It is an established fact that, no matter what your business, your company needs a social media presence. The new buzzword that has been floating around social media marketing it the term “benchmarking.” What does this mean? This is really a cycle of collecting information and then acting on that information. This is a cycle that needs to be repeated to ensure you’re taking the appropriate actions to make sure that you succeed. How does this apply to social media?
First, you need to figure out what it is you want to track and on what platform. Number of interactions on Facebook, for example. The next step is to pick someone (this can be a person, a company, or a brand) who is the same field to compare your stats to. Once you get all this data, you analyze your performance on social media and the performance of your competitors then you collect as much data as you possibly can. When you’re done with the analysis, your company will be able to create new strategies and tweak existing ones. After you implement those changes, you start the process all over again.
Now that you know the basic formula to successful benchmarking, let’s dive a bit deeper and discuss the different types of benchmarking:
This can be a very useful method, if applied correctly. Aspirational benchmarking is exactly as it sounds, looking to leader in social media for goal-setting. This method can be very discouraging if you don’t set realistic goals. If you just opened a clothing brand, you can’t expect to see the same social media interaction as Marc Jacobs. What you should do is watch and see what they do effectively and try to mimic their tactics.
This version of benchmarking is comparing yourself to yourself. What worked for you in the past and what didn’t? Why did it succeed or fail? This is the easiest method because it can be done on pretty much every metric and on every platform. Just as in life, you need to learn from your past to succeed in the future. If you keep everything the same but don’t see any results, you need to re-evaluate your strategy.
This is very similar to Trended Benchmarking in that you are comparing your past performances to your current ones. However, with this method you focus specifically on paid campaigns, not just social media activity in general. When you are paying to run a campaign, it’s important to set standards like, strategy, tactics, and goals for that campaign.
This is probably the most useful form of benchmarking. This is when you compare your social media performance to your direct competitors. Benchmarking against your competition can give you great insight about your audience expects from people in your industry. Defining your competitors and figuring out you status in the marketplace is the first (and very vital) step. If you choose brands at random you will not be able to get the insights you need to grow your brand’s social media presence. The second (and just as vital) step is to focus on comparable figures like engagement rates, as opposed to total engagements because these can be skewed by the size of their fan-base (Facebook followers, Twitter followers, etc.)
There is no perfect fit for every company. You will have to play around and feel out what works for you. You could do a combo of a few of these methods in order to find the best outcome. Do you have a preferred method? Leave your tips in the comments below!