You want your brand to stand out on social media but it seems like your competition always has a leg up on you. They have more followers, more engagement, and more loyal fans…how can you even compete?
Let us introduce you to your new secret weapon: A Social Media Competitor Analysis.
If you do a proper social media competitor analysis, you can understand why your competition is getting more attention than you. Then, you can use that information to your advantage to create better content, attract more leads, and get more engagement.
So, who’s ready to do some competitor investigation?
1. Make a List of Your Top Competitors
First, you have to know who you’re competing against. Naturally, you’ll want to focus mainly on your competitors who are using social media to attract leads or grow brand authority.
Pick 3-5 competitors in your niche to start out with. If your industry is dominated by social media marketing and you have hundreds of competitors, don’t worry. Just pick your main rivals for now so that your initial analysis doesn’t take hours upon hours. You can always go back and add more data later.
2. Pick Your Most Important Social Media Channels
It’s important to note which social media platforms your competitors are using and which social media channels they seem to be having success with. At the same time, you don’t want to spend hours pouring over their Pinterest data if you have no plans to start marketing on Pinterest anytime soon.
Decide on a few channels that you and your competitors have in common and focus your analysis on those. If you find that you and your competitors don’t have any social media channels in common, then it’s worthwhile to make sure you’re using social media sites that are good for your business.
Be sure to check for your competition on sites outside of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Extend your search into all varieties of social media sites like Reddit, Snapchat, and YouTube.
3. Gather Intel With the Right Tools
You could spend hours manually searching for and organizing competitor data, or you could just use a social media competitor analysis tool.
If you’re looking to dive deep into your competition’s social media analytics, then it’s a good idea to look into using a social media competitor analysis tool. Similar to SEO competitor analysis tools, a social media competitive analysis tool will help you uncover data and trends that would be way too time-consuming or difficult to do manually.
Here are two basic social media competitor analysis tools you can use to get started.
- Twitonomy gives you detailed insights on tweets, retweets, replies, hashtags, and pretty much any other metric related to Twitter.
- Likealyzer helps you compare your Facebook page directly to your competitors while providing actionable insights, not just a confusing spreadsheet of numbers.
For those looking for a more comprehensive tool, Rival offers clear-cut insights across a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Rival also offers two great free social media competitive analysis tools for those looking for a cost-effective option:
- Head-to-Head Reports provide you with valuable key metrics (number of posts, engagement, and audience growth) about your competition.
- Live Social Benchmarks give you an inside look into what the top global brands are publishing on social media.
If using a tool isn’t up your alley, you can grab some simple analytics just by browsing your competitors’ pages. Record basic metrics like followers, average likes, average comments, and average posts per day so you at least have some basic metrics to start out with.
4. Analyze Your Competition’s Content
Now that you know which competitors to focus on and have a high-level overview of their key metrics, it’s time to dig into the details.
Browse through each of their social media channels and see what types of content they’re producing and which types seem to get the most engagement. Here are some types of content you’ll want to look out for:
- Blog Posts
- Infographics & Images
- “Meet the Team” or “Behind the Scenes” Posts
- Instagram or Facebook Lives
- Boosted Facebook Posts
- Company Announcements and News
The secret sauce is to understand why certain posts are effective.
Is their content funny? Straight to the point? Full of clickbait? Strikes an emotional chord? It’s up to you to decide “why” behind their success. While that might seem like a daunting task, don’t worry! Social media is the perfect place to test out different messages, images, branding initiatives and more. If one of your posts doesn’t get a good response, you can always try something new the next day.
5. Don’t Forget About Your Audience!
It can be tempting to get caught up in metrics like engagement rates, follower growth, and posts per day. While KPIs are definitely important, what your audience likes is important too. Numbers only tell one half of the story. To get a better idea of what people actually like and are interacting with, take some time to read through the comments of your competitors’ comment sections. Note if their comments are positive, negative, and how (if at all) the company responds to comments. You can learn a lot just by listening to the audience.
It’s possible to take this one step further and do some research into who else their audience is following and engaging with. This is really simple to do on Instagram, just click on a follower and look at their “Following” list.
6. Perform a Social Media SWOT Analysis with Action Steps
Now that you’re overloaded with information about your competitors you might be thinking, “Where do I go from here?”
It’s not enough to just look at some numbers and ideas and call it a day. You have to analyze the data and figure out specific action steps.
We’ve got just the thing to help!
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis can help you summarize all of the information you collected in your analysis. To make it even more effective, you can pair your SWOT analysis with action steps so you know exactly what you should be doing to improve your social media marketing.
It’s pretty straightforward, here’s a basic hypothetical example:
|Engaged followers on Instagram, positive feedback from Instagram followers, great images on Instagram
Action Steps → Continue producing great imagery and interacting with Instagram followers.
|Not able to generate engagement on Twitter, limited time to respond to messages and comments on Instagram
Action Steps → Use posting strategy from Competitor A to attempt to increase Twitter engagement, hire a social media manager to respond to Instagram messages.
|Few competitors are using Reddit so there’s an opportunity to expand.
Action Steps → Start a subreddit and build up Reddit karma.
|Negative reviews on Facebook and Google
Action Steps → Respond politely to negative reviews, encourage current happy customers to leave positive reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
7. Track Your Results
Don’t let all of your hard work go unnoticed! If you don’t have a social media marketing tracking system in place, make sure you decide on your most important KPIs and review them every month. If you’re not ready to invest in social media analytics software, a simple spreadsheet will suffice.
You’ll also want to update your action steps within your SWOT analysis as you complete them and learn more about your audience.
Cracking the code to social media growth can be frustrating for both experienced marketers and new entrepreneurs, but there are ways to make it a lot easier. Completing a social media competitive analysis and implementing your findings can help you boost your overall social media marketing strategy.
Try it Yourself!
Make a copy of this google sheets document to easily share, edit and print.
or if you’d prefer you can print this PDF