Let’s unpack the process of competitive analysis, why it’s important and what it looks like in a social networking landscape.
The social media landscape has become diverse and complex.
This has made it difficult for marketers to monitor their performance and their competitor and industry’s performance across the various social media platforms.
The task is a seemingly laborious process, with the average marketer spending around 8 hours per week manually compiling social media reports for their stakeholders and clients ($18K annually!).
We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
What is Competitive Analysis?
There is a lot to learn from analysing your competition – leveraging off what is working within your competitive landscape to best shape your own cross-channel success.
But what exactly is it?
Entrepreneur defines competitive analysis as;
“Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service.”
In terms of competitive analysis in a social networking landscape, we would be looking at identifying;
- who are our competitors?
- what social media channels are they present on?
- how active are they?
- what sort of content are they posting on a channel by channel basis?
- understanding which of all of the above is successful
Identifying Our Competitors
In most instances, you’ll have a pretty good idea of who you’re competitors are.
If you’re unsure, or want to re-evaluate your market/industry, you can always search with the following:
Google is always a great place to start. Search for keywords or phrases that best describe the goods/services you provide as well as location (if you’re centralised).
SemRush.com allows businesses to use key search terms to find paid and organic use cases online.
SEMRush tracks a large cross-section of companies from enterprise to “smaller” businesses and gives a much more realistic overview of who your competition actually is, not just the biggest sites/businesses.
Rather than compiling a list of thousands of other products or services that are similar to yours, break the list down to represent the 5 brands that compete most directly with you (this could be due to geographic location or similarity in price point).
What Social Networks are my Competitors on?
The Social Status Multi-Channel Platform allows you to create a visual competitive landscape to assess and monitor your competitor’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube performance.
The platform allows marketers to answer the following questions;
Q: What is my competitors engagement like on a network to network basis?
Q: How often do they post? How often per platform? What is the effort vs. reward of those posts?
Q: What media types are my competitors posting? What media types facilitate the most engagement network to network?
Q: What are the top performing posts across all channels for a specific time period?
Q: What day/time facilitates the most engagement for my competitor set?
Q: What content themes are present/performing the best?
What is the average social network community size of my competitors? How quickly are they growing?
Why is Competitive Analysis Important?
Competitive analysis is important to gauge where you stand in terms of your competition. More than this, there are extremely valuable lessons to be learnt in the fails and successes of your competitor’s social media efforts.
Let their fails and successes shape your cross-channel success. If you know that video content performs relatively well on a Thursday morning, you might consider making it a part of your routine social media efforts.
Competitive analysis also helps to identify which platforms you should focus your resources on. If you can see that a particular social network facilitates high levels of engagement, but is being under utilised, exploit that gap.
If you can see that competitors post a high volume of content on one particular channel, but the reward vs. effort is disparate in terms of engagement, you might consider focusing your efforts on a different network.