approach to social media to see where you stand in the market as well.

Social media benchmarking has the potential to solve problems and take the edge off from challenges. A lot of modern and innovative companies have taken advantage of such engagement metrics and experienced remarkable industry growth.

If you’re considering using a social media platform—or, if you’re new to social media benchmarks and hungry for further information, you probably have a few questions.

Let’s go through them together.

Why are social media benchmarking solutions important?

It would be unfair to say that social media is rapidly expanding. It has expanded and is now mainstream. Businesses that fail to capitalize on social media as a marketing channel will be considered insignificant and, potentially, even left out.

But you probably knew that, right?

Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate with one another and do business, and it certainly has become vital for establishing close relationships with your customers.

It’s not just millennials and Gen Z who use social media. Every age group is on social media these days, and a variety of topics are grown within its confines. With such an existing dynamic present, interesting and powerful solutions are sure to be made available in the market.

While social media is a promising marketing component all by its lonesome, understanding its impacts is vital. The world’s best social media practices can’t be “eyeballed”. They require intensive data, study, and interpretation.

Fortune 500 companies have learned to adapt and are creating a differentiated, powerful social media strategy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram which requires attention to detail and a firm grasp on platform dynamics.

What should you be aiming for with social media benchmarking?

Social media benchmarking is the best way to add context to your social media numbers. Certain social media goals (say, for example, brand awareness) cannot be readily quantified with a monetary value. In such cases, benchmarking can be used to gauge the non-monetary return you are receiving from your social media investment.

Here are three benchmarking approaches that can add context to your social metrics.

1. Aspirational benchmarking

Aspirational benchmarking is all about thinking big. With this approach, you’ll want to look at metrics from industry leaders or companies that you deem highly admirable (think Fortune 500 or Inc 5000). Alternatively, you could focus on smaller companies that you find particularly impressive, such as those on the Forbes Small Giants list.

Where can you find social media metrics for these companies? Fortunately, there are numerous studies that use data from top organizations, providing a glimpse into their performance stats. Google Scholar is a great way to keep up with the latest studies, which can aid in your benchmarking efforts.

2. Earned benchmarking

This second method is specifically focused on paid promotion. If you had previously performed a social media audit, you would know which are your best-performing ad campaigns and which aren’t. Once you identify your strongest campaigns, you can then use those metrics as benchmarks going forward.

For example, suppose your audit revealed that your top-performing Facebook campaign received a 3% CTR—but your average CTR for the channel is 0.7%. In this scenario, we could set a goal to bring the average CTR (overall) closer to 3%. Or, conversely, suppose you’re very satisfied with your overall CTR, which sits at 2%. You could then set 2% as the standard CTR you wish to maintain as you scale your budgets.

3. Competitive benchmarking

This approach is similar to aspirational benchmarking in that you’ll be comparing yourself to other companies (or influencers). The difference here is that you’ll want to select the most direct competitors within your niche. You probably already know your main competitors off the top of your head. 

Facebook Insights makes it easy to pull high-level data on other business pages. With the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature, you can see another page’s weekly engagement stats, new page likes, and other metrics at a glance. On other platforms (like Twitter and Instagram), you can manually check your competitors’ follower counts, likes, and comments to get a read on their engagement levels.

These three benchmarking techniques will help you frame your social media performance stats within a meaningful context. There’s no need to choose just one approach. Rather, you can implement all three—which will provide you with different perspectives.

And, once you’ve established your benchmarks, you’ll have a clearer understanding of both where you stand and where you’d like to be.

What social media statistics—exactly—should be benchmarked?

This is an important question.

“What” is the right word here. Different social media platforms meet different goals — and you may not need to benchmark every metric under the sun. However, there are data points that are relevant to most industries, and they’re incredibly useful for social media analysts who crave benchmarks to understand their performance.

Let’s say you’ve posted an image of a cat dressed as baby Yoda on various social media platforms.

Now, the replies, retweets, likes, comments, and shares you’ve received for that image will be called your Engagement.

Social Media Reach, on the other hand, refers to the number of users who have come across that image on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.

Impressions are the total number of times the image has been shown to users on different social media platforms.

Retention marks your page’s ability to keep “return visitors” for more such hilarious images and videos.

Additionally, expansive statistics, like trends, earned promotions, competition, and social leader engagement can be recorded through social media benchmarking solutions, further increasing an analyst’s grasp on their social impact.

The above benchmarks are incredibly useful for brand optimization, too, as they depict a product or service’s total visibility and outreach. Social media benchmarking, in essence, is a dynamic market survey, one that is constantly updating and can help guide your strategy.

Stats such as growth rate, community size, fan engagement and posting volume can all be benchmarked against close competitors and the industry average. Tools like Benchmark allow you to compare your own key metrics against those of your competitors to see where you stand in the industry.

For example, in this dashboard, you can see how Nike compares against other sportswear brands in aggregated social media performance across Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Monitoring the share of voice stands as a pivotal benchmark in assessing your social media impact. This metric evaluates your brand's visibility compared to your competitors, offering valuable insights into your industry presence and dominance. By benchmarking your share of voice, you gauge not only the level of engagement your content generates, but also the quantity of content published in contrast to competitors. This analysis provides a clear view of your relative market share, enabling you to pinpoint growth opportunities and distinguish your brand within the industry.

Lastly, brands should consider their content mix as an important social media benchmark. It’s important that brands use a versatile approach, incorporating various content formats in their posts to differentiate themselves from their competitors. With the help of Benchmark, you can assess the content mix of your competitors. Let’s say your competitors invest heavily in images, but are neglecting carousels and videos, you can use that insight to inform your content strategy and set your brand apart from the competition.

How can I use a social media benchmark solution to optimize a campaign?

Good question.

Regardless of products or services, campaign optimization is important for increasing customer retention, product availability, and price balancing. Social media benchmarking solutions help companies know where they stand based on how much effort they put into a campaign and compare key metrics to competing companies.

With a tool like Benchmark, you can track the campaigns of each brand via words, phrases, or hashtags. By examining the keywords utilized in your competitors' campaigns, you can uncover valuable insights. Analyzing the performance of these specific keywords allows you to assess the level of engagement, likes, and comments generated by their campaigns, providing a comprehensive view of their effectiveness.

This dashboard shows the engagement of Nike’s #JustDoIt campaign across Facebook, Instagram and X over a period of 3 months and benchmarks it against the previous 3-month period. This helps brands understand the performance of their campaigns and derive insights from the spikes and dips in post engagement. 

Do I need a social media benchmarking solution?

Again, every product, and every service, is different.

In general, however, deciding to benchmark your social media campaign should be based on the campaign’s baseline. In other words, what are you hoping to get out of the campaign, and is it something that can be tracked on social media? When implementing a benchmarking solution, consider your baseline’s needed measurement through the following questions:

  • What is my campaign’s goal?
  • How can I determine my activities’ impacts?
  • How can I increase sales leads?
  • What is my landing page’s current traffic?
  • How much does exposure affect sales?

In essence, social media benchmarking is a powerful addition to a business’s classic, quantitative methods. It defines new strategies based upon beginning goals. Your project’s scale should always be defined by company needs, first. Once these needs have been established, restraints, scale, and expansion tactics should follow suit to owned resources.

Keeping up with trends

Understandably, decision-makers constantly consider new trends, old choices, and innovative strategies. If you’re implementing a new metrics analysis solution— or, if you’re considering using social media for its powerful outreach, keeping up with trends is important.

Your target audience, your presence, your results, and your retention are invaluable platform mechanics, and maintaining a firm grasp upon social media statistics ensures continuous understanding, growth, and success.

By maintaining a firm grasp of the data being generated from your multiple online communities, your strategies can become refined and optimized as you look for incremental improvement on your benchmarks and the benchmarks of your industry.

Final thoughts

Ultimately you want to rise above the competition and see what your competitors are doing and learn from their successes, innovations, and mistakes.

To Improve your social strategy by understanding what’s working and what’s not, you’re going to need a benchmarking solution.

Our benchmarking solution can help your team make real-time decisions by comparing, benchmarking, and analyzing your social performance.

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