How to Do Competitive Analysis on Social + Why You Should

Now I’m sure you’ve heard the term– reinventing the wheel. Well, we here at Social Studio Shop are all about helping you save time and teaching you how to use social media strategically, so you don’t have to! The best way to save yourself sometime online is to know before you post, what works and what does not work for your industry. This is why we LOVEEEE creating a competitive analysis on social media!

Have you ever looked at a similar brand or business online and wondered what makes them so successful? If not, it might be time to dig into some competitive analysis on social media and see what is working for your competitors. Learn how you can boost your own brand by scoping out the competition!

What’s a competitive analysis on social media you ask?

Think of it this way, what if you had a map that lead you straight to social success? You would use it right? That’s exactly what a competitive analysis can offer you– a roadmap that takes you through examples, data and social proof that can help you make the right turn on your path to a successful social media strategy.

Here’s where to start. . .

Know Your Competitors

Hopefully, you already have a few competitors in mind to complete an analysis. I recommend having at least five to start. If you need some help finding competitors in your space, try these tips–

  • Search for your industry keywords on Google

  • Search for your industry keywords on Instagram + Twitter

#socialstudiotip: want to make your account stand out? Try adding an emoji to your display name (the name in bold) on Instagram or Twitter!

Use Your Tools

Once you have your competitors, add them to your competitive analysis! We’ve created a super helpful template for you! Download it here

Now the real fun starts! It’s time to use your tools to gather some data.

Facebook

Facebook offers some great, powerful and FREE tools for you to use in your competitive analysis. The first is their Pages to Watch feature. You can track five or more pages to compare the performance of your posts with similar Pages posts on Facebook.

Learn more about Pages to Watch here >>> The Power Of Competition: Using Pages To Watch.

The next hidden feature, I’m going to call the “People Creeper” (this is not a technical term). This hidden gem, allows you to see a quick fan snapshot of anyone who has a Facebook Page.

Here, you can see how many people are currently talking about this brand on Facebook, (I believe this takes into account brand mentions), total Page likes, their increase (or decrease), as well as their growth in comparison to the last week. To see this data, all you need to do is click “X people like this” when you’re viewing their Page.

Twitter

Twitter too has a great free tool, Advanced Search. Learn more about the wonders of this tool here >>> How To Use Twitter Advanced Search. From there, you can use this tool to search for people who mention your competitors, questions they might ask them, Tweet topics that interest them, and so on. You can use this data to help you determine your content strategy moving forward. For example, if we found that someone asked one of our competitors for help using Instagram Stories, then we know that this might be a great topic for us to blog on, or host a workshop on!

Instagram

While Instagram does not specifically offer a competitive analysis tool, there are still several great ways to get insight into your competitors!

  • Followers + Following: Glean through the competition’s followers and the people they are following. Being in a similar space to you, their followers are already qualified. They are likely people who would be interested in hearing what you have to say. Likewise, there’s a reason your competition is following certain people/brands. Do your research, know who you’re up against and who they are attracting/attracted to.

  • Suggestions for You: Go to one of your competitors’ Instagram accounts. Tap the “▼” arrow. Suggestions for You shows you similar profiles to the brand you are following such as mutual friends or other people you might know. This is another great place to find more competitors or like-minds, keep track of them!

  • Comments: Take a look at one of your competitors five-ten most recent posts. Did someone ask a question in the comments? Can you answer it? This could be the topic of your next blog post or maybe this gives you an idea for your next product!
  • Clicks: If you follow our blog, you know our serious love of using trackable links, like Bitly. Here’s a tip! Add the “+” after any bitly link, and you can see the traffic that is happening on any bitly link (including your competitors)! This can show you how invested your competitors audience is in them as well as how interested their audience is in any given topic.

Pinterest

Interested in seeing what others are pinning from your competitors’ website? Type this link into your browser. . .

https://www.pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE/

For example, where it says “your website” we would fill in socialstudioshop.com, leaving out the www. Give it a try! This information will help you plan your content strategy moving forward.

Ask the Right Questions

Now it’s time to put the data to work for you! Ask yourself the following questions while you’re reviewing–

  • Which platforms is my competitor using to reach their audience?

  • Is each platform performing well or (for example) can I maybe focus on two instead of three?

  • What are their posting habits?

    • When was the last time they posted?

    • How many times per day/week are they posting?

  • How engaged is their community?

  • Do they respond to comments? If so, how quickly?

  • What types of content are performing well? (i.e. behind the scenes, tips, personal updates, etc.)

Stay Focused!

Once you have your questions answered it’s time to stay focused and use your new competitive analysis to help guide your own social strategy. It’s important to keep in mind that this information should not simply be used to copy every move or tactic your competitor makes but rather, to help guide you on your journey. For example, maybe in your analysis you uncover that none of your competitors have a consistent presence on Pinterest. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a try for your brand. Maybe in fact, this is what can set you apart and allow for you to connect with a subset of your dreamies that none of your competitors have been able to do! Get it while the gettin’s good!

Get started on your social competitive analysis by downloading our free template here!