“Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service.”- Entrepreneur
What is competitive analysis?
Social media competitive analysis is the constant monitoring, tracking, and analysis of the competitor’s activities on social media, to formulate winning marketing strategies.
Why Competitor Analysis? Below image can you help understand that:
Now, you must be well aware of why you need competitor analysis. I know, your next question is how can you perform it. Let's explore in sections given below:
1. Identify your social media competitors
While some people call it spying, I would term it as an intelligent monitoring of your competition.
The first step in your competitive analysis involves:
- Create a list of your competitors
- Find your potential competitors on Google using important keywords
- Businesses that buy pay-per-click ads based on the keywords
- Marketers advertising on the similar industry platforms (publications, forums etc.)
- Competitors on eCommerce stores like Amazon or eBay
- Competitors on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter
So have you made your list of the competitive analysis elements? If yes, we will now explore how to explore the competitor’s website and social media marketing strategies.
2. Analyze Your Competitors' Social Media Activities to Identify their Customers
For social media, you have to listen and monitor the conversation of your competitors with their audience. You can find this conversation in the form of comments, likes, discussions, etc.
Careful listening will not just help you determine the competitor’s audience size; it will lead you to them. And if they are unsatisfied and unhappy with their current supplier/service provider;
It’s an opportunity knocking at your doorstep. For this, you need to keep an eye on Competitors’ social media activities and how users’ respond to them.
Let’s start with gathering data on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social networks.
a. Gather competitor’s data on social media platforms
Facebook is the ideal platform to start tracking your competitor’s audience.
Have a look on competitors' Facebook posts and the "total number of likes" located at the bottom left corner. Here's an example of Titan's Facebook post with total number of likes.
Click on it and you will be see the list of customers who liked the post (these are your new potential customers). Click on "Top Comments" at the bottom right corner and you will get information about audience with real engagement. These are the people you have to target based on their liking.
Tip: Leverage the power of Facebook newsfeed ads to be more specific about content strategy. Retargeting is another ad option where you pay only when users click on the ad to reach your website.
On Twitter you should track your competitor’s audience metrics like audience behavior, demographics, likes and preferences, using a competent social media analytics tool like Klear. Once you analyze the competitors' social media marketing moves on twitter, proceed to other social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, where you are likely to gather competitive analysis data.
b. Analyze the data
Create a spreadsheet and note down all the data that you have accumulated by tracking the competitor’s social media accounts. There are some vital questions that will spring up while analyzing the competitor’s statistics.
- When was the last time they posted?
- What is the frequency of posting?
- What response they get through comments, discussions, queries?
- How responsive are they? (to comments, discussions, queries)
These four vital questions are yardsticks that help you determine how active your competitors are. Active brands usually post at least twice a week. You have to carefully analyze the kind of content they are posting. Is it promotional? If yes, check out the frequency plus the way they publish promotional posts enriched with offers, discounts or calls-to-action.
Another area you should analyze is competitors’ blog content. Do your competitors publish blogs frequently to interact with the targeted audience? Businesses can take blog ideas from competitors and develop improvised content based on similar topics. You can plug your competitors' posts to Buzzsumo to find out which posts have the greatest number of shares.
Perform a content audit where you should find out which blog topics resonate the most with the audience. Pay great attention to the structure of the blog. Finally compare your blog content with your competitors. You will get answers as to where you lag behind and weak areas you need to work on.
c. Perform a SWOT analysis
If you want your business to reach the exalted realm of the top marketers, perform the SWOT(strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat) analysis. This data analysis has to be evaluated by making a spreadsheet and noting all key factors.
Tip: You can try some visual techniques to conduct your competitive analysis.
3. Use the competitive analysis data
It’s time to take some action. You can now use social media analytics to compare your social media marketing profile with competitors. The analysis data helps marketers in more ways than one.
- Businesses can evaluate their position in the social media market
- You can identify the key influencers who are advocating your brand
- Measure the success and achievements of your competitors
- Find opportunity areas where your competitor is lagging
Competitor strength and weaknesses - an overview
Your competitor will have some niche areas where they always manage to stay ahead of other businesses. Study it carefully and understand their stronghold. Make that your benchmark and start working towards achieving it. Use your competitors' strength as your source of inspiration. For e.g. your competitor makes a video, you make a better one. Your competitors' weaknesses could become your opportunity areas to experiment and tap. Try and provide plausible alternates to the customers where your competitor lags.
Follow the comments section and engage in discussions with the target audience on your competitor’s blog. This is one of the best ways to find out customers' problems and the company’s pain points. Use all the gathered competitive analysis data to device better social media strategies, so you can drive more traffic to your website.
4. Online tools for social media competitive analysis
Performing a competitive analysis and monitoring each and every move of your competitors could be a tedious task. Here are some excellent online tools that help you spy on your competitors' marketing strategies.
- SEMrush: To track the keywords position of your competitors
- Alexa: To track and monitor your competitors' website
- BuzzSumo: To measure the social shares of your competitors' posts.
- SE Ranking: To monitor competitors' search results on Google and other search engines.
- Simply Measured: To gather information about competitors' branding strategy.
- OpenSiteExplorer: To analyze backlink profile of a website.
5. How Competitor Analysis Leads You to Success?
You have conducted a social media competitive analysis and the data is present with you. As a business, you clearly understand the weak and strong areas of your competitors' products. It’s now time for some self-analysis.
Understand your niche and get inspired by competitors' moves that could apply to your business. And then devise the strategies that help you stand out. There are just two options for a business - Be different or be better than your competitors. Once you incorporate the strategy, you might not necessarily be successful. At every step of implementation, access and compare the results with your competitor. Do not waste time on strategies that are not working. You have to observe, listen, learn, and improve.
Online Social Media Competitor analysis tools are effective in measuring your competitors' performance. You have to dive into a sea of information to learn and improve for the benefit of your business. The copy, keywords, and traffic information on the competitors' content are all crucial data that will aid you to strategically devise your social media strategies.