Wondering how to improve your social media performance?
A competitive analysis against top competitors might help you.
I know that conducting competitive benchmarks can be overwhelming.
It requires some analytics skills, statistics, and you need to have an intimate knowledge of the industry.
Today I'm going to share with you how to create social media benchmarks for your brand and business, what metrics you need to include based on your social media needs and how to choose the story for your analysis.
Let's dive in!
A complete guide to social media benchmarks
Table of contents
Social media benchmarking guide: how to set goals and measure kpis
3.1. Analyze your social media needs carefully
3.2. Choose the viewpoint of the story you'd like to share
3.3. Decide on metrics: what are good social media metric benchmarks?
3.4. Decide on social media networks to analyze
3.5. Write down actionable insights for your industry
3.6. Create a presentation that indicates key metrics
Before jumping into the competitor analysis per se, let me define what's benchmarking.
As the guys from Kune Creative noted: "A benchmark is a comparison to the standard. It allows us to weigh the performance of an action by comparing it to a previous accomplishment."
Social media benchmark simply means comparing your process and performance metrics to industry best practices.
The primary goal of social media benchmark is to answer two crucial questions:
- How is our social media strategy performing?
- What can we do to improve our performance?
It acts as a yardstick and allows businesses to gauge their performance.
Benchmarking is essential because it allows you to measure your performance and compare it with your competitors or the overall industry performance.
In fact, without benchmarking, it is tough for businesses to know where they stand their respective niches.
Performing a quarterly or yearly benchmarking helps you:
- Improve your content strategy that resonates with your target audience. You and your competitors share the same buyer persona, and a social media competitive analysis helps you identify the areas that need improvement.
- Uncover your competitors' strategy on social media networks.
- Get better at budget planning.
- Stay up to date with the latest industry trends.
Here are six steps we are using them to create reports and social media analyses.
For a more well-rounded picture, the first two steps are strategic ones, while the next ones have to do with your benchmarking execution.
Check it out⇣
The first thing that you need to do as a social media manager is to determine the main reason why you need to conduct social media competitive analysis.
Before you start measuring performance, it is essential to know exactly what you are measuring.
That is why it is important to carefully analyze your social media needs before you begin the process.
This process can only be successful if you correctly identify the missing piece from your puzzle.
For example, do you want to perform a content analysis? Or do you want to understand the engagement rates from your industry?
Collecting data and analyzing the stats help you perform the right actions on social media.
For instance, when we analyzed all these industries on social media, we looked into over 22 million posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter from 35 industries and created a comparison between the social media performance of 2019 and 2020.
Our need was to define which social media channel is the king of social engagement and where brands should invest (more) budget next year.
To understand the potential of each industry on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you need to take a look at the average engagement rates per post.
As you can see in this chart, in 2020, Instagram is on top of the list: a post on Instagram scores an average engagement rate per post of 1.16%, while Facebook and Twitter have a much lower rate: 0.26% and 0.06%.
Working in marketing requires to wear more hats, and the storyteller's hat is mandatory for every job description.
The viewpoint of the story can be: objective and subjective.
Objective viewpoint is used when you relate the facts but avoid showing emotion towards those facts.
Subjective viewpoint includes thoughts and emotions about the aspects you are describing or explaining in your storytelling.
Your viewpoint is the precise way you choose to tell your story.
The aspect that you choose should be inline with your business goals and future projections:
- how personal do you want your messages to be?
- is your audience more interested in the factual aspect of your message, or do they need a more emotional connection to your brand values?
Once you have correctly identified your social media needs, the next step that you need to do is to identify what social media channels should be included in the social media benchmarking process.
You need to analyze the social media networks where your target audience is active.
It is also important to analyze the social media networks that your competitors use to reach out to their audience because you are all targeting the same audience.
This way, you'll know exactly what they are doing right that you are not. Don't waste your time with a network that doesn't provide value to your business.
Let's say you're managing the social media presence for the health industry and your competitors aren't on Pinterest.
You could exclude this platform from your analysis unless you're launching a new product which is matching with the Pinterest audience.
You need to identify which stats matter most to your social media strategy. The social benchmarking that you're thinking about doing depends on your business goals. For instance, do you want to analyze industry-specific metrics or general metrics?
Some of the key metrics to consider for a competitive analysis:
- total engagement
- average engagement
- reach/ impressions
- growth fans/followers
- post types distribution
- posting frequency
Start with benchmarking important metrics like community growth, then progress metrics like the frequency of posting or types of posts.
We asked hundreds of professionals what they consider to be the most important social media metrics. Here's the ranking:
- Engagement Rate per Post - 5 (61.4% of answers)
- Likes & Comments - 5 (48.7% of answers)
- Total Reach - 5 (43.7% of answers)
- Page/ Fans growth - 5 (42.4% of answers)
- Reach Rate per Post - 4 (40.5% of answers)
- Total Impressions - 3 (30.6% of answers)
- Impression Rate per Post - 3 (29.7% of answers)
Do you know what's the difference between the average and the median of an industry? You can opt out to compare your performance based on the average or the median of the industry.
The average is where you add all the values of a certain metric, and then divide the sum by the number of values available. On the other hand, the median is the middle value in the list.
Most companies understand the value of social media data. However, they often lack the ability to turn them into actionable insights.
As a social media manager, you will be tasked with making important decisions on behalf of the company and you need analytics to support your historical knowledge.
Once raw facts have been processed and organized into a format that is more user-friendly, it needs to be analyzed in order to draw actionable insights.
Actionable insights are valuable because it will help the industry rethink a particular idea or take a direction to improve productivity.
Below you can see an example of how we write actionable insights based on our studies.
Considering all of the studies that we conducted in 2020, we observed that people spend more time on Instagram than on any other social media platform. We wrote down some ideas that we believe would be pretty helpful for anyone who’s handling Instagram profiles.
Once you have successfully analyzed all metrics, you need to draw infographics or a presentation that includes all key metrics before presenting it to your client or managers. This way, it will be easier for them to interpret the results of your findings.
Thanks to the advances in technology, there are many social media benchmarking tools that you can use to obtain all data needed when conducting social media benchmarking.
Here are some guidelines to follow and choose a tool for competitive analysis:
- they need to give historical data: posts data, Instagram Stories data, engagement evolution, posts types distribution, etc.
- data accuracy. If needed, double-check the data with the native apps.
- they deliver monthly or quarterly reports. Automatic reports are fantastic.
- use only white tools that get the data through the API. You can ask them how they get the data before proceeding with payment.
With the right tools, you can conduct social media analysis, benchmark your efforts and compare different strategies.
For instance, you can use Socialinsider’s benchmarking feature to see where you stand against top competitors.
Socialinsider is a social media analytics tool that serves up a full view of a competitor’s digital strategy for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.
Once you create an account, group your pages or profiles per industry or client, and uncover your competitors' actions on social media.
Consider running social media competitive analysis for:
- Industry benchmarking
Once you create your project, go to Benchmarks and have an overview of your data on each platform, or select the Cross-platform to quickly glance over how all of your social media accounts are performing.
You can also quickly download a client-ready, branded report of these stats.
In conclusion, social media benchmarking can help you obtain important information on how your business is performing compared to the industry’s best practices.
In this case, any bit of insight can go a long way when it comes to results.
Follow this framework for the social media competitive analysis process:
- Analyze your social media needs carefully.
- Choose the viewpoint of the story you'd like to share.
- Choose social networks.
- Decide on metrics.
- Write down actionable insights for your industry.
- Create a presentation that indicates the key metrics.
What metrics do you analyze within your monthly or quarterly social media benchmarks?