In Digital Marketing it seems like we are always wondering how we stack up to our competition. How much money are they spending on Digital Advertising? How many keywords do they rank for on Google page 1? How high is their click through rate on email? These are all common things we think of when assessing our digital marketing program compared to our top competition. An area you might be overlooking is how your social media strategy stacks up against your smallest and even largest competitors. But where do you even begin with putting together a social media competitive analysis? Once you identify your top 3-5 competitors, here are some areas we suggest you examine.
Identifying the KPIs that you are most interested in understanding is crucial to a solid competitive analysis. Key data you will want to look at would include how many followers they have, how much content they are posting each week, what channels they are most active on, and how many likes, shares comments, retweets and overall engagement each post receives. Follower growth used to be the “holy grail” of identifying a solid social media program. But today, a lot more weight is placed on engagement rate due to the implications that high and low engagement rates can have on a page being seen in the newsfeed of social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. If your largest competitor has 50,000+ social media followers, but their engagement rate is less than 1%, there is something wrong with their strategy. Maybe they purchased a lot of their followers so they aren’t really people who would engage with their posts. Or maybe they are publishing content that is simply not resonating with their audience.
The types of content your competitors are sharing on social media can be crucial to you understanding what your audience wants to see. Key areas to look at when it comes to content is what type of content they are sharing (blogs, white papers, thought leadership, corporate culture) and in what format (video, static images, GIFs). Other criteria to assess when analyzing their content strategy can also include their use of hashtags and timing of posting (AM vs. PM and week vs. weekend). You really want to understand what content is resonating best in order to feed your content strategy. And this may differ for each social network. Instagram is a photo/video first network where you would want to include more personal “behind the scenes” looks at your brand. On LinkedIn, people are there for more thought leadership and education where things like blogs and whitepapers may perform a lot better.
Identifying what influencers are talking about your competitors is crucial to understanding who you want to engage with your brand. Influencers can be media, analysts, or key decision makers within your industry. Utilizing advanced search on Twitter or looking at key comments on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can help you identify those types of influencers. Many brands also keep various Twitter lists where they may bucket these types of twitter users. If the lists are private, you will not be able to see who they consider influential, but if they are public lists this is a good place to browse for key influencers in the space.
Competitive Analysis Tools
While some of this analysis can be done manually, social media managers can greatly benefit by having this be an automated process where you can produce new competitive analysis and reports as often as you’d like. There are a handful of fantastic social media monitoring tools on the market that can help you with this. Some of our favorites are Rival IQ, BuzzSumo, and socialinsider. Not only do these tools automate the reporting process, they can also offer extra features like determining what posts might be boosted, changes in competitor profile information and Boolean keyword searches to help narrow down your data.
Insight on what your competitors are doing can make a powerful impact on your business. You can use competitive intelligence to develop new products and services, prepare your sales and marketing teams to counter their claims, and get ideas for new marketing campaigns. Your competitors are constantly broadcasting their messages social media, digital ad platforms, and their own website, but it’s often difficult to check these sites every time there is a change in order to stay on top. The Nowspeed team are experts in conducting these social media competitive analysis reports. Learn more about our social media marketing services and how we can help you understand your competition.