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Published September 14th 2015

The Social Indices: Where do You Stand in the Social Rankings?

Where does your brand match up to the competition in your industry? Find out in the Brandwatch Social Indices.

When legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt crossed the finish line at Icahn Stadium in New York, nobody could deny his win.

He ran 100 meters in 9.72 seconds, outpacing Asafa Powell for the world record. Bolt now ranked first.

In a competitive world, rankings aim to provide a reliable way to measure one’s talent and effort against another’s. They congratulate leaders and offer motivation to those behind.

Yet the measurements supporting rankings are not always as simple as the clock timing Bolt’s 100 meter sprint – consider Google’s PageRank, named after one of Google’s founders, Larry Page.

Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.)

Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.)

Their entire business was essentially founded on providing a reliable way of determining which websites were the most relevant.

Yet quantifying something as human as relevancy is no simple task – that’s why we still have to scroll down a few pages every now and then.

Today, we’ve published The Social Indices.

A new way of quantifying human interactions

There cannot be a set rule for measuring human interactions.

As such, The Social Indices required certain judgement calls: How do you weight a mention on Twitter against a mention on Facebook? Blogs? Forums?

How valuable is a reply, as compared to a retweet?

While there are effective ways at answering these questions, there will always be some level of personal judgement – it takes human judgement to evaluate a human interaction.

The scoring

The Social Indices measures a brand’s performance on social media across five key criteria: Social Visibility, General Visibility, Net Sentiment, Reach Growth, and Engagement and Content.

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  • Social Visibility: The volume of conversation a brand generates across key social channels.
  • General Visibility: The volume of conversation a brand generates on blogs, forums and news sites.
  • Net Sentiment: The ratio of positive to negative statements surrounding a brand online.
  • Reach Growth: The growth of a brand’s social following over the course of a month.
  • Engagement and Content: How effective brands are at responding to their audiences and how well social content is received across social channels.

Recognizing that not every organization’s goals are the same, each score aims to capture a unique aspect of a brand’s online presence.

While the overall score is ultimately a sum of the five components, brand’s can decide for themselves how to value each criteria.

An iterative journey

There’s a certain level of hesitation and well-deserved skepticism around any social media index.

While there are a number of social media indices out there, many seem to be based on measurements such as total volume of conversation or engagement ratios.

For rankings based on either shaky measurements or on a single criteria such as engagement ratio, the connection between a brand’s score and their genuine performance seems dubious.

Quantifying something such as how well a brand connects with online audiences is an incredibly difficult task.

Our current index is only the beginning.

Every quarter we’ll be updating the scores, adding new industries and more brands.

We’ll continuously review our algorithms, identifying ways to fine tune the measurements as we set out to be the Usain Bolt of social indices, providing businesses with the most reliable rankings from which to understand their industry.

View The Social Indices here.

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