Social Media Analytics Blog

Benchmark Study: Set the right social media goals for 2017

It’s that time of year again. December not only means getting Christmas presents for your loved ones; It also means having to take closer look on the year’s performance before we can celebrate the new year with some fireworks. The following blog post takes our Social Media Benchmarking Study as a source for referencing in order to set social media goals properly. (more…)

Visuals receive the highest engagement on Facebook

The following study analyzes 100,000 Facebook profiles and more than 80 million posts from June 2014 to June 2015. The results give insights into which Facebook post type is used most predominantly when marketers share their work and receives highest engagement on Facebook in the end. Increasingly many businesses are relying heavily on content marketing as part of their marketing activities to receive highest engagement possible. Therefore companies try to reach as many users of their target groups as possible.

Main Findings

Links and images posted most frequently, videos and images drive highest engagement, photo post interactions increasing, interactions on link posts low but increasing.


How to Create a Visual Social Media Strategy and Measure Success

In our webinar How to Create a Visual Social Media Strategy and Measure Success“ on August 18 we combined our experience with the insights of Mitt Ray, Founder of Social Marketing Writing. We discussed how a successful visual social media strategy is set up and measured in the end. In recently published social media studies, we were able to show that many businesses are heavily relying on Instagram, as a purely visual network. Due to low organic reach on Facebook and faster absorbed information on Instagram, interactions here outperform Facebook by far. That makes Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest the places to be for companies in almost every industry. An increasing amount of resources are being invested in building a presence on such networks but measuring and adjusting their own strategy lacks in many ways. (more…)

Social Media Benchmarking: How To Analyze Your Competitors In Three Steps

Social Media BenchmarkingHigh competition requires a well driven marketing. But a well driven marketing requires as many information about the market as possible. Firstly, you need to know which opportunities you have to grow on the market, but secondly you also need to know your closest competitors. And you have to know your competitors very well to get the ability of always being one step ahead. Referring to marketing,  92 % of companies have already integrated social media in their strategy.

Nowadays, nearly every brand can be found on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. The success on social media can results in a general success for the brands, because word-of-mouth is a strong marketing element and can’t be tamed and users are talking about brands and give recommendations all the time. If the companies are driving their social media appearance well, they are able to create more buzz which finally leads to more likes, shares, followers etc. and this grows the brand and it’s popularity in return. So taking a look at the social media performance of companies can shed light on the own successes but also on competitors strategies.

So having a look on the social media success of companies can shed light on the own one and the competitors as well.

Benchmarking Is The Magic Word: But What Exactly Is It?

The dictionary says, benchmarking is “a measurement of the quality of an organization’s policies, products, programs, strategies, etc.”, so that a company is in the know of it’s strengths and weaknesses. The other objective of the benchmarking process is “to determine what and where improvements are called for” and “to analyze how other organizations achieve their high performance levels”. As a consequence, companies try to transfer the obtained information into concrete strategies to improve their performance. Benchmarking is a cycle, in which the described actions has to be regularly repeated to achieve real success and to get strategic competitive advantages compared to others.

Referring to social media, the cycle starts in analyzing what to track on what platforms, for example interactions of the users and/or static numbers like fans, followers etc. In the next step, you’re going to select suitable competitors for benchmarking, which have similar products or are active on the same market. And then the real magic begins: Analyzing your performance on social media and those of your competitors and collecting as much data as possible. On the basis of those information, your company will be able to implement new strategies and develop existing ones. And finally, the cycle starts at the beginning again.

Practicing benchmarking efficiently it is important to create new strategies and to focus on existing strengths. Copying the strategies of competitors can implicate negative consequences, for example a bad image and the lack of knowledge.

Social Media Competition: A Look Behind The Curtain

Now knowing all about benchmarking, it is time to take a look behind the curtain on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. As you already read, the magic lies behind the scenes: Don’t only focus on the analysis of your own weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats. Also identify those elements on your competitor’s appearance on the market and look for overlaps and differences. The following steps show how to get first deep insights on the competition.

For the competitor analysis we chose a global example to focus on, which can be associated to a more or less similar target group: Popular fashion brands, which are segmented in the low to middle price category, targeting fashion-conscious men and women. Let’s see how H&M, Forever 21, American Eagle and ZARA are competing on social media. At least, we will compare the weaknesses and strengths of one brand in table form and will interpret possible opportunities and threats using a SWOT-Analysis. This analysis will help creating new strategies for the brand to get a strategic advantage in contrast to it’s competitors.

All-In-On Social Media Benchmarking

Social Media Benchmarking Facebook

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Social Media Benchmarking Twitter

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To identify the best practices and the weaknesses as well, the key metrics radar gives a good first overview as the basic position. The radar benchmarks the four brands on the social networks Facebook and Twitter during a similar time period. You directly see the strengths of each brand, which are quite various. For example American Eagle shows activity and posts regularly, but doesn’t acquire a huge number of fans and interactions on Facebook. An indicator for the passivity could be that the american brand doesn’t response to user posts. On Twitter, American Eagle strengths it’s social media position by showing presence on the page in form of a high tweet count and a high response rate.
Forever 21 meanwhile takes a very strong position on Facebook with a high level on five of seven key metrics. On Twitter, the popular fashion brand shows similar activity, but refer to the user interactions Forever 21 has to strengthen it’s position in the near future.
The scandinavian fashion brand H&M is not that active on both networks, but nevertheless registers large, growing numbers of fans and followers. But in one category H&M leaves it’s competitors behind: A high response rate on Facebook as well as on Twitter. ZARA is currently in the middle of the range, showing some deficits in the level of action on both networks.
In conclusion, the strengths of each brands are various in general, but they also diversify of network to network.

It’s All About The Numbers: Benchmarking Tables

In school, most of you may hated handling with numbers in every way. But for a useful analysis, it’s essential to go on numeral details. With key metrics tables, you can add numbers to the radar metrics. Additionally, the table presents a ranking and shows you’re clear position in the competition.

Social Media Benchmarking

Social Media Benchmarking

Social Media Benchmarking

In this case, the position of each brand diversifies on each platform again during the measured time periods. Since March 2011, ZARA has saved a strong position on Facebook, although the precious brand shows the least action with only nearly 400 posts. But with this small input, ZARA reaches a wide range of people talking about the brand. On Twitter and YouTube, ZARA shows the same passivity refer to new uploads. In contrast to ZARA, American Eagle takes a lot of action on Twitter during the period from August to November this year, but isn’t able to reach a wide range of users. Refer to Facebook, the american brand could intensify it’s efforts to acquire more fans and likes.

H&M takes a strong position on Facebook, too, but it rather succeeds on YouTube during the last month. Forever 21 also holds off refer to video uploads on YouTube, but it’s popularity reflects in the total numbers of subscribers. On Facebook, Forever 21 takes the last position.

Service, The Supreme Discipline For Businesses

Consumers often set value in a good service, in stationary stores as well as on online stores and social media networks. A bad service can quickly lead to a decline of a brand’s popularity. Therefore, service is an important performance metric and beneficial to add it to the social media benchmarking metrics.

Social Media Benchmarking Facebook

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Social Media Benchmarking

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In this charts, we can compare the service refer to response times on Facebook and Twitter for each of the four brands. Obviously, all brands allow user posts on the Facebook page during the measured time period from March 2011 to November 2013, but don’t respond to a huge number of posts and questions. American Eagle even respond to no post, which we’ve already seen in the key metrics radar. It looks like H&M has the best service on Facebook, refer to the response times during the last two and a half years. The up-to-date brand responds to more than 20 % of user posts during 0-2 hours. Forever 21 also cares about it’s service on Facebook, but on a lower level than H&M. ZARA takes the position before last with a very low level of responses.

The service on Twitter is measured from August to November this year. Compared to Facebook, the four brands give only little actions in the service on Twitter. ZARA and Forever 21 don’t respond to any kind of post, whereas American Eagle gives more input on Twitter than on Facebook. H&M only react to ten percent of user posts, but in contrast to American Eagle, H&M answers a bit quicker.

Spot On For The SWOT (Example American Eagle)

H&M is the strongest competitor, so the other brands have to push their marketing efforts. Through the social media benchmarking analysis, we now know the best practices of H&M on social media as well as the elements which provoke weaker interactions on the networks. American Eagle is the brand of the four which strongly has to proof itself on social media. Thinking about concrete marketing strategies the fashion brand can build, setting goals is the first step to go. Refer to benchmarking, you have to create best practices which set your brand apart from the competition.
In this case, the brand with the eagle could target a higher interaction rate and an increasing follower growth on Twitter.
The next step is finding out about opportunities and threats on this platform to relate them to the former analyzed strengths and weaknesses. Making it more visual and practical, we’re going to build a SWOT-analysis to evolve applicable strategies.
American Eagles strengths are its actions on Twitter and a fan base on Facebook, which has a medium size. But the fan change rate on Facebook indicates a growth trend. The most need for action can be noticed in the service, which currently is on the zero level.

Social Media Benchmarking Strategy

Benchmarking: 360 Degree View Of  Social Media Environment

The matrix now allows to derive concrete strategies for an increasing social media success. The combination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats gives impulsions for a development and deformation of the social media marketing of American Eagle. Additionally, the social media benchmarking helps the fashion brand to become aware of it’s own position on social media and to learn from the competitors. H&M obviously drives an efficient marketing on the single networks, so American Eagle could now start struggling for a similar success on social media. A professional marketing strategy means orientating on the competitors, but not copying their best practices.

Summing up, benchmarking is a useful process to optimize your strategy on social media and/or to build new strategies, inspired by the competition. Analyzing other brands with similar products and target groups helps to know where you and your own brand stand and what need to be developed and improved. Depending on which market you’re serving, a unique marketing strategy is essential to accentuate your brand from the mass of competing brands.

10 Resources To Help You Become A Social Media Marketing Genius

Social media marketing is of increasing importance to businesses and organizations. Maybe you have your business running successfully for a while already. Or maybe you just started a company and you are new on the market. But either way, it is always a good idea to explore the possibilities on Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of other channels to enhance your marketing success. Social media marketing has become a tremendously important feature for economical success.

But the question is how to do it properly. For some entrepreneurs applying social media to their business might come without too much of an effort. Still, for others it may be equivalent to rocket science. No matter which, but at some point it might be necessary to use it for the company. You’d never know what chances you’re missing. There are plenty of interesting things to learn and there are many good sources on the internet to help you get started. Blogs, webinars, videos, tutorials, you name it. All just a click away.

Become A Pro In Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of those areas of marketing that still might meet a lot of skepticism. And as you can see in the picture above there are so many areas to take into consideration. The reality is that it does truly work but you need to have patience along with a solid approach to see good results. There are so many different resources on the internet to help you learn more about social media marketing. But simply because of the overwhelming supply it might sometimes be hard to find just the right information or the right tools that you need.

That’s why we took the time and went on a little research to pick out a few helpful resources that you might want to use to get started. First off when starting with any social media marketing effort it is absolutely necessary to define your goals. What exactly do you want to achieve? Who is your target audience? Be sure to clarify that beforehand. The more definitive you are the better you are going to be able to quantify your objectives. This will later on help you to gather qualitative insights.

To keep you up on speed on the topic of social media marketing we have rounded up a little list of the most noteworthy resources:

The Top Social Media Resources

1. Social Media Examiner

2. Mashable

3. Socialmouths

4. Pushing Social

5. Big Marketing For Small Business

6. MarketingProfs

7. Heidi Cohen

8. Top Rank

9. Jeff Bullas

10. Marketing Tech Blog

Check out those incredible resources for social media marketing. Among them are a multitude of helpful blogs, podcasts, tutorials and tools to set you up with expert knowledge. Let us know in the comments if you are using them or if you have even come across another helpful one.

Is It Really Possible To Measure Social Media ROI?

Maybe your company has been active in social media successfully for quite a while. Or maybe you just started to explore the possibilities on Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of other channels. But either way, chances are high you are a little uncertain how to determine the social media return on Investment. Of course you know that it is favorable to have high ROI as a measure of your impact of your efforts.

But social media ROI? How to determine which profit stems from which social media interaction with your customers? The answer is that measuring the return on investment of social media marketing activities is complex and has to be individually adjusted to the respective company. 

What Is The Challenge In Measuring The Social Media ROI?

Sometimes it’s easy to get confused and not see the connection between social media marketing activities and return on investment, since ROI still has the classic economic ring to it. We’re talking about how much benefit is the investment yielding to the investor.

Whereas the rate of return is a definite number for classical advertising actions, it isn’t as much so in social media analytics. This makes it necessary to think around the corner. Therefore you need to be aware that there is no universal way of calculating social media ROI. But there are ways. The question is which of those ways is the one you should take? Where is the road sign, where are the guides?

Those are not uncommon questions as an interesting study by iContact shows. Ranking second among the challenges of many companies is the insecurity about measuring social media ROI. The difficulty may come from the sometimes subjective assessment of the own investment. What makes it more complicating is the problem of assigning the return to the causing marketing actions.

Qualitative values, like customer retention through a marketing stunt on Facebook need to be efficiently quantified. For example if you want to grow the relatively abstract value influence you could increase the amount of influential Twitter users, who talk about your company and direct others to it. If you’d rather focus on the attractiveness to gain new customers then try to work on the number of recommendations of your page that other Facebook users give. Those are values that you can put in concrete numbers compared to the keyword influence or attractiveness.

But the reason why there is no general solution to measuring social media ROI is that in the next step we have to evaluate how much money a like, a tweet or a subscriber is worth. This will come down to a very individual number since this is depending on the kind of company and their previous activity in social media as well as on the marketing activity itself.

What Do You Want To Accomplish With Your Social Media Efforts?

Take a look at the results of the aforementioned survey. Those are the main goals that businesses want to achieve through their social media efforts. But to really be able to measure those things and the ROI accomplished with them you need to clearly quantify those values. It is absolutely necessary to dig deep and analyze the KPIs of your social media strategy.

goal-based approach is the way to obtain and harness practical insights into your social media ROI. And a goal-based approach can only be achieved through objective-based content that neatly ties in with your social media strategy. This is the reason why there are only individual ways of measuring social media ROI. But it’s also the reason why there shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for you to successfully interpret your individual results in a meaningful way.

What Is The Value Of A Like Or A Tweet?

Let’s get back to putting a definitive value on your KPIs and social media efforts? Now what is the commercial value of a Like or a tweet? Depending on who you ask and the metrics you use, a Facebook follower could be worth nothing at all, as little as $3.60, as much as $22.93, exactly $136.38 more than a non-follower, or an astonishing $214,81 for a nonprofit organization.

Instead of becoming confused and desperate there is only one thing to take away from this. There might not always be a general correlation between a fan, a like, a tweet, a follower or subscriber. Keep in mind that so far we have established that to successfully measure your social media ROI you will be handling a personal goal-based approach. Don’t make the mistake to blindly follow those numbers. It shouldn’t be a surprise that your individual objective-based content will create an individual value of engagement.

In the end all businesses are trying to convert engagement into sales on social media. So let’s try to be less abstract when talking about social media ROI and let’s start to think about it as return on engagement.

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