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Calling all business owners, brands, social media managers, and everyone else in between. Let’s talk about something real that doesn’t get enough screen time – competition on social media. It can be stressful, uncomfortable, sometimes more aggressive than the Olympics, and most importantly, an unavoidable component of a successful social media strategy. But, where do you start? How do you maintain a sense of focus and brand confidence while researching the plays of your direct competitors? Purpose, direction, and a clear set process will allow you to compile, compare, and analyze the data you need to stand out from the crowd and remain strategic. In this blog, we’ll take you through the simple steps behind conducting a social media competitive analysis.
Importance of Conducting a Social Media Competitor’s Analysis
There are so many things outside of your control when it comes to social media like reach, views, the inner workings of Instagram’s algorithm, and so much more. One thing you can be certain about is making sure your brand stands out among similar entities in your niche.
Conducting a social media competitive analysis is a way to understand your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths by researching their content strategy, audience demographics, and social media metrics. By understanding how your competitors perform on social media, you are able to carve out a lane for yourself within a saturated field. Let’s break down the steps for conducting a social media competitor’s analysis.
Steps to Completing a Social Media Competitor Analysis
Now that you have an idea of the value they provide, let’s get into how to conduct a competitive analysis. Here are a few steps to help make the process easy to navigate.
Step 1: Identify Competitors – This is the absolute first step to completing your analysis. Find who your competitors are and aren’t. A good method is starting with your brand’s core keywords. For example: if you’re an Austin-based pilates studio, conduct Google and social searches for “pilates studio Austin” and take note of the ads and search results. These are likely your key competitors.
Step 2: Analyze the Competition – Focus on three to five of your top competitors, and get to know what they bring to the marketplace. What services, products or attributes make them unique? Who are their target audiences? What social media networks are they on, and how are they leveraging each network? Who do they follow and engage with?
Step 3: Compare Metrics – Conduct a side-by-side comparison of key measurement parameters like audience size, average engagement rates, post frequency, hashtag usage, etc., to gain an understanding of the inner workings of their strategy.
Step 4: Compile your Learnings – Perform a S.W.O.T. analysis using all the data from your research. This analysis allows you to understand your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and turn these learnings into a tailored social strategy.
What is Social Listening and Why is it Important
Another helpful technique for conducting a social media competitive analysis is practicing social listening. Social listening essentially provides you with the scoop on every time your brand is mentioned on social media whether positive, neutral, or negative. It sees and hears all.
Social listening provides an opportunity to monitor both your mentions and your competitor’s mentions.
By setting up alerts for both of your brands, you can maintain a pulse on your share of voice in the marketplace, pivot your strategy in real-time based on commentary, and ultimately have a direct line to your shared audiences. It's a win-win scenario. Here are a few tools to help you get started in the world of social listening.
Helpful Tools for Conducting a Social Media Competitive Analysis
- Twitter Advanced Search – Twitter’s Advanced Search feature is newish and allows brands to search their mentions on Twitter. Since Twitter is the epicenter of users sounding off about products or brands they like and don’t like, it’s perfect for compiling research for your analysis. In this blog post we break down how to use Twitter’s Advanced search feature.
- Instagram Explore Page – Instagram’s Explore Page is perfect for brands looking to gain more insights into the content that ranks favorably in their social sphere.
- PLANOLY Analyze – Once you’ve identified your top competitors, you can start comparing their social media metrics and audience insights alongside yours. PLANOLY’s Analyze feature provides you with high-level audience and engagement insights to compare.
That’s the quick and dirty lowdown on conducting a social media competitor analysis! Start applying this process to your new or existing social strategy to ensure your brand maintains a competitive edge and shines among the competition.