Marketing requires quantitative, empirical analyses, as individual observations do not allow for general statements. However, the latter are crucial to determine the true performance of a campaign and determine your brand’s success. It is also crucial to thoroughly observe your competitors and understand their positions and strategies. Social media benchmarking helps your brand gain an in-depth understanding of your performance.
What is Social Benchmarking?
Literally, the term “benchmark” means reference value. Therefore, a social media benchmark is a key figure that indicates the performance of a brand and compares its own products, processes, services, strategies, structures, activities or behaviors with those of other companies. The German Business Dictionary defines benchmarking as an instrument of competitive analysis. Moreover, benchmarking can be competitive, functional or internal.
Benchmarking is therefore necessary to see if your efforts are paying off and to learn from “the best” in the industry. For example, if you had a good year and profits were higher than last year, but still behind your competitors – that puts your efforts into perspective.
Hence, metrics to consider are: published posts, follower growth, mentions, engagement, type of content and comments, as well as your audience demographics and influencer collaborations and their key performance indicators (KPIs). But all of these numbers without benchmarking remain just that, content-less numbers. Start comparing your performance to direct competitors and eventually the industry as a whole to see where your brand stands in the marketplace and how it stacks up against the competition. This is important for both internal and external information.
There are several ways to determine the data for a market analysis: For example, you can use the integrated analyses of social networks. These give you an initial overview of your brand’s performance on, for example, Instagram.
Which Statistics Are Interesting for You?
Before you create benchmarks for your brand, consider which social media strategies are most important to your next goals. According to this, the plans for implementation can vary greatly.
Generally, you can check the following data on any social network: Fan growth, engagement rate, daily and monthly active users and average response times. Take a close look at the following list to get an overview of the possible metrics offered by each social media channel:
- Trends (What are people talking about)
- Brand participation in user posts
- Admin participation
- Campaign intelligence
- Number of tweets
- Frequency of tweets
- Tweet type distribution
- Growth rate of channel views
- Subscriber growth rate
- Video uploads
- Duration of video
- Growth of Pins
- Growth of Re-pins
- Growth of Likes
- Growth of comments
- Engagement score
- Frequency of posting updates
- Frequency of posts
- Frequency of story and reel views
To ensure that the benchmarking process remains feasible and, above all, economical, you should define phases and processes. Assign resource requirements to each phase based on duration and effort, and plan in detail for all areas of the business. A benchmarking cycle of six to twelve months can serve as orientation.
There are also four types of benchmarks, which we would now like to introduce to you in more detail.
Four Types of Benchmarks
1. Aspirational Benchmarking
Dream big or go home is the motto here. What do you want to achieve with your brand? Sit down with your team and brainstorm first. Later, you can research: What are the metrics of leading companies in the industry? For this, feel free to take a look at the Fortune 500, the Inc 5000, or the Forbes 100 best small businesses. Among other things, you can also read the European Commission’s economic forecast.
It also makes sense to regularly check the latest social media studies, as they often analyze large companies and large samples for their statistics. Kolsquare also regularly publishes studies on topics related to the industry, which they can download for free. For example, learn more about the forecasts and trends for influencer marketing in 2022.
2. Trended benchmarking
Contrary to common expectations with the word trend, this is not about industry trends. Instead, you look at your brand’s history and set standards and goals based on that.
User profiles and statistics can be particularly helpful here. Who is following you? Find out as much as you can about your target audience and then define your trending benchmarks. To do so, as previously mentioned, use the analytics of the respective platforms and understand the impressions.
Additionally, put them in relation to the total number of followers you have and your average follower. Can you spot any anomalies? For example, a flatlay for your product works less well than a mention in the story. The numbers you calculate here will serve as a basis for future goals.
3. Earned Benchmarking
Now this type refers specifically to campaigns and promotions outside of your standard content. Again, a comparison to past performance and earnings is appropriate. These become the benchmark for upcoming campaigns.
Posts or content that are shared regularly are particularly suitable for creating such standardized forecasts. This could be, for example, an inspiring quote in the form of a post or the repeated reference to your web store. But not only your own campaign archive can be helpful here, learn from others as well.
4. Competitive Benchmarking
Now you create benchmarks based on the performance of your direct competitors. To do this, you first need to know which brands you are directly competing with for users’ attention. Which companies are better and which are worse than you? Which influencers are hustling in that niche of the market?
Some key names and competitors you may know off the top of your head, others you need to research. Gather all the data you can on this, but be encouraged and inspired by these statistics rather than morose about the successes of others. On Facebook, for example, this gives you the opportunity as a page administrator to monitor other pages and see their statistics.