A social media competitive analysis helps you study your competition to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how you can use those to improve your own efforts. It is an essential part of any marketing plan, and it should be done regularly to help you analyze and adjust your strategy over time.
By performing a competitive analysis on social media, you can gain valuable insights into how your competitors are using social media to reach their target audience. What might be working for them and in some cases, what is NOT working.
We’re outlining the steps to help you perform a competitive analysis on social media, as well as the information you should collect and how you can use it to improve your own social media marketing efforts. Let’s get started!
Why is competitive analysis important?
Competitive analysis, especially on social media, is a great way to benchmark your efforts and discover opportunities for improvement across your social channels. An effective analysis will help you stay on top of the latest trends in your industry and adjust your strategy accordingly.
You can learn a lot from an effective competitor analysis but some of the key takeaways are often:
- Review and assessment of benchmarks
- Updates to industry trends
- Insights into best practices
- New opportunities for your marketing programs
- Updates and revisions to your goals
Before you dig in, make sure you identify your key competitors or heavy hitters in your industry and their active social channels so that you can refer to them throughout your analysis.
What information can you learn from a social media competitive analysis?
If you are performing a competitive analysis of social media accounts, you will be able to see which content is resonating with their audience and how they are using social media to reach them. You can look into things like
- content format
- calls to action
- follower engagement
- potential customer pain points
- posting times
- competitor social ads
- the resources and insights they provide
- how you can differentiate your brand
- gaps in their content efforts that you can capitalize on
- Industry trends and best practices
This information will help you develop better content and target your audience more effectively.
The goal of any competitive analysis is to gain insights into what is working in your industry and what opportunities you have to improve your own strategies to grow your market share and brand awareness.
Simple Steps for Completing A Social Media Competitive Analysis
Ready to start your social media competitive analysis? This 5 step process will help you identify the key insights you can use to improve your social media strategy.
Identify Your Key Competitors
The first step for any competitive analysis is knowing who and what you need to analyze. It’s important to select a manageable number of competitors, you don’t want too much information to sift through and you want to make sure the insights are valuable to your business.
For example, if you’re a specialized marketing agency that focuses on digital marketing OR you focus on specific industries, every marketing agency isn’t your competition. However, watching larger players in your space can help you identify trends and tactics that might be effective for your business as it grows.
Create a list of 4-6 competitors that include both your direct competitors and 1-2 major players in your industry.
Gather Competitor Data Points
Now that you know who you are researching, here is a look at what you want to research. Gather insights about where your competitors are online and how they are using social media to create opportunities for their business. Track details like:
- social channels they are using
- follower count and how quickly it’s growing
- top/most engaged followers
- post frequency
- engagement rate, how does this compare to yours?
- What hashtags do they use? How many? Do you notice any trends in how they use them?
Analyze Your Competitor’s Social Media Content
Once you have a general understanding about where your competitors are online and how they generally use the platforms, take a deep dive into their content.
- What content formats are they using?
- Which are most effective?
- How does this compare to the way you create and share content with your audience?
- What type of information are they sharing?
- What performs best?
- How are they primarily using social media?
Complete a SWOT Analysis
Once you have gathered all the insights, sit down and complete a SWOT analysis of your social media channel.
Remember, strengths and weaknesses are specific to your business and your brand – where are you seeing success and where do you have room to improve when it comes to your social media strategy. This can also include where you are ahead of or lagging behind your competitors on social media.
Opportunities and threats are where most of your research will come into play. These are external and will help you identify market gaps, or even potential barriers to purchase for your potential customers, based on your competitors’ offerings.
Develop a Process to Monitor and Update your social media competitive analysis Over Time
The social media marketing landscape is always evolving. Make regular monitoring a part of your social media planning, annually or even quarterly. There are tons of great tracking tools available to help you turn your analysis into actionable data to help you improve your overall marketing strategy.
How do you use your social media competitive analysis to adjust your strategy?
By analyzing your competitors’ social media accounts, you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t. You can use this information and your completed SWOT analysis to create better content that will resonate with your audience, as well as choose the right platforms to reach them.
Once you’ve compiled all the details about how your competitors and major players in your industry are using social media across their marketing mix, adjust your strategy using your new intel.
Compile a list of your own, existing efforts and interesting initiatives from your competitors and create a list of ideas and tactics you could use across social media channels in the future.
Remove What Doesn’t Fit
From this list, remove any ideas or tactics that are not in line with your brand strategy, overall marketing objectives, or business ideology.
Plan It Out
Create an updated strategy that incorporates the new ideas, including information on how they should be executed and how you will test the effectiveness within your own campaigns.
Implement the new strategies and ideas across your channels and various sales efforts, making notes about any roadblocks or optimization opportunities as you see them.
Analyze & Tweak
Use the established KPIs from your updated strategy to track the success over time. Be sure to compare the new efforts to some of the established benchmarks from legacy campaigns or other long term content strategies you have been using. Continue to test and adjust to improve results over time.
The more often you perform competitive analysis on social media, the easier it will be to find new trends and adjust your strategy accordingly. It’s also important to keep in mind that things are always changing on social media, so you should be adjusting your strategy regularly to make sure you’re taking advantage of the latest trends.
Struggling to get started? We can help.
If optimizing your social media channels to drive more traffic and generate new lead opportunities is a goal for your business, competitive analysis is a great place to start. If you’re looking for a team to take that off your plate and help you make sense of the data and insights, our digital marketing experts are here to help. We’re a little left brain and a little right brain and we’d love to help you find creative ways to put competitor analysis insights to work.
Get in touch and let’s get