If you are someone who is new to social media, you may be feeling at a bit of a loss. In the early days, the likes of Facebook and Twitter were mere platforms for us to connect with our friends. However, nowadays, platforms like this are huge marketing engines, which give us the ability to reach a huge number of potential customers while also developing loyal relationships with existing customers. However, this is only going to be the case if you know how to use these platforms. Properly, which is a lot easier said than done. This is why it is imperative that you conduct social media competitor analysis. In this guide, we will reveal everything you need to know about doing this. This includes information on how it will help you to build your own social media strategy and why you should always be monitoring competition if you want to stay ahead of the pack. So, continue reading to discover everything you need to know.
What is social media competitive analysis and why it is essential?
Before we can explain how to conduct a social media competitor analysis properly, it is imperative to establish what this actually is. Well, as a business, you should not be reinventing the wheel. However, you are going to be tweaking it! It is not realistic to think that we can invent something new all of the time. Instead, we do what other companies do, but we look for tiny changes that we can make so that we can ensure we are doing it better than the rest. This is exactly what social media competitor analysis is all about. Instead of starting from scratch, we will learn what has worked for others. We will conduct research so we can find out how our competition is using social media. What content are they sharing? What channels are working best for them? How do they use these platforms? We do not conduct this research so t hat we can copy our competitors. We do it so that we can measure ourselves against them to determine our own performance. We also do it so that we can see where we could make improvements, where there are gaps in the market, where our competition is beating us, and where they are going wrong. This information is going to help you improve your own business and move forward.
A social media competitor analysis will help you to do the following…
- Identify gaps in your own strategy
- Identify who your competition is
- Know the threats to your company
- Know how well your social media strategy is working for you
- Know what your competition did before
- Know what your competitors are doing on these platforms now
- Know what platforms your competition competitors are on
The benefits of competitive analysis
There are a number of different reasons why it is so important to assess your competition on social media. This includes all of the following:
- You will be able to get a general view in terms of what is going on in your sector in terms of social media. You will get a feel for what everyone is doing; what they are talking about and what the latest trends are. You are never going to be able to excel if your head is in the dark.
- To make sure your business always moves forward. A social media competitor analysis will enable you to continue to improve your position as a business. Your strategy will never get stuck if you continue to assess what is going on in the sector.
- You will also get to know your customers better. You will understand what they expect and their online habits too.
- You will be able to advance your competitors because you will discover areas that they have not covered yet. A social media competitor analysis will enable you to spot opportunities because you can see gaps in the market.
- You will also be able to assess your own strategy. You can measure yourself against what your competitors are doing so you can see where you are performing well and where there are areas for improvement.
- You will save time when it comes to your company’s SWOT analysis too. This is because you will be able to understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in regards to your competition. This is important because a lot of businesses invest a lot of time and resource into research for their Swot analysis. However, a social media competitor analysis will help you put the groundwork on this for too.
- Find new sales channels. Your social media competitor analysis can also help you to find sales channels you may not have considered or used before. For example, perhaps you have never considered marketing on Pinterest before because it did not seem like a good solution? However, if you see that your competitors are using this and they are having great success, this is something that may appeal to you.
How to perform competitive analysis
Now that you have a good understanding regarding what a social media competitor analysis is and why it is so important, it is important to establish some of the steps that you are going to need to take in order to perform a social media competitor analysis successfully. So, let’s take a look at this.
Monitor and assess hashtags
There is only one place to begin, and this is with hashtags! After all, from Twitter to Instagram, hashtags play a huge role when it comes to social media today. If you track hashtags that are linked to your sector or brand, you are going to be able to find out what your customers and potential customers are discussing.
Determine who your competition is
You are going to need to identify who your social competitors are if you are going to be able to conduct an effective competitive analysis. To do this, you need to make a list of your competition via a spreadsheet or something similar, keeping a track of their data. This includes noting the platforms they use, as well as the handles on each platform, their brand voice, the engagement numbers they have on each platform, and their follower count on each platform.
Data collection is a huge part of social media competitor analysis. This can be a bit overwhelming if you have never had to complete a task like this before. After all, the metrics you are going to collect will depend on the social media platforms you are using or you are debating using.
Look at your main competition
Of course, in order to perform a social media competitor analysis, you are going to need to look at what your main competition is doing so you can determine your competitor’s social media strategy. You will probably have strategies in common. It is not about copying your competition; it is about measuring yourself against them. You will be able to see where you are falling short, where you are outperforming the competition, and you may also be able to spot some fresh opportunities in the process too.
Listen to your followers
This is a big one. However, it is an area where a lot of people tend to go wrong because they end up being so focused on what they are doing and what they want their customers to know. However, without our customers, we are nothing, right? This is why you need to take the time to assess what your customers are speaking about. Talk to them and actually listen to what they have to say. You will find that you will obtain the most valuable information in this manner.
Locate brands that are positioned well on Google
Aside from this, you should look for keywords that are linked to your project or company that are being utilized on Google. Select the results that appear near the top of Google and then use these search terms on social media to see what people are seeing and what sort of messages are featuring prominently on social media networks for these keywords.
Discover your competition’s post types
When you are gathering data, you need to make sure you take a look at the different types of posts your competition is creating and publishing. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself include: are they using hashtags? Are they sharing posts from other publications and sources? If so, where are these sharing these articles from? What sort of posts encourage engagement, for example, polls? Do they cross-promote? Is their content native?
How to get the most out of competitor analysis
When conducting social media competitor analysis, you need to make sure you go about it in the best possible manner. If you are going to get the best results, you need to make sure you are constantly assessing how you do things. After all, no business ever got anywhere by being stagnant.
So, how do you get the most out of your competitor analysis? Let’s begin by taking a look at the different mistakes you should avoid. One of the biggest mistakes people make is simply using their social media competitor analysis as a way to copy what the competition is doing. As mentioned, this is not what social media competitor analysis is about! You are not doing this simply so you can copy what other people are doing. Plus, even if you simply copy the competition, there is no guarantee that this is actually going to work for you. It is all about learning from your competition; not simply copying what they are doing. Plus, who is to say that your competition is doing things right? A social media competitor analysis may enlighten you to the fact that your competition is doing social media badly and so there is a great opportunity for you to enter this market.
In addition to this, another step you need to take is you need to make sure that you conduct social media competitor analysis on a regular basis. This is not something you can simply do one time and then forget about. You need to continue to conduct an assessment on a regular basis. After all, the world of social media is changing all of the time, and if you do not stay up to date, you are only going to get left behind.
You also need to make sure you use the tools that are available to you in order to conduct social media competitor analysis. Conducting a social media competitor analysis is difficult enough without having to do it manually. This will take a huge amount of time and it can be very difficult for you to deduce your results if you do this. Instead, you need to make sure that you use a social media competitive analysis tool that is available to you. This is going to enable you to easily extract the information you need for your social media competitive audit and to be able to analyze it properly.
We hope that you have found this guide useful on social media competitor analysis. There is no denying that this is a key part of any business’ social media marketing strategy. It does not matter what industry you operate in or how big or small your company is, you need to keep an eye on the competition if you are to outperform them, and this is exactly what social media competitor analysis can assist with.