How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis on Social Media: A Quick Guide. We’ve created this guide to help you perform a social media competitive analysis that lets you better understand the organizations you’re going toe-to-toe with. Make a record of how often your competitors post to their various social networks. Use this data to help you determine how often you should be posting to your networks. Strengths to look for What do your competitors do well on social? In addition to providing you with important competitive data, your competitors can be a great source of inspiration for your brand. Using social media is no different. Look for places your competitors are lacking in social—maybe their customer service is a bit on the slow side. Keep at it Like anything else, establishing a successful social media presence takes time and effort—a competitive analysis is one part of that. Whether you’re conducting a social media competitive analysis or taking action on insights, Hootsuite can help.
There’s a lot to learn from your competition—from what they’re doing well to what they’re not and everything in-between. We’ve created this guide to help you perform a social media competitive analysis that lets you better understand the organizations you’re going toe-to-toe with.
It is by no means scientific—doing so would involve gathering, analyzing, and interpreting thousands of data points and that’s not a realistic endeavor for most entrepreneurs or their budgets. But it will provide a clear picture of what’s happening on social media and help shape your strategy into a winning one.
So, what is a competitive analysis?
According to Entrepreneur, it’s “Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service.”
In the context of social media, it’s a little bit different—it’s looking at your competitors’ social accounts and activity, as well as getting a better understanding of what the social media landscape looks like in your industry.
How do you conduct a competitive analysis?
To understand your competitors and know what they’re up to on social, you’ll need to know who they are, gather intelligence on them, and break that data down into something you can understand—all of which we’ll explore in this guide. We’ll also point you towards some very effective online tools that make doing all of this infinitely easier.
Find out who your competitors are
For some businesses, identifying the competition is a no-brainer. For others, there may be some work involved, especially if your business isn’t localized and offers products or services online or internationally. Nevertheless, doing this now—and doing it properly—puts you in a good place. Here are a few steps you can take:
Google is your friend—search for keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. For example, different terms like “Cajun restaurants in Tacoma,” “spicy food in Sea-Tac,” and “best Jambalaya in town” will likely show you the purveyors of these Southern delicacies in the Pacific Northwest.
If your organization is a little more decentralized, use the search terms that best describe your business and see what comes up. Think “cheap car parts” or “best takeout”—it’s not as geographically specific, but it’s where your competitors are.
Know who your audience follows
Look at who your audience is following on social media. See any brands like yours? Write them down.
Choose your foes
Once you’ve accumulated a pool of potential competitors, cull the list into something a bit more manageable. Choose three to five strong competitors to benchmark against. Any more than that and you’ll be dealing with more information than you’ll know what to do with. Any fewer and you won’t have enough data to paint an accurate picture.
Now that you’ve identified your primary competitors, get to know them better. Here are several metrics you’ll want to make note of.
What social networks are they on?
Some organizations are only present on Facebook or Twitter. Others will be active on every social network. It all depends on the brand, their objectives, and which platforms they’ve experienced the most traction with.
Make a list of which competitors are on which social networks. Also note if any of those networks aren’t being used or updated.
How big is their following (and how quickly is it growing?)
Make a note of how many followers your competitors have on each network. Then check how many they have the next week. And then the week after that. Is the number of followers trending up or down? And how quickly?
How often do they post?
Make a record of how often your competitors post to their various social networks. You’ll probably find that some post a lot, others not enough….