By helping them compare their own processes against those of competing organizations, competitor benchmarking enables firms to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, they can identify areas in need of improvement or optimization as well as new ways of differentiating their brand from rival firms.
For online marketing purposes, competitor benchmarking can be used to measure and track the performance of your campaigns—against those of your competitors’ or industry leaders—and obtain competitive intelligence to inform your marketing strategies. By learning from your competitors’ best and worst practices, you can fine-tune your content development and delivery efforts, enhance your social media presence, and boost your social media ROI.
KPIs used for competitor benchmarking
When evaluating and comparing your digital marketing efforts on social media, surface-level or “vanity” metrics are not as helpful for competitor benchmarking because rival firms are oftentimes at different stages of evolution in their presence and engagement on social channels. Here are just a few of the most important social media KPIs used by social media intelligence tools for benchmarking use cases:
- Follower growth rate: a measure of how fast your audience is growing on social media and how aware consumers are of your brand
- Engagement rate: a measure of how many of your followers or users of a social media platform are engaging with a specific campaign or your day-to-day posting on social media
- Share of voice: a measure of your online presence, or how much your brand dominates online conversations, relative to competitors
- Sentiment: a measure of how your brand or posts are perceived by users or of a conversation’s underlying mood categorized as positive, negative, or neutral
Best practices for competitor benchmarking
- Begin by defining your goal, or what it is you want to improve or optimize. This could be your digital marketing strategy, which includes content choice and channel selection, the online reputation of your brand, your customer care efforts, and more.
- Be sure to take into consideration not just your closest competitors, or firms with similar products and services and located in the same geographic area, but also market leaders, new entrants to your market, and firms with best-in-class practices in other industries.
- While competitor benchmarking is especially important when revamping your social strategy, working on a site redesign, or considering the introduction of new products or features, try to make it an ongoing process and an essential part of your marketing strategy.
- Gather real-time information about and directly from consumers—your client base, potential customers, and followers of your competitors—using social media listening software and audience analysis tools, which enable you to obtain insights into your competitor’s social media strategies and target audience(s).
Ultimately, competitor benchmarking should provoke innovative thinking and creative strategies on part of your organization. It should present your teams with regular challenges to overcome and be a continuing source of inspiration to try new approaches.
Proactive online reputation management using social listening
Social listening platforms like Synthesio combine brand monitoring software with social media analytics, enabling you to take a thorough and proactive approach to online reputation management. These platforms let you collect and track mentions of your brand across various social platforms—not just social networks but also blogs, forums, customer reviews, and even mainstream news media—and analyze and categorize mentions by relevance or impact. This way you can be alerted to high volumes of negative sentiment or a negative comment by someone with outsized influence in your market. You can even monitor and track mentions of your competitors.
How social media intelligence tools simplify competitor benchmarking
A social media intelligence platform makes competitor benchmarking easier by combining social media listening and social media analytics into a single, integrated toolset. It can collect and analyze mentions of your brand, competitors, and other topics of interest, helping you monitor the KPIs that matter: Reach, Engagement Rate, Follower Growth, Share of Voice, Sentiment, and more.
With the right toolset, you can gather data from a wide range of social sources, going beyond major social networks to also account for blogs, forums, online customer reviews, and even news sites. A social intelligence platform lets you review relevant mentions, essential metrics for competitor benchmarking, and actionable insights about your brand and audience on customizable dashboards.
You can assess the impact of your social media campaigns in real-time, determine what types of content and topics work best and identify the most effective timing and channels to deliver content to online audiences. And with social media sentiment analysis, you can continuously monitor consumer perception of your brand and those of your competitors.
Get actionable insights into your brand, audience, and competitors using Synthesio
Synthesio Social Intelligence Suite is a robust yet highly customizable social listening and social analytics toolset that provides you with real-time, actionable insights for marketing, PR, customer support, sales, and more.
Synthesio Social Listening Dashboards empower your teams with interaction and engagement data from the widest range of social sources. Understand critical social media KPIs including Engagement Rate, Share of Voice, and Social Reputation Score (SRS) through intuitive dashboards. SRS is a proprietary metric used by Synthesio to analyze customer satisfaction and show how your brand is performing online—and how you compare to competitors in your market and firms in other industries.
And with Profiler, Synthesio’s audience analysis tool, you can view detailed information about the demographics, interests, habits, and preferences of your target audience or that of your competitors. Synthesio helps you use social data to better understand your customers and those of your competitors, create and deliver more engaging content, develop more effective campaigns, and gain an edge over your online rivals.