A social media competitor analysis is essential for you to gain valuable insight into a strategy to grow more effectively.
You may be currently measuring your success on social media through follower growth, but this can get deceiving since numbers don’t hold much significance without an existing benchmark. This is why asking ourselves how these results compare to the industry is a must.
Comparing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses to your own results will also help you find out what’s not working as well as opportunities for growth.
Other benefits of the analysis include learning which platforms to be on and how to use them more effectively, creating a better social strategy and identifying existing gaps in your current one, finding possible threats to your business, and more.
In this blog, we’ll boil down the process of social media competitive analysis into 4 easy steps.
1. Identifying your competition
Keywords and Google
Keyword research is one of the key elements of SEO and online growth. But understanding relevant keywords for your business and niche can also help you identify your competitors.
If you need help finding Keywords, the easiest way will be using Keyword Research tools. You can read our blog 10 Best Keyword Research Tools to determine which keywords to use first, alongside their monthly searches and level of competition.
Then in order to get a sense of who your top competitors are, search those keywords on Google. You’ll want to gather around 3 examples:
-Competitors who appears on the top paid search
-Competitors who appears on the top organic search
You can rule out big brands that don’t relate to your business or big marketplaces such as Walmart or Target, as their approach probably won’t relate to yours.
Social Media Platforms
If you already use social media platforms and have some following (even if it’s small), you can additionally perform research on your existing followers by checking if they follow other brands that relate to your business.
If you’re on Facebook, Facebook Audience Insights can show you pages related to your target audience that your audience already follows.
There are tools available that you can integrate into your social media Platforms, such as Mentionlytics. It works with Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook, and other sources such as blogs.
2. Competiton Research
After completing the list of competitors you want to analyze, it’s time to gather some data. You’ll want to find out:
Metrics and KPIs
- Follower count
- Engagement rate
- How frequently do they post?
- What platforms are they using?
- Who are their followers? (Or their target audience)
- What hashtags do they use and how many?
- What features specific to the platform do they use?
- Determine the frequency of promotional posts (including a call to action) vs informational posts.
- At what times do they generally post?
- What kind of posts do they make? What’s their tone?
- Which kind of content performs better for them?
- How long are their captions?
- Do they answer all comments? What’s their tone when responding?
- How does their website look, where is it linked from and what sections does it include?
- Are there any other questions you may be unsure of about your own approach?
Most of these questions can be answered just by scrolling through their content and checking their followers.
Setting up a spreadsheet can be helpful for comparing this data and determining if there’s a pattern your competition follows. This generally indicates these practices work and you should try to implement them in social media game.
The same process can be done on all platforms, however, there are additional steps you can take depending on specific platforms as they have different features.
For example, if you notice that on Facebook and Instagram most of your competitors have their shop section enabled, it’s likely an indication that it’s working out better than having it disabled.
Hashtags also tend to vary between platforms so it’s good advice to separate them on your data spreadsheet.
3. Analyze and plan your Strategy
Once you’ve gathered enough data in your social media competitor analysis spreadsheet, it’s time to look for patterns and analyze what may or may not work for your specific case.
The data is not for you to copy directly, instead for analyzing why your competition may be following this strategy and how it could be implemented to benefit you. It’s normal to have to make adjustments along the way, but knowing what everyone else is doing will help you as a guide.
Trying to understand how you stand compared to your competition can also point you to where your strengths and weaknesses are.
You’ll be ready to gauge if your efforts are already good enough or need improvement in certain areas or if you’re missing out on potential audiences. You’ll also understand your existing audience better.
In areas where your numbers compare or are above your competition, you’ll probably know these are your strengths, and the opposite will be your weaknesses. For these areas, you’ll have to tweak your strategy and test trying some of your competitors’ tactics.
4. Keep up with Trends and the Latest Technologies
Social media platforms (and the internet in general) are constantly changing and updating their features.
Users’ needs and wants constantly evolve.
New tools or technology constantly keep being developed.
This means that your social media strategy will have to be updated regularly or you risk getting behind your competition.
Make sure to make social media competitor analysis reports part of your routine. Constantly making your research on new tools that can make your job easier and keep you up to date with trends is key for growth. Or you can also hire professionals to assist you.