Last week, Sprout Social unveiled #BePresent — a free social media engagement report for brands using Twitter. It’s based on one critical premise when it comes to social media marketing and customer engagement: Your customers are already on social channels like Twitter talking about you, so you need to be present there to take part in the conversation.

To help brand, social media, and community managers accomplish that, our free report tracks four important metrics: response rate, average response time, percentile ranking, and industry rates and times. And to give you a realistic portrait of how you’re performing, we don’t boil it down to one gimmicky score. Rather, we give you actionable data in each of these metrics.

Response Rate

This is the percentage of important messages responded to in a specified date range. We developed a sophisticated system to identify which interactions require timely responses, and report this number for those interactions. We list the number of important messages that came in, and the number of those you responded to within an appropriate time. Ideally, this number should be 100% for just about any business. We also provide a percentile ranking so you know how you’re doing against your competitors for this and other metrics.

Average Response Time

It’s not a new concept in customer service, marketing, or sales that you have to respond quickly to customers if you want to build brand loyalty. We report this metric alongside response rate because it not only matters that you respond in the first place, but how quickly you respond. Don’t let your customers become impatient — make sure you have the staff and tools necessarily to make sure they’re not kept waiting.

Industry Rates & Times

These are response rate and times across a selected period, ranked against profiles with similar characteristics to yours. We break it down by industry, by how many messages are published in a month on average, and by the size of your audience. While you should always aspire to respond to all of your customers’ attempts to contact you (and quickly), this gives you a sense of how you’re doing compared to your competitors. Want the upper hand? Respond to more messages more quickly.

Find our #BePresent report useful? Give Sprout Social a try; it’s packed full of features to help you measure your success and manage your team’s social media conversations with customers.