To stay ahead of your competition on social media, you have to stay informed about their social media performance, and that’s where a social media competitor analysis comes in. A social media competitor analysis is one of the most valuable exercises that you can do for your brand’s social media channels and wider digital marketing strategy.
This highly productive exercise can give you a better idea of where you stand against others in your industry by uncovering what social media strategies are working for your competitors, and which are not. This not only gives you valuable insight into the social media landscape of your industry but also provides you with a chance to scope out new opportunities and take notice of any upcoming threats.
A social media competitive analysis isn’t about copying other brands in your industry but about reviewing what is and isn’t working for your industry as a whole. With this information, you will then have a better chance of directing your own social strategy and coming up with new, more creative ideas for your social media channels.
If you don’t want your brand to get left behind on social media then let’s dive into everything you need to know about conducting a social media competitive analysis.
What is a social media competitive analysis?
A social media competitive analysis is essentially an examination of your social media competitors and the effectiveness of their current social media strategies. A competitive analysis will consider your competitor’s social media strengths and weaknesses to see how your own brand’s social media efforts compare.
This involves benchmarking your brand’s social media results against the results of similar brands and businesses and then using this information to scope out new opportunities for your own brand to enhance your social media performance.
An effective social media competitor analysis will do the following:
- Identify your key competitors
- Give you an idea of the main social media channels that others in your industry are using
- Clarify what is and isn’t working in your competitor’s social strategy
- Provide you with a benchmark to measure your results against competitors with
- Find gaps in your own social media strategy
- Offer recommendations, insights and learnings about how to pivot or improve your marketing efforts
Unlike a social media audit (which simply tallies up metrics from your competitors), a social media analysis needs to go one step further and analyze these results. By finding trends, drawing out insights and making recommendations, you can put these learnings into action and make this a practical and impactful exercise.
Why is it important to conduct a social media competitor analysis?
Almost every brand and business can benefit from conducting a social media competitor analysis. Not only does this exercise give you a better insight into your competition but also helps you identify the best ways to improve your own social media channels.
By doing a social media competitor analysis, you will be able to:
- Map the field: you will gain a better understanding of what your competitors are doing with their social media marketing strategies and how your own strategy compares.
- Define your benchmarks: having clear and data-driven benchmarks such as follower counts, follower growth rates, numbers of published posts and hashtags, your share of voice and average engagement rates can help you more effectively measure your success on social media.
- Pinpoint your weaknesses: if your competitors are doing better within an area of social media then this can help you identify your own weaknesses and areas to focus on improving or doing differently. This will ensure that you’re making the most out of all of your social media marketing efforts.
- Identify new opportunities: it’s likely that you will discover some more effective ways of connecting with your audience, growing your followers, promoting your business and helping your brand to stand out from others, that you hadn’t noticed before.
This information can give you a significant competitive advantage over other brands and businesses in your field.
How to conduct a social media competitive analysis
If you’re ready to get the benefits of a social media competitive analysis but you’re not sure how to get started then we’re here to walk you through it. While conducting a competitor analysis isn’t necessarily a difficult exercise, it can involve a number of important steps that you don’t want to miss.
That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to bringing your first competitive analysis to life.
Identify your competitors on social media
The first step in conducting a social media competitive analysis is to identify who your competitors actually are. Generally, your competitors will be the businesses and brands that offer similar services or products to you.
It’s worth doing a quick Google search of any keywords associated with your business to see which companies are ranking high on Google. These businesses will likely have a good digital marketing strategy and are worth focusing on. However, your direct competitors will always be those businesses and brands that are targeting the same market or geographic location as you are.
Make sure that you look up each of your competitor’s social profiles and check whether they have an active and engaged presence on social media. It’s a good idea to focus on the brands and businesses that are actively using social media and have an engaged audience as these will be your biggest competitors on the platforms.
Once you have a decent list of direct competitors then you can narrow down your list to the top three or four of your biggest competitors and move on to the next step.
Gather insights and data
Now that you have identified your main competitors on social media, you can start gathering data about their social media efforts and performance.
There are a number of ways to do this and many companies will simply look at their competitor’s social networks and note down any insightful pieces of information such as their social following, types of content produced, number of posts published and their average post engagement. However, this can be extremely time-consuming and it’s easy to miss important insights.
That’s why we recommend using an automated data gathering tool. These tools are also sometimes known as competitor analysis tools or analytics tools and they can help you collect the most accurate and important data from your competitor’s social media channels.
For example, Sked’s Advanced Instagram Analytics is designed to streamline your data collation by automatically tracking the top posts, engagement rates, content styles, follower growth and other key metrics of up to four competitors.
Analyze your competitor data using a SWOT analysis
The next step is to examine all of the data that you have gathered and identify what it means for your own business. One of the best ways to do this is by using the SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
A SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you put all of the information you have collected into context with your own metrics. This is done by organizing your metrics into internal and external categories of reference to see what your own brand is doing right and wrong in comparison to others. It also gives you a chance to look at what can be improved and done differently going forward.
Remember that your strengths and weaknesses are to do with factors that are internal to your brand while threats and opportunities are more to do with external factors.
In this section of your analysis, you should note down anything that you’re doing better than your competitors. This will generally be any area of your social media marketing strategy with metric numbers higher than your competitors. For example, you may have more Instagram followers than your competitors.
Your weaknesses will be anywhere that your social media metrics are falling behind your competitors. Identifying your weaknesses will help you understand the areas that you will need to focus on and where you need to improve your social media strategy.
For example, if your competitors have a higher engagement rate than you do then you may need to focus on ways to improve your brand’s content strategy or your connection with your followers.
This is where you consider the comparisons between your social media performance and your competitors. By doing so, you will be able to identify any opportunities to take advantage of. This might be improving your social media strategy in an area that your competitor hasn’t done yet or an area that they’re weaker in. For example, if your competition hasn’t started using LinkedIn then you might use this opportunity to join the platform or improve your content strategy on it.
It’s crucial to be aware of any upcoming threats that could negatively impact your business and social media strategies. You will generally be able to identify threats by looking at any metrics that are related to your competitor’s growth and making sure that you’re abreast of any changes within your industry.
An example of a social media threat might be if a big competitor began rapidly growing on a social platform that you hadn’t taken advantage of yet, such as Instagram or TikTok. Identifying any potential threats can ensure that you consider them in your own social media strategy and stay ahead of your competition.
Present your findings on the competitive landscape
It’s crucial to present your findings to your wider marketing or leadership team and you can do this by compiling your findings into an easy-to-digest report or presentation that you can go all through together. When creating your presentation or report, remember to include the following pieces of information:
- Competitors: give your team an insight into the companies that you’ve tracked and why you consider them to be your top competitors.
- Summary of findings: present a clear overview of your findings and the conclusions that you have drawn.
- Data breakdown: get specific about each key metric that you have tracked, including social impressions, audience reach, engagement rate, types of content, follower count and growth statistics.
- A SWOT analysis: present and discuss the SWOT analysis of your own brand’s social media platforms in context with the data that you have collected.
- Recommendations: share an action plan with some new ideas about how to improve your brand’s social media marketing strategy.
The best competitive analysis tools you need to leverage
With such a wide range of competitor analysis tools out there, deciding which analysis tool to use can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we have broken down four of the top competitor analysis tools, their main features and benefits to your competitor analysis.
Sked Social Advanced Instagram Analytics
Sked Social’s Advanced Instagram Analytics is our own streamlined competitor analysis tool. By letting you track up to four competitors, the tool makes it much easier to compare your own brand’s top posts, engagement rates, types of content and follower growth with your biggest social media competitors.
The tool’s features don’t only track your competitor’s metrics but give you detailed insights into your own follower demographic, audience reach and best-performing posts. You will be given valuable information about when it’s the best time to post, how your Instagram story is being received and how many clicks your profile and website links are getting.
Basically, Sked Social’s Advanced Instagram Analytics tool packs all the analytics and competitor tracking features that you need into one easy-to-use Instagram tracking software.
Brandwatch Competitor Analysis
Brandwatch offers competitor analysis across multiple social media platforms and their well-designed social listening tools give you an insight into a number of key metrics.
Brandwatch Audiences lets you analyse a competitor’s Twitter following and their demographics, interests and influences. Plus, the brand’s share of voice tool gives you the ability to track your share of voice and how much your brand is being spoken about online compared to your competitors.
This can give you a much better understanding of your online brand perception and add some important context to your social media competitor analysis.
Mentionlytics Social Media Monitoring
Mentionlytics doesn’t just monitor social media platforms but also blogs, forums, and news sites to track any mentions of your brands, products and competitors. The tool works by letting you select which metrics you would like to track and how you would like to present them. The tool then builds customised graphs and reports that you can present to your marketing team.
Mentionlytics also has a helpful sentiment analysis feature that tracks the way both your and your competitor’s brands are being spoken about online. As you can imagine, this is a very helpful tool to have when conducting a social media competitor analysis.
BuzzSumo Facebook Page Analyzer
BuzzSumo’s Facebook Page Analyzer offers key insights into your competitor’s Facebook page metrics. The tool can track up to ten competitors and help you find data about your competitor’s most shared content.
The tool analyses what’s working for your competitors by filtering their networks, formats and authors to create a detailed competitor report that provides you with insights into your competitors’ audience, likes, shares and comments. This can help you brainstorm new content opportunities, identify any upcoming threats and optimize your own Facebook marketing activity.
Download your FREE competitive analysis template from Sked Social
Using a good social media competitive analysis template makes it much easier to track and organize the data that you have gathered for your analysis report. You can make your own competitive analysis template or simply download Sked’s very own competitor analysis template.
As you can see, our template clearly compares your own social metrics against your competitor and shows those key metrics side-by-side so that you can easily compare and digest the results.
In our competitive analysis template, you’ll find an easy spreadsheet you can fill out that includes the following key points:
- A clear summary of your own brands’ social media channels and metrics
- A list of four or more competitors
- A SWOT Analysis with internal and external factors defined
- The key metrics that you’re tracking
While the specific metrics that you track may vary depending on your brand’s unique digital marketing strategy, you should use the following metrics as a base: followers, performance and hashtags.
Within each of these categories, you can further define the metrics that you track. For example, you might not just track the number of followers that they have but the rate that their growing and their follower’s demographics. Likewise, in the performance category, you can track their posts, their engagement rate and their share of voice. For hashtags, you might look at what hashtags they are actually using, the number of hashtags used and their overall effectiveness.
Ready to take the guesswork out of conducting a social media competitor analysis? Download your free template from us today.
Whether you commit to a yearly, quarterly or even monthly competitor analysis, your brand’s social media performance is going to significantly benefit from your efforts. As a business, it’s essential to stay informed about your competitors and their social media presence in your industry. This information will not only help direct your own content strategy but scope out more opportunities for your brand to excel on social media.