The importance of social networks is growing continually and over the last decade, social media channels have since established themselves as important marketing channels for brands and businesses. The online reputation of a brand is no longer dependent on their owned content only. It’s also influenced by earned content from other sources while the lines between offline and online sources are blurring more and more.
That is why, it’s important to keep up to date with what people say about you and what can be done to use social media channels successfully. In order to measure this, there are two different disciplines available.
Social media monitoring or listening, helps you scan the social web for keywords to track every content that mentions your brand. The other part consists of social media analytics, which help you track your success in numbers.
Performing a social media competitive analysis allows you to get an in-depth look at what your competitors are doing to be successful.
Competitive Benchmarking has four key segments:
- Setting goals and baselines for performance
- Measuring growth based on your direct competitors
- Defining campaign success rate in advance
- Industry specific metrics (eg. Sentiment analysis)
Each of these benchmarks will require different tactics, metrics to focus on, and level of detail.
Here’s how to start social media competitive benchmarking in five simple steps:
1. Identify Your Social Media Competitors
First, identify your social media competition and find which platforms they use. Focus on the competitors that use social media marketing to their advantage, not just the ones that are successful.
The easiest way to find your competition is by using a social listening and analytics tool. It would be helpful to understand what users are speaking about your competition and which type of content of competitor is getting viral.
2. Gather Data
After narrowing down competitors, the next step is to gather data. The process will be slightly different depending on which platforms you target. First, you want to get a picture of their audience size. Start by gathering up their follower counts for each social network.
You can easily compare and benchmark your brand against competitors in key areas:
- Audience growth: Are your competitors growing their audience quicker than you?
- Media sent: Get a sense of how frequently your competitors are publishing. You may find you’re not posting enough to keep your audience engaged.
- Engagement: See how many likes and comments your competitors are getting on their content.
- Hashtags: Find your competitors’ most frequently used hashtags. You may be able to use the same ones in your posts if they’re relevant, and get exposure to more people.
- Top posts: Take a look at your competitor’s most popular posts. Try to get an idea of why these posts are performing well. Are they product photos? Do they use certain colours? Find out what these posts have that your content doesn’t and use the info to improve your images and videos.
- Influencers: Understand who are the influencers who are tweeting about your competition
3. Analyze Competitors’ Activity
After gathering the numbers, you also need to look at how your competitors use each platform. This requires a manual review.
The first thing to look for is how active the competition is with the following :
- When was last time they posted?
- Are there long spans of time between each post?
- Do they respond to comments?
It’s fairly easy to gauge how active brand are by answering these three questions. They should be posting at least once every couple of days to be considered active.
4. Analyze Their Website Content
The last part of the social media competitive analysis involves their website. Since content marketing and social media are closely related, a lot of companies use blogs to create content that can be distributed on social media. It is important to take a look at the competition and see how many of them have blogs. Looking through their blogs will give ideas for the type of content that might resonate with your audience.
5. Using the Data
Now that you’ve compiled all of this data, you need to put it to use. Using your brand’s own social media analytics, you’ll be able to compare your profiles to the competition. It’s important to keep in mind that social media competitive analysis isn’t to copy exactly what everyone is doing. Instead, it should be used as a guide toward getting started on the right foot.
Sometimes the competitive benchmarking may point out that you’ve been targeting the wrong social networks altogether. In the end, it’s all about comparing your brand’s metrics and data to the competition. So it is necessary to make adjustments to the strategy based on the analysis.