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Published March 4th 2022

How to Perform a Social Media Competitive Analysis: A Complete Guide

Learn how to stay ahead of your competition and be successful on social media.

Your brand’s journey on social media is unique, and so is your competitors’ experience. And there is such beauty in learning from each other. But how do you do that?

Whether you are a startup focusing on a niche or a big established corporation, social media competitive analysis will give you a powerful overview of your market and audience’s needs.

So, let’s dive into the world of benchmarking against competitors on social media.

What is social media competitive analysis?

Social media competitive analysis is your compass to building and maintaining a relevant digital strategy.

It is a systematic process of monitoring and analyzing information about your competitors’ content, customer service, and campaigns on social media. This will help you get insights into what works in your industry, areas you need to rethink, and ideas on how to upgrade your marketing plan.

Why should you do a social media competitive analysis?

Keeping an eye on your brand’s performance is crucial, but so is monitoring and analyzing your competitors. A social media competitive analysis will enable your brand to: 

  • Identify and keep an eye on your competitors. 
  • Understand which social networks they use. 
  • Discover their audience profile and behavior. 
  • Find out what is the best time to post. 
  • Get inspired by their content.
  •  Find gaps in your social media strategy and adapt it accordingly. 
  • See where you rank in your industry. 
  • Discover new market trends. 

The list goes on and on. Read on to get behind the scenes of how you can reveal all this precious information.

How to conduct a competitive analysis on social media?

Let’s discover the main steps you should undertake in order to perform a social media competitive analysis and improve your marketing strategies.

1. Identify your competitors on social media. 

The first step is to get to know your competition. Keep in mind that there are a couple of categories you should consider.

  • Direct competitors 

Start by analyzing your direct competitors — you most probably share the same audience and offer similar products or services.

  • Indirect competitors

Don’t forget to also investigate the indirect competition, which can be high-end or low-end substitutes in your industry. Such new insights can put the puzzle together about your audience.

A good way to start your competitor analysis is by a keyword search on Google. Check who is ranking against the 10 most relevant industry or product keywords that are relevant for your brand. This will give you an idea of who your top competition is. Also, pay attention to the brands who invest in Google ads in order to get their names on top of organic search. 

Pick the 5 most relevant brands and research them further on social media. It’s completely possible that search engines’ results differ from the social networks’ ones, so keep your eyes open for brands with similar target audiences and successful results.

2. Gather the relevant data on social media. 

Now that you’ve found your competitor group, it’s time to dig deeper into their strengths and weaknesses on social media. 

You should address questions like:

  • What social channels do they use?
  • How large is their following and how fast does it grow?
  • How often do they post?
  • What kind of content do they offer?
  • How does the audience engage with their posts?
  • What kind of hashtags do they use?
  • How fast do they respond to comments and engage with the community?
  • What makes them unique?

The metrics you want to follow also depend on the goals and development stage of your business. If you are a new start up you might want to focus on building your fanbase first, but if you are an established company – engagement could be a leading metric to follow.

You can also use tools for more in-depth analysis and easily follow your competitors’ marketing strategies more closely. 

For example, with Benchmark you can monitor your competitors’ posts, campaigns, hashtags, and user interactions. Monitor your competitors and learn from their ideas, successes, and failures just as you would your own.

3. Benchmark your results against the competition. 

After gathering all this useful data, it’s a good idea to organize it into an excel spreadsheet or explore the options of using more intelligent tools to save time and get deeper insights.

This is the time to take the next step towards building your social media strategy and consider:

  • Which metrics indicate growth?
  • What content works for your competitors and what doesn’t? And why?
  • Is there consistency in their social media strategy?
  • Are there any trends that are affecting your brand?

You can also use the S.W.O.T. analysis to create a clear overview of where you stand against your competitors and understand your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats better. This will help you adapt and upgrade your social media strategy.

It’s important to identify your own brand’s strengths and weaknesses as well as perform a social audit at least every six months. With tools like Benchmark, you can understand which parts of your social media strategy are contributing to your success as well as discover opportunities and potential weaknesses.

A very special aspect to consider is to benchmark your content strategy against the competition. Are your competitors offering original, curated, or promotional content on social media? Do they focus on inspirational or educational posts? What kind of formats do they use?

This can bring a data-driven change in your own content strategy and thus, engage better your community.

4. Define the right strategy and tools to help you progress. 

Based on the information gathered and your smart analysis, it’s now time to formulate your social media strategy.

But the hard work with competitive analysis doesn’t stop at this point. You need to carry on such research at least every six months in order to stay up to date with all trends.

There are two ways you can handle it — manually or via sophisticated tools. You should consider the following weekly metrics related to: 

  • Audience  
  • Content  
  • Engagement  
  • Paid media  
  • Hashtags

Another opportunity for your business is to use a specialized tool like Benchmark and thus, save time and get better insights on. The solution can:

  • Translate your data smoothly into an actionable plan.
  • Take the guesswork out of your social strategies.
  • Help you understand what, when, and how often to post.

The chances are high that you need to also share your results with a team or your management. Such a tool would help you get a clear picture of what’s driving results from more than 100,000 brands across all major social media platforms.

Final thoughts. 

Are you ready to benchmark against your competition? Getting the data that matters and putting it into practice might look like a tough exercise, but it would bring your social media to the next level. And the more you practice it, the better business outcome there will be.

If you are looking for more inspiration on improving your results read our ebook on How to Measure your Social Media ROI.

Good luck!

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