Want to succeed at social media marketing while staying one step ahead of your rivals?
How? With a study of the competition in social media!
When compared to your competitors’ social media strategies, a competitive analysis reveals how effective your brand’s approach is. In addition, it assists you in identifying new chances for social media use and potential threats to your company.
This manual will step-by-step walk you through the process of conducting a social media competitor analysis. For assistance in getting started, we’ll also provide you with the best resources and a free template.
What is a competitive analysis of social media?
An analysis of your competition’s social media activity to determine your strengths and weaknesses and how you compare is known as a social media competitive analysis.
You can gain insightful knowledge about your target audience and learn what they like and don’t like by investigating and analyzing the social media strategies of your competitors.
A social media competitive analysis can also help out in these scenarios:
●determining your competitors’ social media presence,
●the platforms they use,
●how they create content for their networks,
●how much engagement their content receives,
●social media competitive analysis will also assist you in
●The weaknesses in your social media marketing plan
●Social media threats that might be present to your brand
Why should you conduct a social media competitor analysis?
As we’ve already mentioned, conducting a competitive analysis on social media can help you learn a lot about your audience, which probably has some overlap with that of your rivals.
These data points can help direct your social media marketing efforts. They consist of:
•Social media marketing strategies that are successful (and unsuccessful) for the audiences of your competitors;
•Suggestions for the best times to share content on social media (since it’s likely that your audiences are online at comparable times);
•some ideas for engaging content and tone of voice for your audience:
•new market trends and topics;
•the problems that your target audience faces;
•niches or opportunities that competing brands in your industry aren’t yet exploiting
Overall, monitoring the social media activity of your competitors will help you better understand the market and establish the proper goals for your brand’s social presence.
To get the most out of it, however, you must put in the effort. If you’re just getting started with social media, for instance, you can compile a single social media competitive report, or you can hire someone to regularly monitor the social media activity of your rivals.
A monthly or quarterly analysis is ideal for many businesses. However you decide to pacing, the insights you gain will be priceless.
Four steps to conducting a social media competitive analysis
We have simplified the social media competitor analysis process into four easy steps that can be used by any business.
1. Determine your competitors
If you don’t even know who your competitors are or which social media platforms they utilize, it’s impossible to analyze them on social media. Here’s where to look for them:
Discover your important keywords.
You likely already have an idea of the keywords you want your company to rank for before you even begin.
If you operate an interior design studio in Subang Jaya, for instance, you’ll probably want to rank for terms like “fashion stores in Subang Jaya” and “Subang clothing stores.” However, if your business deals in reasonably priced clothing, you are aware that Hermés and Gucci are not your main rivals.
Knowing your priority keywords will enable you to identify your true online rivals.
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great place to start when looking for target keywords for your brand. This free tool can examine your website and provide you with a list of pertinent keywords along with information on their typical search volume and level of competition.
Here are a few of the keywords that Keyword Planner discovered
Simply enter your target keywords into the tool to get related keywords if you already know them. These related terms can help you focus your list of potential competitors so you can research companies that are actually in your field of business competition.
Look at who is listed as the top search result for those keywords.
Google is the best resource for locating your rivals.
Enter 5 to 10 of the most pertinent keywords for your brand into Google. Examine the search engine results pages (SERPs) to identify the companies that come up frequently for those keywords.
Pay close attention to companies that invest money to achieve their marketing objectives by purchasing Google Ads to appear at the top of organic search results. Even though these companies don’t yet appear highly on SERPs, you should look at how they perform on social media.
Check out the websites of the companies that appear to be competitors. The header or footer of most websites contain links to the social media pages of the brands.
Put those links in your spreadsheet for your competitive analysis because that’s what you’ll be looking at next.
Verify the people who show up in social searches for your main keywords.
It’s not always the case that brands that perform well for your keywords in search engines also perform well for them in social networks.
Since you’re conducting a competitor analysis on social media, you should concentrate on rivals that perform well in social search results.
For instance, enter your keyword in the search bar and select Pages from the left column to find competitors on Facebook.
Learn which brands your audience prefers that are similar to yours.
Searching for similar brands that your audience follows on social media is another way to identify competitors. These insights can be obtained well using Twitter Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights.
You don’t have to look through your entire audience on Twitter, for instance. Check the companies that your top followers are affiliated with instead. This is how to do it:
●Open Twitter Analytics (link: Twitter Analytics),
●Scroll down to see who has followed you most recently,
●Click View Profile for each of these people,
●You can view the complete list of the accounts they follow by clicking Following on their profile.
●You can also click Tweets & Replies to view the accounts they interact with.
Add them to your list of rivals whenever you come across a brand that is similar and that your audience engages with.
Pick up to five rivals to concentrate on.
You currently have a likely lengthy list of potential rivals—far more than you have time to thoroughly research. So, narrow down your list to the top five companies that you compete with most fiercely on social media.
2. Collect your data
You can start researching what your top five rivals are doing on social media once you know who they are.
Recall the social media links you received from the websites of the brands? Visit those profiles and record the following information in your template for social media competitor analysis.
•On which social media sites are your rivals active?
•How many followers do they currently have, and how quickly is that number increasing?
•What is their approach to content? How well-balanced are the texts, images, and videos?
•How frequently do they publish content?
•How many interactions do their posts receive?
•What articles receive the most interaction (likes, shares, comments, etc.)?
•What vocal timbre do they employ? formal, informal, or in conversation?
•Why does their content serve a purpose? Is it fun, instructive, promotional, or something completely different?
•Is influence marketing used by them? If so, what types of influencers do they work with and how much participation do these campaigns receive?
How many hashtags are used by them?
What hashtags do they use the most frequently?
Investigate each of these topics on your own channels as well. This will support your analysis in Step 3 of the process.
Manually collecting this information can be time-consuming, so there is no shame in using specialized social media management tools (check out the ones mentioned below).
3. Conduct a SWOT analysis.
Once you have all the information you require, the next step is to evaluate it to see how your company compares to its rivals. You must carefully examine your company during this evaluation and take note of the following:
●S – Strengths
●W – Weaknesses
●O – Opportunities
●T – Threats
Your internal factors include your strengths and weaknesses. You must examine your company and determine where you are succeeding and where you are lacking in order to identify these.
Threats and opportunities, on the other hand, are outside forces. To find ways to strengthen your strategy and pinpoint any potential issues, you must critically evaluate your competition.
A thorough SWOT analysis goes beyond simply examining your weekly posting frequency or the number of likes on your posts. It involves a thorough analysis of your brand’s overall social media marketing plan.
Strengths highlight the areas where your company excels, often outperforming most of its rivals.
Check to see if you:
●Write your posts in your brand voice
●Make your branding obvious on all of your social media channels to determine your areas of strength.
●Use graphics that are consistent with your brand’s colors.
●Have an active social media community.
●Posts that have gone viral (and try to figure out what caused them to go viral). Have more followers than your rivals.
After congratulating yourself on all your accomplishments, it’s time to pinpoint any weaknesses that prevent your company from taking advantage of social media to the fullest.
Look for them where your company is falling behind rivals in order to find them. You want to strengthen these areas through A/B testing and adjusting your social media strategy.
Ask (and respond to) questions like:
•Which social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or somewhere else—does your target audience spend the most time on? Are you skipping over any significant platforms? Or are you utilizing platforms that aren’t advantageous for your company?
•Do you publish frequently? Or was your schedule unpredictable?
•Which metrics could you make better? Impressions? Engagement?
•Do your rivals perform better than you on any particular social media channels? What exactly are they changing?
Be aware that you may have both strengths and weaknesses for each social platform as you ask yourself these questions. For instance, while you might have more Instagram followers than your rivals, they might have higher engagement rates.
It’s critical to be specific because of this. You can find opportunities and threats for your business by differentiating between these metrics.
Now that you are aware of your weaknesses in comparison to your rivals, start looking for chances to profit from them.
Depending on the data you’ve gathered, these opportunities may be areas you want to improve, or they may be based on modifications to the online environment (e.g. platforms introducing new types of content).
As TikTok is growing rapidly, for instance, many brands and creators are seizing the chance and incorporating the platform into their social media strategies.
You should pay attention to the following:
●Have any new social media functions or platforms recently been introduced? You might be the first to use them if your rivals haven’t already.
●Have you been gaining popularity solely through organic social media? If you haven’t used social media advertising, try testing a campaign to boost your results.
●Does your audience prefer watching shorter videos over longer ones? Think about incorporating YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels into your content strategy.
Threats are external factors, just like opportunities. Examine what might have a long-term negative impact on your social performance to find social threats to your company.
Here are a few possible dangers:
●Market-leading rivals entering your niche and expanding quickly;
●social trend changes that could impact how visible your company is;
●and dissatisfied clients.
You might discover that certain threats already exist in some circumstances. For instance, a rival with few Facebook posts but a high engagement rate
could pose a greater threat than a rival with frequent but low-quality Facebook posts.
You should therefore keep an eye on the market for potential changes that could allow your rivals to outperform your brand.
4. Monitor social media to keep your analysis current.
You must constantly update your social media competitive analysis with new data about market trends and any emerging competition. As part of your quarterly or annual reports, you should do this on a regular basis.
Developing a social media monitoring strategy that works will enable you to gather up-to-date data for your upcoming competitive analysis.
It assists you in keeping tabs on discussions involving your company and those of your rivals and in responding to the feedback you get on social media, blogs, websites, forums, review sites, and other digital channels. This can make it simple for you to spot potential opportunities and prevent errors.
Any significant information you find through social media monitoring should be noted in the Notes column of your competitive analysis template. Include that information in your opportunities or threats the following time you conduct a review.
5 best tools for social media competitor analysis
We described how to directly collect information about your rivals from social media platforms in Step 2. However, carrying it out manually can be very tiresome.
Use these specialized tools to simplify your competitive analysis on social media.
1. Hootsuite Streams
You can monitor keywords, hashtags, and competitors across all social media platforms with Hootsuite Streams. All you need to do is combine all of your rivals’ social media accounts into a single stream so you can spy on them whenever you want. While this tool is excellent for monitoring your rivals, it is capable of much more.
Spying on your rivals is pointless if you’re not going to review and share the data you find.
That is why Brandwatch is available. You can use this tool to examine the social share of voice for your brand (SOV).
The number of online conversations about your company as opposed to your competitors is referred to as your SOV. Your authority and visibility among social media users and potential customers will increase the more people talk about you.
One of the most crucial metrics to monitor is SOV, and Brandwatch provides this data in the form of simple-to-read graphs.
Synapview is a tool that helps you find your competitors’ social media accounts automatically so you can follow them.
You can track your rivals’ hashtags, keywords, and activity on a variety of social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, and blogs, using this tool.
With the help of Mentionlytics, a potent social media monitoring tool, you can keep tabs on every discussion involving your company, your rivals, or certain keywords on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. as well as other online resources like blogs, news, forums, etc.
You can always be aware of what people are saying about your brand thanks to this excellent coverage. In fact, Mentionlytics’ “sentiment analysis” feature aids in identifying the topics and methods of these conversations.
With more than 150 million sources, including social networks, forums, blogs, news, videos, and reviews, Talkwalker is a social listening tool with a vast library of insights. This implies that you can monitor your rivals and market trends outside of social media.
Talkwalker’s “virality map” feature provides information about various global trends so that you can enhance your marketing campaigns. You can see how your company or content is doing on social media platforms thanks to the real-time analytics and reporting.
You should keep track of all the data you discover while conducting your social media competitor analysis in a document or report that you can distribute to other business stakeholders.
You could make your own spreadsheet for this purpose, but if you prefer to get started quickly with data collection, analysis, and implementation, download Hootsuite’s free social media competitor analysis template.
Because this template has all the required columns, you can immediately begin entering the data you gather. Additionally, it includes a tab for your SWOT analysis so you can easily keep track of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.