Social media competitor analysis in 2023
There’s a lot of talk about Social media competitor analysis tools and how they can identify strategic gaps. This article describes social media competitor analysis in 2023. There are indeed many decent social media competitor analysis tools, but they are just that tools. One of the many tools required to develop your competitor analysis. They can bring you some tremendous competitive insights, but they are in no way the be-all and end-all, as the social media competitive analysis tools will tell you.
Benefits of competitor analysis on social media
The benefits of focusing on social media for your competitor analysis are more than just learning about your known competitors. Analysis can:
- Provides insight into your business and audience, which may be similar to your competitors
- Find performance benchmarks
- Content ideas to resonate with your audience
- Understand your customers’ pain points
- Give you ideas to create brand differentiation and a real competitive advantage
Social media competitive analysis is only a tiny part of it
There are some great tools there, and they can offer a picture of what’s going on. But it’s a tiny part of competitive intelligence. And remember looking at your competitor’s social media and analysing what they are doing is only the start. Knowing what they are doing is pointless unless you are going to do something with it.
We don’t mean copying their every move and the causes they get behind. You need to determine what they are doing, why they are doing it, whether it is planned, and most importantly, agree on what you are going to (or not) do to be better than them. To differentiate yourself from the sea of sameness, create a compelling competitive advantage.
But before all that, you need to understand what you are looking for and why. We do this in competitive intelligence by defining needs into a set of questions. Here is a useful article to complement this one: 11 questions to make Competitive Intelligence a success.
So how are you going to stay ahead of your competition online? Competitive intelligence can help you do this in many ways, but looking at their social media will give you an idea of how you compare with them as well as isolate new opportunities you can pursue and the threats you could face.
Understand Your Competitors
An obvious first action when starting a social media competitive analysis is to identify and understand who your competitors are. So, define your sectors’ key competitors and include direct and indirect competitors.
It’s also important to take a look at your competitor’s keywords. You should know your own target keywords to get you up the rankings in Google, Bing and all the other search engines. Take a look and monitor your competitors’ keywords and see where they are trying to rank.
Having in-depth knowledge of your keyword strategy will help you create a clear picture of whom you’re competing online with.
Monitor Their Social Media
Once you have defined and agreed on your competitors, start monitoring their social media activities. Include looking at their posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and others. Take note of how often they post, what type of content they share, and how well it performs with their audience. Social media competitive analysis helps:
- Identify your competitors on social media.
- Define the platforms they’re on and not on.
- Understand how they use the platforms.
- See how well or poorly their strategy is working.
- Benchmark what you are doing against what your competitors are doing.
- Isolate the threats to you. Look until you find them, as they will be out there.
- Define the gaps in your own strategy. Again there are gaps in what you do. So keep looking for them with a clear open mind.
Analyse Their Content Strategy
Your next step is to analyse their content strategy. Determine if they use specific tactics or techniques to engage their audience. Also, look at the topics they’re covering and the types of posts that generate the most engagement from their followers.
Track Engagement Metrics
Track engagement metrics for each of your competitor’s posts. These include likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc., and engagement rates (the percentage of people interacting with each post). This will give you an idea of which posts resonate with their audience and which don’t perform so well.
Concentrate on the industry brands who are paying for Google ads so they can appear above you in search results.
- Where are they putting their money?
- Is it working for them?
- Are they making mistakes?
- What are they focusing on?
- What keywords are they ignoring?
- Are there any gaps that you can exploit?
- How are their organic search rankings doing? Not so much how many, but the trajectory of the growth or decline.
- What is their area investment telling you about what they think is important?
Then look at the keywords they have invested in and search for them on Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest to see how they perform. Again, ask questions like those above, and understand who turns up in social searches for those keywords. As expected, or are there any surprises?
Use Competitive Analysis Tools
There are also several tools available that can help you conduct a social media competitive analysis more efficiently. These tools allow you to quickly track and compare metrics across multiple accounts better to understand your competitors’ performance on social media.
Analyse what’s going on.
Having the information is just the start. You need to move things around, look for patterns and use questions to help you understand what’s happening. Questions like these:
- What are they doing on social media?
- What content are they offering?
- What is their activity telling you?
- When are they doing it? Are they consistent?
- Where are they doing it and, indeed, not doing it?
- Why are they doing it?
- Who is doing it, and who is involved in the content?
- Is it planned and strategic?
The sea of sameness
Then determine how you are going to (or not going to do) be better than them. To differentiate yourself from the sea of sameness, create a compelling competitive advantage.
The free tool Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Ubersuggests are great places to isolate the relevant keywords. Use these tools to analyse your website, separate your relevant keywords, the average monthly keyword searches and the estimated level of competition. Or you can analyse social media and search results from the other way around. Come from your general target keywords or competitors’ keywords and isolate search volume and the competition you will face to maximise keyword success.
Choose the top five or ten keywords most relevant to your firm and search them in Google.
Be careful to narrow down your list of competitors by making sure you are competing with businesses that are competitors for your customers to use.
What you can do
Here’s a list of things social media content can do to assist your competitor analysis, specifically how they conduct business online. Remember, at every step, ask what it is telling you, what’s missing, what they are not saying and what you can do about it to create a competitive advantage. So follow this checklist, and you won’t go wrong:
- Monitor their content
- Analyse engagement and user engagement rates
- Look at industry influencers. Do they interact with your competitors? How, why, and who?
- Assess their followers, their growth and their demographics
- Assess their click-through rates
- Test their customer service performance
- Analyse ad campaigns and strategies
- Analyse how well their sponsored posts are
- Evaluate their hashtag usage
- Define their content
- Conduct sentiment analysis of their brand mentions
- Assess whom they see as a competitor and monitor their social media
- How do they A/B test to optimise their campaigns
- Determine how effective they are with their influencer marketing
- Analyse their cost per engagement
- Track sponsored post conversations
- Compare their performance on all the platforms
- Evaluate post impressions and reach
- Overtime monitor engagement changes
- Determine their industry sector’s social media trends
- Assess the content to see how it resonates with their target audience
Who do they follow?
Find out what other brands similar to what you do does your audience follow. Use tools like to give you interesting and valuable insights:
- Facebook Audience Insights
- Twitter Analytics
They may also give you nothing. But if you dont look, you are never going to find out. Good or bad.
Look at Twitter. See who is following your competitors, whom they aren’t following, and whom your best followers are following.
Drill down to five
You will have a massive list of competitors. We recommend that your dont focus on every competitor out there. Select five of whom you consider your most important competitors, and focus on the competitors you clearly compete with on social media.
- Which networks are they on?
- How big is their following, and how fast is it growing?
- Who are their top followers?
- How often do they post?
- What’s their engagement rate?
- What’s their share of voice on social media?
- Which hashtags do they use most often?
- How many hashtags do they use in total?
Do a SWOT Analysis
You have some data now and must analyse it to understand your position compared to the competition. When doing this analysis, remember that you are looking for ways to improve your strategy, growth, competitive advantage and possible risks.
A SWOT analysis is a fundamental tool for helping you clearly think about the information found. In a SWOT analysis, you will identify the following:
- Things you and they are doing well
- List the relevant metrics where your figures are higher than theirs.
- Areas where you need to improve
- Isolate those metrics that you lag behind the competition.
- You will want to test, improve and tweak your social media activities in these areas.
- What can you take advantage of within your competitive environment
- Isolate opportunities for you to make the most of by determining where you stand compared to your competitors.
- These could be the improvement you have found looking at your and your competitors’ strength and weaknesses.
- Or it could be new technology, ways of doing things and new platforms or content.
- What opportunities are out there to improve your competitive advantage?
- The external risks you and they face
- Threats come from outside your company.
- Analyse the growth of the corresponding number or anything that shows change over time.
- A high follower growth rate probably means they are more of a threat than a competitor with flatlining growth.
- Keep an eye out on your industry for upcoming events and changes that will affect your competitive position compared to competitors.
Are they really strong or weak in these areas?
Both you and your competitors will likely have strengths and weaknesses in each network they operate in. So you need to be very clear in distinguishing each strength and weakness. As yourself:
- Is it really a strength/weakness?
- Why is it a strength/weakness?
- What evidence do you have that it’s a strength/weakness?
Create a Summary Report
Once you’ve gathered all the data from your competitive analysis, create a summary report outlining your findings. This should include an overview of each competitor’s strategies and performance on social media as well as any opportunities or threats you identified during the process.
Review social media competitive analysis regularly to ensure it’s current. But dont obsess with it and start reacting to every competitor’s move.
Social media competitor analysis in 2023
In conclusion, a social media competitor analysis reveals their strengths and weaknesses and how they compare to yours. Yes, benchmark, but look at how you can beat them, not how you can catch up. And, actually, it’s not about beating them. It’s about creating your competitive advantage. If you beat them in the process, all is well and good. This article attempted to describe Social media competitor analysis in 2023.
So you can identify opportunities for growth and strategies that aren’t performing as they should. By conducting a regular social media competitive analysis, you can stay ahead of the competition and win on social media. And, of course, this is why competitor monitoring and competitive tracking are essential.
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Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.