large_3231178720How is your company doing in social? Are you engaging customers, fans, and potential customers? Are you doing it better than your competitors?

And … do you give back to the social community that you’re hoping to profit from?

These are the types of questions Sprout Social’s new #BePresent project is focused on answering — and answering for free. Starting today, brands can go to Sprout Social’s MustBePresent website and get a free checkup on how well they respond to fans and followers.

Sprout Social's new engagement report shows how you rank compared to your competition

Above: Sprout Social’s new engagement report shows how you rank compared to your competition.

Image Credit: Sprout Social

“This is a way for brands to measure themselves against their competition,” Sprout Social CEO Justyn Howard told me yesterday. “There has been a lot of conversation about brands needing to be responsive, but there hasn’t been an efficient way … to be measured against each other.”

The report engine charts 45 billion social signals, Sprout Social says, to arrive at not only a score for your company, brand, or organization but also a comparison of your score with your industry’s average score.

Which also means, of course, that your data will be used as part of other companies’ benchmarks. But Sprout Social anonymizes the data, Howard told me, to ensure that your brand’s privacy is maintained.

The result is the kind of report that you might see created specifically by analysts or social research firms, but it is now available anytime, specifically for your company and industry, for free.

The Twitter part, that is.

“Any brand can go to, plug in a Twitter handle, and get a comprehensive report,” Howard said.

Of course, Sprout Social also does Facebook analytics and more, but those features and functionality, including analyzing multiple profiles — a dedicated support account, for instance — are reserved for Sprout Social clients.

Howard is careful to say that this is not a panacea report that will diagnose all of a company’s social media problems. And it’s a not a leaderboard or a badge to put on your site. It’s simply a way to check, objectively, how well you’re engaging your audience in social: something that you and your team can use to improve.

And it will help you to be a good social citizen, says Howard:

“Brands need to be aware that as valuable as social is as a marketing channel, it’s important to be responsive and return some of the value back to the ecosystem.”

photo credit: JefferyTurner via photopin cc