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Why perform a social media competitor analysis

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Strategy & Analysis

We’re imploring you to spend more time on social media. Yes, we know you’re running a business, but performing a social media competitor analysis can help you in several ways:

  • You’ll learn how your company’s social channels stack up next to your competition’s channels
  • You’ll discover ways to strengthen your future social posts
  • You’ll encounter pitfalls your competition has fallen into and learn how you can  avoid them
  • You’ll see what the competition is doing well and if there’s anything you’d like to emulate in your social media strategy

This competitive analysis determines their pros and cons and how their strategy compares to yours. Use it to benchmark your wins and losses to find gaps in and opportunities for strengthening your own social media strategy.

It’s a good idea to create a simple template in a spreadsheet, where you can outline your social data as well as the data of your competitors. (A social media competitor analysis can also help you identify competitors you didn’t know about. More on that below.)

Collect information to the sheet such as:

  • Which social channels do they post on?
  • How many followers/fans do they have?
  • What type of organizations do they follow?
  • How frequently do they post?
  • What days of the week and times do they post?
  • What do they post about? Products, services, their team?
  • Which types of posts garner good engagement?
  • What types of media do they use? Videos? Infographics? Product photos? Team photos? Professional or casual photos?

Once you compile this basic data, a picture will emerge of how dedicated your competitors are to reaching their customers and prospects via social media – and how successful they are. 

For example, you may discover that a competitor uses infographics on their social channels to stand out and attract eyeballs. We recently pointed out that infographics aren’t as challenging to produce as you might think.

You might also determine which days and times of the week are ideal to post. Competitor images might inspire some ideas that you can easily adopt. You also might see that certain types of posts work better for your competition on different channels. A competitor may use Facebook to post about company culture, and their brand evangelists could reward those posts with likes, shares and comments. Twitter might be their outlet for sharing industry-related news; whereas LinkedIn might be their best channel for B2B news, offers or service explanations. 

It’s also a good idea to look at and make notes on the social media presence on your competitors’ websites:

  • Where are the links to their social channels? At the top of the page? The bottom? Both?
  • Do they use icons generally associated with the social channels (i.e. Twitter’s bird silhouette) or something custom?
  • Do the links go to their actual social media profiles and not to a generic page like facebook.com?
  • When you click a link to their social channel, does it open a new tab or does it take you off the site?

If there’s a large and active social audience for your industry, it might make sense to have linking icons at both the top and bottom of your navigation, so your customers and prospects can easily get to them. Having the links open in a new tab also is good for your average time spent on page metric in Google Analytics. 

Use keywords to find your competition

Google Ads’ Keyword Planner is a free tool that helps you identify relevant keywords for your business. You don’t have to advertise on Google to use this tool. The keyword planner provides a list of keywords and the average number of monthly searches for those keywords. With some relevant keywords, you can check who’s ranking for them by just typing them into Google and looking at the top-ranked results.

Look at the social channels and websites of the top results for those keywords to analyze whether they are truly your direct competitors. There are also free and paid tools that help you track, analyze and compare your competition on social media, such as Hootsuite and SEMRush.

Based on what you learned in your audit, you may be able to identify gaps in your social strategy. Are you lagging behind the competition or out in front of them? Are your posts garnering engagement? If your competitors can do it, why can’t you? What can you learn through this exercise? 

Maybe you don’t have the staffing in-house right now to dedicate to a social media strategy – or even the time to perform this exercise. We not only do social media competitive analysis for our customers, we also formulate their social strategy, produce a social media post calendar and actively post on behalf of the brand. Reach out today to take that responsibility off your list.

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