If you don’t know what your rivals are doing online, now is the best time to learn how to analyze competitors on social media.
I have continuously preached about rising above the noise. But you can’t rise above it when you don’t know what your competitors are doing better.
However, competitive analysis isn’t solely about spying on your competition and comparing yourself to others. It is your opportunity to uncover valuable insights like the strategies that will work or not work in your industry.
So, before we get to the how, let’s understand the concept involved.
What is Competitive Market Analysis?
Competitive analysis involves researching your major social media competitors to gain insights into their products, marketing tactics, and sales. The competitive analysis allows you to evaluate your competitor’s current social media strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
It also involves benchmarking your social media strategies against the top performers in your industry. It enables you to identify new opportunities for growth and strategies you can improve to raise your performance levels.
In summary, a social media competitive analysis should help you achieve the following objectives:
- Identify your competitors on social media
- Know which social media platforms your competitors are using
- Identify how your competitors are using the various social media platforms to gain a competitive advantage
- Understand which of their social media and content strategies are working and those that aren’t
- Identify gaps in your social media marketing strategy
- Benchmark your social media results against the competitors
- Identify threats to your social media sites
Now let’s turn our focus on the process of how to analyze competitors on social media.
1. Identify Your Social Media Competitors
To analyze your competitors on social media, first know who they are. Here is how you do it:
Identify Your Competitive Keywords
When doing your social media strategy, you researched keywords that would help your content rank. Therefore, you already have a tool you use to research the most competitive keywords for your social media content.
You will use the same tool, but this time, focus on keywords that highlight the brands in your industry. For example, let’s say your business is a financial consulting firm in LA.
The keywords you will research include:
- Best financial consulting firm in LA
- Best financial consulting firm in California
- Affordable financial consulting firm in LA
- Financial Consultation Services in LA
- LA financial consultation firms
Check Who’s Ranking for Those Keywords in Google
Once you have a list of the top and related keywords, take note of their related average monthly searches and competition levels.
Perform a Google search of the top-ranking keywords and observe the brands on top in the results list. Visit their websites, and you will find links to their social media profiles.
Fine-tune the Keyword Search to Social Media Sites
The brands that rank high for your keywords in your Google search may not necessarily be the ones on top of social media. Therefore, you must be sure of the brands that come on top of social search results since you are analyzing social media competitors.
For example, Facebook has a search box where you can enter the same keywords as in your browser. You will get more relevant results by clicking on the ‘Pages’ tab to see the existing brands.
Identify Similar Brands Your Audience Follows
Your social media analytics also provide excellent data for analyzing your competitors. For example, Twitter analytics and Facebook audience insights offer details of other brands your audience follows on social media.
So, you can qualify a brand your audiences follow as a competitor if the company is in your industry. Customers in the consideration stage are more likely to follow several brands in the same industry to help them identify which is best suited to their needs.
Narrow Down the List of Your Competitors
Your analysis will be more insightful if you focus on a few top competitors. Remember, you want to be at the top of your industry, and these brands may stand in your way.
Narrow down your list to no more than five of the top brands. Ensure these brands also serve your target niche, as these are your direct competitors.
2. Gather Insights and Data on Your Top Competitors
You can see why I insisted on narrowing down your competitors to five brands. You have to start gathering data on these brand’s social media efforts and performance.
Here is where you get your ‘hands dirty.’ The process involves spying on the selected competitors by going through their social media pages.
Make sure you gather insights on the following details about your competitors.
- What social media platforms are your competitors active on?
- What type of content are they sharing on social media?
- How often are your competitors posting?
- What is your competitor’s brand voice on social media?
- How the target audience is engaging with the competitor’s content?
- What hashtags and how many do your competitors use on their posts?
- How large is their following, and how fast is it growing?
These insights will enable you to compare their performance with that of your business. Therefore, as soon you are done collecting your top competitors’ data, ensure you do the same for your business.
3. Compare Your Performance Against the Competitors
The only way to know where you stand in the competition charts is by plotting against the competitors. That entails using competitive analysis techniques such as SWOT to compare the data you just collected.
A SWOT analysis allows you to utilize qualitative and quantitative metrics to gauge where your brand stands against the competition. The analysis focuses on a specific niche; hence, your findings will enable you to develop strategies that offer you a competitive edge.
Image: an example of a social media SWOT analysis
Ultimately, the SWOT analysis will help you uncover the following details about your brand and competitors.
- What are your competitors doing better than you?
- What are you doing better than your competitors?
- What new market trends are your competitors taking advantage of?
- Who or what poses a danger to your brand’s position in the market niche?
- Where are your competitors struggling?
4. Utilize Social Media Competitive Analysis Tools
Social media competitive analysis tools make it a lot easier to analyze your competitors against your performance. The tools will do much of the heavy lifting and even provide insights on improving your performance.
For example, it is a tedious process going through all your competitors’ social media pages and evaluating their content, strategies, and customer engagement. But, the tools will allow you to gather platform-specific data for all your top competitors.
Social media platforms ranked by popularity
On the other hand, the tools will be vital in performing your social media SWOT analysis. Some tools even provide results across all social media platforms on one page. Therefore, you will have an easier time analyzing your collected data.
Some of these social media competitive analysis tools we love include:
- Hootsuite analytics
- Sprout Social
- Meta Business Suite
5. Improve Your Social Media Data Strategy
All the data you’ve collected and the analysis you have done will only matter if it helps you improve your social media performance. The data will boost your business intelligence for better decision-making.
Therefore, you are now armed with all the ingredients to make the perfect social media strategy. Go ahead and adjust your strategy where you find it necessary to do so.
Hint: look at the SWOT analysis once again and find out the opportunities your brand should exploit.
Still Feeling Lost in the Maze?
The tips I have provided here should help you effectively analyze your competitors on social media. But they will only come to fruition if you can create a social media strategy that enables you to rise above your competitors. Therefore, if you feel lost, hire our consultation services. We’ll help you develop a competitive strategy based on the data we collect from your social media competitor analysis.