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Social Media Benchmarks

How To Create Social Media Benchmarks For Your Nonprofit

When it comes to social media, it’s not always easy to determine how your organization stacks up against others in the same industry, or those with the same size following. Defining and setting social media benchmarks is an important step to monitoring your success, and figuring out where to focus your (very valuable) time, money and resources.

So where do I start?

The first step in setting up social media benchmarks is to seek out industry standards. Annual reports, such as M+R’s 2014 Benchmarks Report or Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Social Engagement Benchmark Report for Twitter, give valuable insight into what other organizations are seeing in terms of growth and engagement on Facebook and Twitter. AgoraPulse’s Facebook Page Barometer is another great tool to utilize; simply connect your organization’s Facebook page to see how it compares to others of the same size.

If your organization is looking to spend a little bit of money to see how specific competitors stack up, Quintly is a useful tool that pulls engagement data from any specific Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram profile of your choosing, and compare it others.

So now I know how my organization compares. But how do I determine what my social media benchmarks should look like? 

If your organization’s engagement and growth numbers are currently lower than industry standards, use the industry standards as your end goal. Set a reasonable timeline (6 months is a good start), and divide the difference between your current numbers and industry numbers by the number of months you have to reach your goals. Wah la! Now you have a benchmark to shoot for each month.

Setting monthly benchmarks allows you to have enough time (30 days) to test out new content, post frequency and any other factors that may influence growth and engagement. You can then figure out what’s working, implement it and reach your monthly goal.

Remember: Make sure to factor in any paid advertising you plan on doing, and differentiate between organic vs. paid benchmark goals.

What if I can’t find any industry standards for the metrics I want to benchmark?

Chances are, something you want to benchmark each month doesn’t have an industry standard to compare it to, or you see a lot of conflicting averages for that specific metric. Instead of scrapping that metric as a benchmark, try to make an educated guess as to where that number could get to.

For example, are you hoping to increase website referral traffic from Facebook? Start by finding out how much you are currently getting, how you’re getting it, and how you could get more. Could you increase the number of posts that link back to your site? Could you create more compelling visuals that garner more attention, and therefore, more clicks? Once you notice tactics that work and have tracked the numbers each tactic has produced (ahem, UTM tagging), you’ll be able to make informed decisions on what your benchmarks should be, and be well on your way to setting up a strong social strategy.

Remember: Benchmarks aren’t set in stone. Monitoring them on a monthly basis will allow you to see growth trends over time, and give you hard data to make even better future predictions.

Questions? Comments? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on Twitter @MediaCause or by email at connect@mediacause.org

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