Good social media marketing is all about the data. Your competitors and your own. And it’s really not as dull as it sounds!
A competitor social media audit helps you collect interesting, relevant data on your competition’s social media presence. You can then use this data and compare it with your own to identify opportunities and see how you can make your own social media strategy even more effective.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit collates all data and metrics relevant to a business’s social media presence.
While the two terms are often used interchangeably, a social media audit differs from a social media competitive analysis. To put it simply, an audit is the process of gathering all your key data. The analysis is where you dive into this data to understand how to use it to improve your social strategy.
Carrying out a social media audit of your competitors’ pages should be a vital part of every social media marketing strategy.
Why do a social media competitive analysis and audit?
An audit of your competitor’s social media platforms is a systematic way to collect data about what your competitors are doing on social media. The data you collect from your competitor audits will help you conduct a more thorough social media competitive analysis.
An audit and an analysis of your competition will help give you more insights into your own brand and social media presence. They can help you:
- Benchmark your own social media performance against your competitors.
- Find ways to improve your content.
- Better your social media interactions with your customers.
- Find the best time to post on your social media networks.
- Get a better understanding of your brand voice.
- Dive deeper into your target audience‘s preferences on social media.
- Identify new opportunities for content, collaborations, and overall growth.
9 steps to do a social media competitor analysis and audit
A social media audit is a comprehensive data-gathering effort. Collecting all the relevant data about your competition will help you understand how your brand stacks up against others in the industry.
Remember that a comprehensive social media audit will require you to record a lot of data. Depending on how many competitors you plan to audit and analyze, this data could run into pages.
Have a plan for how you’re going to organize all the data and metrics you collect. It may be helpful to do a Google search for competitive analysis templates. They can help you get started and organize all your information in a functional, practical way. We share some helpful tools and templates below as well.
Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at the nine essential steps for a comprehensive social media audit.
1. Make a list of competitor brands
Begin by identifying who your competitors are on social media. You may already be aware of who your main digital marketing competitors are in general. It’s now important to identify if it’s the same in the social media context as well. You may find some of the same names and some new ones too.
Depending on your industry, your research may yield several competitors. Auditing them all probably isn’t the best use of your time. Narrow your list down to the top three to five brands with the best social media presence (you can probably identify this at a glance).
Remember, the goal here is to gather enough data, so you know what to compare yourself against. There’s no point in auditing several accounts if there’s no extra information to be learned from them.
2. Identify which social networks you’re competing on
Armed with your list of competitors, it’s now time to turn your sights toward their social channels. For each of your competitors, check out their social media presence. You should be able to find their social media pages via their website. If not, you could look it up on search engines or even on the social platforms themselves.
Identify which social networks they’re on. Record everything from their Facebook page URL to their TikTok account for easy reference once you begin your analysis.
If you’re more interested in one platform, record the data more extensively for that platform. For example, you may be more interested in learning how brands are maximizing their LinkedIn presence and don’t really care too much about TikTok, focus on recording the data that matters to you.
3. Get to know their followers
Next, it’s time to look at your competitor’s followers on social media.
- Record the follower count across different platforms.
- Identify their top followers and most loyal fans.
- Understand their demographic data such as age, gender, location, etc.
- Use social media monitoring and social listening tools to monitor conversations around your competitor’s brand. This will give you an idea of what your (shared) target audience is saying about them on social media.
You may be able to get a lot of this information by simply visiting your competition’s social profiles. However, for more detailed data, you may need to make use of some of the tools we’ve highlighted below.
4. Evaluate their social media brand
A big part of analyzing your competition’s social media profiles is also evaluating how they represent their brand on social media.
- Do they have a consistent brand voice?
- Do their profile images reflect their brand?
- Are they serious, or are they a more fun brand?
- Are they making the most of their bios?
- Is customer service part of the social media brand?
- Do they use different tones for different audiences?
Make notes on their color schemes, imagery, brand voice, and tone in your audit document. This will come in handy later when you’re trying to refine your own social media brand voice.
5. Check out their content strategy
Obviously, auditing content marketing is very important for a thorough audit.
- Identify the types of content they share.
- Take notes on their different content topics or themes.
- Check if they share different types of content on different channels. Make notes on the differences.
- See if they share user-generated content.
- Try to spot the types of content that seem to get the highest amount of interaction from their audience.
When auditing the content, you should also look at some other key elements of content marketing. This includes:
- Analyzing and recording engagement rates and the quality of engagement on their content.
- Deep diving into their hashtag strategy and analyzing which hashtags.
6. Take notes on their influencer marketing
Influencer marketing strategy has become essential to many businesses’ social media strategies. This type of marketing allows your brand to get out in front of those people more naturally and conversationally and is far less pushy and salesy. It doesn’t matter if a brand is big or small; clever influencer marketing can be helpful for almost any business.
When analyzing your competitors, take notes on whether they’re working with influencers. If they are, note down who the influencers are, what type of campaigns they’re collaborating on, and what kind of content they’re creating for the brand. This insight may help refine your own influencer marketing strategy down the line.
7. Figure out their posting schedule
When you post content to your social media accounts can have a significant impact on the ultimate performance of your content and page. With hours of work spent creating content, there’s nothing more disappointing when a post doesn’t get the engagement you’d hoped for.
This is why it’s important not only to identify your best time to post but also to learn from your competitor’s posting schedules.
- Identify if they have a regular posting schedule.
- Note the times they post.
- Check if they post consistently or if it seems more ad hoc.
- See if they share much in real-time or if most of the social shares are automated with the help of tools.
8. Analyze all your data
The final step of your social media audit is analyzing all the competitor data you’ve collected so far. Analyze everything from follower count and content to engagement rates and consistent branding. Make extensive notes.
You should also attempt to better understand your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses vs. yours. This will empower you to identify opportunities for growth and improvement better.
The competitive analysis will help you better define your social media marketing strategy. You will be better informed and your approach to marketing on social media will be backed by extensive research and data instead of just winging it.
Top social media audit tools and templates
Your social media marketing competitor audit process can be made a lot easier with the help of competitor analysis tools and templates. These tools can help you find the information you need in much less time than it would take to do it manually.
Plus, many of these tools can help you collate much more information than you would be able to find manually. Or at least, more efficiently. For example, manually trying to calculate engagement rates of your competitor’s social media accounts may become a pain to do. An audit tool can simplify this process and show you the engagement rates for different pages without much effort at all.
If you’re looking to audit only a specific social media channel, be sure to research the best tools for that platform. Many of the social networks come with their own built-in free tools to help you collect data but often, tools like Instagram Insights are only available for you to analyze your own social media metrics—not someone else’s.
Here’s a list of some helpful tools and templates:
Excel or Google spreadsheets
If you’re looking for a simple way to get started with your audits, an excel or Google spreadsheet audit template can be very helpful. You can create your own or just search on Google, and you’re likely to find lots of free templates that you can download and customize for your own needs.
While these spreadsheets may not be as advanced as some of the tools we discuss below, they can be a great starting point for those new to social media auditing.
SWOT analysis template
Similarly, downloading a free SWOT analysis template from the internet can be very helpful when you’re analyzing your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s a simple, easy-to-use template, and of course, you can also put it to work for your own SWOT analysis.
BuzzSumo is a powerful content marketing tool that can deliver extraordinary insights into your competitors’ content for you. You can use it to monitor social media conversations, analyze content, find and optimize your influencer marketing strategy, and benchmark your own performance with competitor intelligence.
Mention is a better version of Google Alerts. It enables brands and agencies to monitor the web and listen to their audience with ease. It can be great for uncovering important conversations on social media about a particular brand or industry.
Followerwonk is a popular Twitter auditing tool. It can be beneficial to analyze your competitor’s follower data. You can also use it to analyze the most common hashtags they use.
RivalIQ is a powerful social media analytics tool that allows you to comprehensively analyze your competitor’s metrics and compare them against your own data. While it’s a paid tool, it can help deliver deep insights into what your competitors are up to on social media.
Phlanx is especially useful if you’re trying to analyze Instagram’s engagement data. This free tool lets you calculate your competitor’s engagement rates, but if you upgrade and pay, you can get more details and a full Instagram audit.
For best results: benchmark your data against theirs
There’s no point in collecting all this information and data about your competitor’s social media strategy if you’re not also looking at your own metrics.
Use tools and templates to benchmark your data against your competitors to see where you stand. Carry out these audits and analyses on regular basis to ensure you’re not relying on old data. This will help you uncover more of the competition’s strategies and use it as an opportunity for your own growth.
Finally, like many brands, if Instagram is your main platform of choice, Sked Social may be the tool you’ve been looking for. Sked is a social media management and scheduling tool designed to improve Instagram marketing. Its built-in analytics tools can help you record and understand your Instagram performance. You can also use this data to compare your own performance with your competitor’s Instagram accounts.
Learn how Sked Social can make social media audits and analysis easier. Sign up for a free 7-day trial today.