Social Media Competitive Analysis: The Pragmatic Guide

Whether you’re a new brand to the market or a niche leader working as an in-house digital marketer or at a social media agency, analyzing your marketing competitors is essential.

The benefit of competitive social media analysis is that you have the opportunity to explore your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

Analyzing your competitors on social media shows where your social media strategy stands and what you can do to get more leads.  

READ MORE: Drive your brand’s performance with Stefanini’s innovative digital media services.

Why Is Social Media Competitive Analysis Essential?

Social media marketing is about changing the way you value the content you come across. Without thorough competitor research and analysis, you cannot simply start a social media business.

But what exactly are the benefits of doing a social media competitor analysis before launching a social media campaign?

  1. To understand competitors’ activity
  2. To assess which platform works for your competitors
  3. Know what type of content works and how best to communicate with Internet users
  4. To identify gaps in your strategy
  5. Understand user engagement and brand awareness
  6. Understand which content works
  7.  Understand the budget needed to run large campaigns
  8. To understand the concept of ORM (Online Relationship Management)
  9. To learn their posting frequency
  10. Develop a strategy and create a monthly content bank.
  11. To build your own brand identity and tone

READ MORE: Choose the best digital marketing channel for your business.

5 Steps to Doing a Social Media Competitive Analysis.             

So, how do you perform a competitive analysis? This social media analysis example will help clear things up, and steps will help clear things up.

To compete with similar brands in your industry, you must conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis on social media.

Here are the steps to get started.

1. Find your competitors on social media

To begin competitive social media analysis, you must first identify your competitors and their platforms.

You may have an idea of your main competitors, but that’s not enough. You have to chase your successful social media competitors and grow their business thanks to it.

Find websites in your specific industry and explore each to measure their activity and the social media platforms they use.

2. Archive your data

After compiling a list of competitors, the next step is to collect data. Now, data collection depends on the platform upon which you are working.

Here is the example of Facebook Competitor Analysis:

First, manually check your competitor’s site. You will see how many followers and likes there are on the page. Notice if they have a special section on their page that is trending in your industry — this means it works for them, and you can take the example of the shop section enabled at the top of their page.

It would help if you didn’t assume that follower count is your complete analysis. You can also check if the type of content posted on the page, such as text, images, or videos, is exaggerated.

3. Evaluate the actions of your competitors

With the data collected, now is the time to understand how your competitors use these platforms.

  • Consider the following things:
  • When was the last post? 
  • Is there a long delay between the messages?
  • A quick or late response to comments?

You can quickly determine the social activity of your competing brands by answering these three questions.

4. Find out what kind of website content they have

Content marketing and social media are integral; hence, many businesses use blogs to create content to post on social media. Now you need to measure your competitors’ sites and their blogging sections.

When you reach their blog section and analyze the content, you’ll find out which content idea is right for you.

5. Put your data to work

Now you are done with all kinds of data, and therefore you need to use them in a relevant way. Using social media analytics, you can compare your activity to your competitors.      

READ MORE: Do you know there is more to digital marketing than social media? Click here to learn about marketing technology (martech)!

Social Media Competitive Analysis Tools                                           

What should a social media analysis include? And more importantly, what tools are available to facilitate this process? 

Pages to Watch: Facebook Analysis

Starting with Facebook, track the number of pages you like for each competitor. Then look at their posts over the past week or month and estimate their average posting frequency – once a week? Many times a day? Add it to your analysis document.

Facebook has a handy “Pages to Watch” feature within Facebook Insights, which allows you to keep an eye on your competitors. (Note: You must be an admin of your Page and have at least 100 Page Likes to use this feature.)

Pages to Watch shows you the total number of page likes for each brand (and the percentage change from last week), the number of posts shared this week and this week’s engagement.

We recommend visiting each competitor’s social channels to get an accurate engagement number for the competitor analysis. Estimate an average number of interactions (likes + comments + shares) per post for each competitor.

Then take the average engagement per post and divide it by the number of followers to get an engagement rate. A big brand like Starbucks will have far more attention in the mail than the local coffee shop down the street on social.

Want to know why this information is helpful? Marketers know that a highly engaged and loyal community of brand advocates is worth more than many indifferent followers.

If one or more of your competitors have a highly engaged community, they are the ones you want to pay attention to and see what they’re doing differently.

Tip: If you see very eye-catching messages, eye-catching images, or creative campaigns, take a screenshot, and add it to an “Inspirational Pictures” folder on your computer for the times you need inspiration.

Iconosquare: Instagram Analysis

Were you asking yourself, “How do you do competitive analysis on Instagram?” and not quite able to figure it out? We’ve got your back.

Iconosquare is a paid service. If your competitors are major brands, you can freely use the Iconosquare Brand Index to perform highly informative competitor research. The Brand Index is a catalog of over 5000 brands. Perform a search per brand to view information such as follower count, engagement rate, posts by hashtag, average post rate, and follower growth over the past 30 days.

Of course, suppose you cannot find your competitors in the brand index. In that case, it is not difficult to collect the information manually. Start by recording the number of followers.

To calculate the engagement rate, you can quickly calculate it by visiting their Instagram account on mobile and clicking on the scroll indicator icon. Doing this lets you quickly scroll through each post they’ve recently shared to see the number of likes and comments, giving you an average engagement rate. Use the same method to determine post frequency.

The final step is to search for the brand’s hashtag using the Instagram search feature. Note the number of posts shared with that hashtag.

Twitonomy: Twitter Analysis

For detailed insights into your competitors’ Twitter activity, check out a great free tool called Twitonomy. You can check out loads of helpful information with the free version, and there’s even a paid version if you want to dive deeper. You can analyze your account, and any other Twitter handles.

Twitonomy allows you to view the total number of tweets they shared during a given period, the average number of tweets per day, the number of retweeted and favorited tweets, etc. 

For our competitive analysis, we typically track tweets per day and the “retweeted tweets” percentage, which shows the percentage of their tweets that others have retweeted.

Other Social Channels

You should add data for any other major social networks your competitors are on, which may vary depending on your industry. If you’re B2B, LinkedIn is a big hit, and Pinterest is a go-to channel for most retail brands. Include the following information in your analysis document for these or others used by your competitors.

The Bottom Line

It is important to remember that competitive social media analytics is not a process where you look to clone every competitor’s business. It’s a guide to help you understand the social media game in a particular industry and use it to take your business to the next level.

Curious about leveraging social media strategies to drive sales and build loyalty? Read on!

Author bio: Ghia Marnewick is a creative content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and innovative content marketing services. She is passionate about finding new ways of sharing information with the world. 

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