Smart marketers know that the success and failure of their marketing efforts depend largely on how flexible they’re in staying ahead of the curve.

For social media managers in the fast-changing world of social; they’re acutely aware of this fact; hence, it is not uncommon to find them in search of means to keep abreast of trends in their industry.

However, it can be quite daunting to keep up with everything that’s happening within the industry – track competitors, get used to new technologies, and still stay sane to implement your marketing plans.

So how do you keep it all together and keep grinding?

We figured the best place to start is by helping you keep a tab on what your competitors are up to.

Conducting a social media competitive analysis helps you identify what’s working and what’s not working in your niche.

Think of it like data mining – that throws up valuable insights into what your competitors are doing right, where they are failing, what the customers want, which and what content perform well and of course, uncovers areas you can leverage to shore up your competitive edge.

To make the task easier and a bit more manageable, we have grouped the social media competitive analysis into four types.

Types of Social media competitive analysis

Audit level of Competitor Activity

This analysis aims to gain a clear picture of how other organizations are currently using social media. This means you’d have to spend significant time going through their channels, profiles, reading through their posts and taking note of how customers react to this content.

Your goal when conducting this analysis is to answer the following questions:

  •    Are there core platforms everyone seems to be active on?
  •    What’s the balance between automated posts and personal content on their channels?
  •    How often do they update their accounts?
  •    What content format do they use?

Audit what they use social for

Most brands today are utilizing social as a tool for customer service. Hence, it’s essential to assess what goals organizations in your niche are using social media for.

Do they have separate accounts that handle marketing and customer service?

Are they proactive helpful when responding to client’s complaints?

Check also, for the tone and style – are they funny, educative, formal, etc.

Uncovering and understanding the insights gathered here enable you to identify how to position your brand and what tone and style resonant with your ideal audience.

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Social media competitive analysis helps you identify gaps in the social strategies of your competitors which you can go on to leverage when creating your social media plans.

This assessment should help you determine:

  •    What everyone does well so you can benchmark them as the minimum.
  •    What nobody does so well you can do to set your brand apart and become a leader in.
  •    Finally, what customers respond to most?

Assess what customers respond to

It’s imperative to understand that being active on social media doesn’t equate to having an engaged audience.

There are far more moving parts involved in developing a core audience that’s responsive to your messaging, and it starts with understanding precisely what your customers want.

Pay attention to the posts that are getting the most attention. For instance, on Twitter check out those posts with more rewets, likes, and replies.

On Facebook, study the content that has the highest likes, shares, and comments. Then, replicate this on other platforms.

Take your time to study the content formats (text-based, images, videos, gifs, Infographics, etc.) these brands share on their walls.

Also, ensure to understudy the tone and style of their content – are they funny, serious, formal or educational?

Why is this important?

Understanding what works and doesn’t work before developing a social media strategy helps increase the odds of achieving success with your social efforts.

Also, aligning the insights gained from the competitor’s strengths and weakness analysis with customer behavior ensures you’re more likely to find a valuable intersection that gives you an edge.

A word of caution though: don’t copy your competitors; it’s obvious right? Add a spin to the insights gained, let your brand voice and personality shine through that’s the way to win in this game.