A vital step in creating a social media strategy for your business is conducting a thorough analysis of your competitors to see how your brand stacks up.
When done correctly, a social media competitor analysis will offer key insights into your competitors’ products and services, content strategy, advertising goals, and overall approach to social media.
Though a social media analysis of the competition can give you valuable insights into what works in your industry, some areas you might need to improve and how to shape your social strategy moving forward, you should be careful about getting too caught up in comparing yourself to others.
So, how exactly do you conduct a social media competitor analysis? We break it down into 9 easy to follow steps below:
1. Identify Your Competitors
Do you know who your top 3 competitors are?
Before you can conduct a social media audit, it’s important to identify brands that align with your business i.e. your competitors.
Don’t just look at your direct competitors, but also indirect competitors, replacement competitors and even others in different markets or related industries that aren’t your competitors at all.
- Direct competitors are competitors that are the most obvious. They offer products and services that are more or less the same as yours.
- Indirect competitors are businesses that sell the same products as you but also specialize in other areas.
- Replacement competitors don’t have to offer the exact same products or services as you do, but they do compete for the same customer base.
2. Define Your Goals and KPIs
Once you’ve identified your competitors, it’s time to define your goals. Conducting a social media audit without a clear purpose in mind won’t benefit your business.
Defining your goals and how you’ll measure them will not only help hold you accountable but serve as a guide for your strategy and budget.
Do you want to…
- Increase brand awareness?
- Generate leads and sales?
- Increase community engagement?
- Grow your brand’s audience?
- Increase website traffic?
3. Choose the Platforms You’ll Audit
Now it’s time to start your audit. Search your competitor’s profiles to find out on which platforms they’re the most active.
Start with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but don’t forget other popular platforms like YouTube, Linkedin and even TikTok.
Take note of where they are investing their time and resources and areas of opportunity they may be missing.
4. Monitor Performance Over Time
Once you’ve identified where your competitors are most active on social media, it’s time to dig a little deeper to understand how they engage and grow their audiences. Here are some metrics you’ll want to track:
- How many followers do they have?
- On average, how many posts do they publish each week?
- Where are they more active?
- How many likes, shares, or comments does each post receive?
- What types of content do they share?
- Are they running any ads or boosting posts?
- Do they use live video?
- What is their image to video post ratio?
- What information is included in their profiles?
- What tone of voice do they use on their profile updates?
- How well do their followers interact with these posts?
- What branding methods do they apply?
Use the information you gather to gain insight into a competitor’s digital strategy and spark content inspiration.
5. Evaluate Their Content Strategy
A well-defined content strategy is one of the most important aspects of social media management.
People are not interested in content that doesn’t serve a purpose or answer one of their needs.
Evaluate your competitor’s content strategy to identify areas they’re outperforming you and content ideas you may have overlooked.
What types of content do they post? Is it text, photos, videos or links? How much of their content is original, promotional, curated, or educational?
Pay attention to:
Pay close attention to how often they post on social media. Along with best practices for each platform, this will help you make decisions about your own content calendar.
6. Take a Look at Engagement
It’s easy to get caught up in the number of followers your competitors have, especially if they have significantly more than you. But remember, engagement rates are key to growth and social media success.
Follow these aspects to find out how your competitors perform:
- Number of posts they publish
- Number of replies
- Number of likes
- Response time
- How they respond to clients
Keep an eye on the following metrics:
- Profile engagement and engagement rate
- Organic post engagement
- Boosted post engagement
- Engagement over time (day to day, month to month)
- Post types ranked by engagement
- Hashtag engagement
- Likes, comments, share
7. Understand Engagement
Choose 10 random posts (or a month’s worth of data) to analyze if you want to dig a little deeper into understanding how people engage with their content.
Note how many likes, comments, shares/retweets each post gets to obtain an average for each engagement.
8. Determine When People Are Most Active
Social media is a great way to amplify your brand awareness. But, it’s not enough to just post content whenever you feel like it.
The content you post should be well-researched and add value to your customers. It should also be timely.
Identify when most users are active on each social network so you know the best time to connect with them. Doing so will help increase your chances of reaching highly targeted consumers in large numbers.
9. Check Out Their Ad Strategy
Social media success requires striking the right balance between organic and paid content. When conducting a social media audit, don’t forget to perform a competitive analysis for paid media.
You probably won’t be able to find the actual amount your competitors spend on paid social media ad campaigns, but you can find out if they are spending money. This will give you a clear idea of what areas of focus they are investing in.
Check out the page transparency section on their Facebook profile to see any ads they are currently running.
On Twitter, if they appear under the “Who to Follow” column on the left side of your feed, you know they’re paying to get more Twitter followers.
Lastly, you can browse through their social pages to look for any sponsored ads or posts on each platform individually.
Take note of engagement, the number of sponsored posts and the ratio of organic versus paid posts to gain insight into their social media advertising strategy.
Want to see how your business stacks up against your competitors on social media? Let us do the heavy lifting for you! A well-researched social media strategy can help your business increase brand awareness, stay top of mind, generate leads, and boost sales. Get in touch today to get started.