It’s important to look at how your competitors are using social media, as this will give you an idea of what is and isn’t working for them. This can help you adapt their successes into something that works for your business while avoiding the failures in your strategy.
What is a Social Media Competitive Analysis?
A Social Media Competitive Analysis is a study of how your competitors are using the different social media platforms. It’s essentially a review of what they’re doing and how well their efforts work for them.
If they’re succeeding in using a platform for marketing, you may also want to consider using that same platform in your strategy while avoiding the methods that aren’t working.
Why Should I Do An Analysis?
Social media has become an important marketing tool for every business. Hence, it is essential to have a solid grasp of other businesses’ strategies on social media platforms.
When you’re considering social media channels to include in your marketing strategy, it can be beneficial to look at your competitors’ strategies on all major platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Step 1: Identifying Your Main Competitors
You’ll need to decide on your key social media competitors before you begin comparing them and their social media strategies, so it’s helpful to start by listing those competitors. This way, you can create a detailed comparison report and identify commonalities between their most successful strategies.
The analysis will give you a more accurate, over-arching idea about how well your direct competitors are using the different platforms and the results they’re getting from them.
Step 2: Creating A Timeline And Gathering Information
You’ll need to create a comprehensive timeline of your competitors’ social media efforts and identify their most successful posts, campaigns and strategies. This will be an important component in your analysis because you want to get a full understanding of what is working for them and why they’re getting the desired results.
You also want to create a list of data for your competitors to gauge their social media performance, such as:
- Follower growth rate
- Their engagement rate
- Comments per post
- Content types used
- The types of content they’re posting (text, images, video)
- Their tone of voice
- Hashtag usage
Step 3: Comparing Your Competitor’s Strategies
You’ll then want to make a chart that shows how your competitors use each social media platform and the results they are getting from it. This will help you get an overall idea about what is working and what isn’t to create a well-rounded social media strategy.
Step 4: Creating A Detailed Report Of Your Findings
Once you have your findings from the previous steps, it’s time to write them out in detail. This final step will give you a comprehensive overview of all of the platforms used by your competitors and the results they’re getting from them.
Having this competitive analysis report will help you create your social media strategy so that you, too, can get the most out of each platform.
Here are three specific types of information you’ll be able to find with a competitive analysis:
1. Audience engagement and content sharing
Look for patterns in the messages that tend to be more popular than others and how those posts are shared across various social media platforms (especially if there’s a big difference between them). You can also look at which days and times of day are more successful and what kind of response is being received via the social media platform (likes, comments, shares, etc.).
2. How much time is spent on each channel
Are they posting consistently on every site? Do they devote a lot of effort to one channel at the expense of others? If so, when?
3. The type of content being shared on each platform
This will help you figure out how you can develop a similar content strategy for your social media accounts that will resonate with customers in the same way as it did for theirs. For example, suppose your competitors’ posts are generally humorous and entertaining, while yours carry a more formal tone. In that case, you may need to change the way you deliver your content (brand voice) to cater to your target audience’s preferences.
Effective Tools to Help Make The Analysis Easier
Tracking competitor data can be difficult, especially when you have to look at multiple sources. Luckily, social media analytics tools can help make the competitor analysis process easier and more accurate; here are three of them:
- Sprout Social
- Rival IQ
One tip we’ve been able to glean from our years of experience using social media for business purposes is that the more you treat social media as a way to connect with your current and potential customers, the better your results will be.
Too many companies see it as just another advertising vehicle they can try to push sales on, but that’s not what people want from social media–and especially not if they’ve chosen to follow you on one of those platforms.
So if you want to stand out from the crowd and get the most benefit for your online presence, consider focusing less on posting about what you’re selling and more on creating content that helps educate and entertain your followers. Then, use social listening tools to keep track of brand mentions so that you can fine-tune your social media marketing strategy accordingly.
This is what they’ll remember (and talk about) when they see your name on the web.
The Bottom Line
Competitive insights will not only help you understand them better and improve your strategies, but they can also give you a competitive edge in the market. Ultimately, you want to select specific social media platforms that would be more likely to move the needle for your business and focus on them.
Then, use the results you get from a competitor analysis as an opportunity to learn something new about your industry and your competitors, so you can determine how to take advantage of it.