What is a social media competitive analysis?
Did you know that half of the world’s marketers are using social media analytics tools to better understand customer preferences today?
Social media competitive analyses are the process of reviewing your competitors’ social media profiles to gain insights into what they do, how they act, and how their audience interacts with their content.
Doing a compteitive analysis can help you gain insights into how to improve your company’s social media activity. You can use competitor reports to gain valuable insights into their target audiences, focus on the right online marketing channels and help you to create or improve your overall social media strategy.
Some aspects of this analysis include looking at:
Competitors’ activity on social media channels
Competitors’ performance on content marketing campaigns
Competitors’ posted media content
In this article, we’ll go over the different pillars of social media competitive analysis and how you can get started on conducting yours.
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Why You Should Incorporate Social Media Competitor Analysis Tools into Your Business
You might be wondering, “Why should I invest time into looking at my competitors when I can focus on my own marketing?”
Here are the different ways a social media competitive analysis can benefit you.
Understand your customers’ pain points.
When you are trying to set yourself apart from the competition, it is important to get a clear picture of how your customers are engaging with your competitors’ brands.
Social media competitor analysis tools are a form of marketing automation and a great way to understand your customers better and improve your marketing efforts. These tools leverage social media data that is publicly available to you as a competitor. This data can be used for everything from determining where your target audience is coming from, to ensuring the success of your content strategy.
Social media provides you with valuable information about your target audience through the content they post, and it’s easy to see what kind of impressions your competitors are making.
Learn your competitors’ social media strategies.
There are many social media competitor analysis tools out there that can help you learn more about your competitors’ strategies and social media activity. These tools can give you a look at what type of content gets shared the most, what kind of engagement each piece gets, what hashtags they’re using, and even some info on their demographics.
For social media management, it can be helpful to see what’s working in terms of your competitors’ content, and then use that knowledge to adapt and improve your own strategy. For example, you could use social listening tools to track competitors and to see what kinds of posts have a high social share of voice (indicating how many of them get the most engagement). That might help you decide if you should share similar content or go in a different direction with yours.
This is a crucial habit to get into if you want to grow your business and improve your results. Knowing what your competitors are up to will let you learn from them, emulate them when they’re doing things right, and avoid the pitfalls they made.
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Set performance benchmarks for your own business.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of your business and lose sight of your competitors.
Social media networks allow for highly visible and accessible insight into the inner workings of not only your own marketing strategies but also those of your direct competitors. Without even being on the same team, you can learn from each other.
For example, say you run a local business whose main form of advertising is LinkedIn posts, while your competitor runs more video-based ads on YouTube. If you compare performance metrics such as engagement rate and cost per engagement on both platforms, you could come to realize that YouTube provides a higher ROI (return on investment). With this knowledge, you may decide to reallocate money from LinkedIn to YouTube.
You can use the data you get on your competitors to set yourself some solid performance standards on the social media marketing front. Then, you can cater your goals around these standards to make sure your teams know what they’re working towards.
For example, if you wanted to measure how well your business was doing on Twitter in comparison to your competitors, you could look at metrics (otherwise known as KPIs) such as “Number of Followers,” “Average Retweets Per Tweet,” and “Percentage of Total Followers.”
These numbers can give you some insight into how well each account is doing, and how it compares to your own. You can even see if there are any key differences between the accounts of different competitors—maybe one has significantly more followers than the other, for example, or maybe one has a higher average retweet per tweet than the other.
Find the best times to post on social media.
You can schedule out your posts on social media at the ideal time for your target audience to build up your brand and drive traffic back to your website. You can use it to identify prospects and build relationships with them before you ever get to meet them in person. You can even use social media to help you find sales leads and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, without having to spend more time or money than necessary.
For more tech-savvy users struggling to find the time to post every day, social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social assist with scheduling out content in advance and for automatic posting at times of highest engagement. These tools allow you to create a schedule and then just let them run on auto-pilot while you get back to running your business.
With social media scheduling tools, you’ll know when and where your content will be posted so that you aren’t wasting time trying to figure out what works for each platform.
How to Conduct a Social Media Competitive Analysis
You might be feeling a little daunted by the idea of an analysis, especially if you have a lot of competitors. But the process is pretty simple. Here’s how you can get started.
1. Determine who your competitors are.
When you have a new business, the last thing you want to do is jump right in without knowing what your competitors are doing. The best way to do this is by looking at the pages of your top competitors in the industry and how they are interacting with their customers.
This has a few benefits. First, it lets you get a feel for what people like about your competitors. This will help you with your own brand identity. It also makes it easy to see what your competitors are doing for customer service and how they respond to people’s needs.
2. Gather intel.
In the interest of running a successful business in today’s market, gathering intel on your competitors is an essential part of planning your own marketing strategy.
Gaining a more thorough understanding of who your competitors are not only gives you insight into what they’re doing right now to promote their businesses, but also helps you predict their next moves so you can stay ahead of them.
To maintain an edge over your competitors online, first think about how they’re using social media and what kind of content they’re posting. Using competitive analysis tools, you can monitor competitors and gain valuable insight from competitive reports to better guide your own social media marketing strategy.
Even if you want to create wildly different content from your competition, you need to know what exactly makes them so successful. From there, you can start to plan out how you are going to meet those goals and surpass them.
3. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
In order to make sure your business’ social media accounts are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, you have to do an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that influence your business. This is called a SWOT analysis.
These four elements are often referred to as the SWOT framework and can be used in many situations beyond business; for example, you could use them to analyze your social media presence, or even your own strengths and weaknesses as a business!
A SWOT analysis helps you stay ahead of the curve by making sure your business stays on top of the latest trends in social media and uses them to attract new customers.
4. Create your social media strategy.
Now that you understand the landscape of where your potential customers are online and know which networks are popular with which demographics, who has the most followers, what kind of content is most successful there, and what kinds of things attract the attention of your audience—it’s time to create your social media strategy.
Your social media strategy is the map you use to navigate the social media jungle. It will help you plan out how you want to use each platform and how you want to share content so that you get the most out of it. Here are some important questions to ask as you plan your strategy:
What social media platforms do I want or need to be on?
Does my organization have a separate presence for each platform, or will we post on one profile?
What tone do I want to take for each platform?
Do I want all platforms to have the same tone or do I want each platform to reflect the personality of that specific profile? For example, if your brand has a serious tone on Facebook and a more light-hearted tone on Instagram, having these two profiles might be beneficial.
How often should I post on each platform?
Do I want to post daily, weekly, etc.? Or do I prefer to space out my posts over time—for example, posting once a month?
What about using an editorial calendar—does that work better for me?
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Keeping up with your competitors is a key to staying ahead of them. With social media monitoring tools, you can have insight into what your competitors are doing— or not doing. It’s easy to keep tabs on the big players in your industry, but sometimes it’s just as important to see what’s happening in your own backyard.
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