What’s Competition Got to Do with It
When 84% of consumers say they will choose a brand they follow on social media over a competitor, the old adage, keep your friends close and your enemies closer seems true. Analyzing your competitors’ social media not only gives you an idea of your own strengths and weaknesses, but also your standing within the industry.
In the past, we may have just compared growth in followers or engagement based on the numbers from the previous month. But nowadays, we understand that this benchmark is limited and we need a fuller picture of what’s happening around us.
With a detailed profile of your competition, you can see which posts have resonated with their audience (that is undoubtedly similar to yours), thus providing inspiration for effective content that you may try to emulate. It could also expose which posts may have missed the mark, and therefore, you would do well to avoid.
By using their data as a metric for your business, you can take on a new direction and create a successful social media strategy.
Come On Compare
You may already know which businesses are your direct competitors, but try to identify a varied range of other companies too. That is to say, not just the ones which are obviously similar to yours.
It’s worth factoring in competitors that offer the same products and/or services, but are targeting a different price point or audience, as well as brands that are market leaders in your industry.
How To Find Your Competitors
A simple way to do this is by using a custom search tool to help you look for businesses within your niche and location. You will also be able to see geo-restricted ads, meaning that any advertising will be visible to you regardless of your geographical location.
If you are a bakery in Camden, you might try bakeries in Camden in the search bar, for example.
You can not only see where the other bakeries are located, but more information about their business (opening hours, Google rating, price point and links to their website/social media). It is also recommended that you search for businesses within your niche, but in a different city to have a well-rounded understanding of your competitors.
Once you’ve identified your competitors, two key questions you should ask yourself are:
- Which social networks are truly relevant for your business?
- Are they actively using the same social networks as you?
Every Data You Take
Watch every move and step your competitors make. It’s no longer just about the number of followers their account has, s0 dig deeper and think about:
- Are you using similar or different keywords as you?
- How are they using hashtags?
- What is the average time span between each post?
- Are they using a mixture of text, images and videos?
- Are they sharing/linking content from other sources?
- On average, how many likes, comments and shares do they have on their posts?
- More importantly, do they respond to comments and mentions?
- Has a particular post received more likes, comments and shares than others? If so, why?
- Do they have regular giveaways to entice customers?
- What percentage of their posts are promotional?
- Is there always a call to action to comment or buy?
By answering these questions, you can develop a clear understanding of your competitors’ audience, their habits and expectations. You can also think if and how these answers differ from your own customer base.
As you build comprehensive analytics on your competitors’ social media, you will start to pick up any changes in their strategies, and notice new approaches they are trying and testing. Analyze the progress for yourself and decide if it’s worth tailoring to your business.
There are many tools online to help you monitor your competitors’ activities:
Social Bakers: FREE Facebook benchmarking tool.
Rival IQ: Offers Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter Analytics.
Metricool: Offers Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many more.
Let’s Get Analytical
Let me hear your data talk. With all the information you’ve gathered, it’s time to start evaluating your own performance against that of your competitors. In doing so, you will be able to see which areas you’re doing well in and which areas need to be improved.
Do you need to…
- engage more with your followers?
- change the tone of voice?
- change your content plan?
- use another social media platform?
Always make sure that your content is tailored to your audience and that they will respond positively to what you’re posting. Good content can only go as far if it’s not in front of the right people.
Remember the bakeries in Camden from our previous example? The screenshot below is from the Instagram account of one of the local businesses that appeared in Google, Nora and Nama.
Their feed includes an eight-second video which begins with a shot of a flower box, then pans to the shopfront. The start may seem creative and visually appealing, yet it is only in the last three seconds where the content shown is truly relevant for the audience.
When attention spans, particularly on social media, tends to be short-lived: make sure that every second counts.
Before you post, think:
- What value would this add to my audience?
- How relevant is this post for them?
- Would the viewer come away knowing more information about the business?
These questions particularly ring true for the video, which it didn’t receive as many likes compared to others on the Nora and Nama account.
To give another example, the Google search result also yielded GAIL’s Bakery in Camden. The screenshot below is a photo on their feed about their zero waste policy.
Again, the image didn’t resonate well with the audience compared to their other content. That is not to say that their followers are not environmentally conscious, but rather, an update on company policy might be more relevant on their website, newsletter and/or another platform that is well-suited for text.
Looking through the rest of the account, the followers of GAIL’s bakery are undoubtedly more familiar with their high-quality, editorial images.
So before you post, think:
- What is the most appropriate platform for my message?
- Are my followers accustomed to a specific type of content?
Don’t Stop Creatin’
It’s time to apply the research and cultivate your own social media strategy! Create similar content that has proved to be successful for your competitors, then build on your approach by testing your own ideas and analyzing the results.
The data will also help you identify emerging trends in the market. Maybe more and more businesses are optimizing Instagram now, for example.
Keep your content engaging, relevant and innovative!