Conducting a competitor analysis on social media

Keeping a close eye on the competition is an essential part of any business’s social media management tasks. Conducting a thorough monthly evaluation will help you to understand your position in the market and allow you to identify the key strengths and weaknesses of your current social media strategy. This article will talk you through the steps you need to take to analyse your competitors, as well as how to spot any opportunities your findings may have for your brand.

Identifying your competitors

Start with compiling a list of three to four competitors that you would like to investigate. A competitor is another business that appeals to the same audiences you would like to attract, by offering a similar product or service. It could also be relevant to identify competitors by their location proximity to your business if your services require customers to visit you. You should also consider filtering these businesses by how competitive they are on social media. If a business hasn’t posted on social for a few years or its content is extremely limited, conducting an analysis will not be worthwhile.

Social media platforms

Once you have identified your key competitors, finding out which platforms they are using is a good place to start. You can do this manually by looking them up on each channel, or you can head over to their website as often a business’s active social media accounts will be linked there. The social media channels you should be looking out for are Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok. The platforms your competitors have chosen to show up on is a strong indication of the types of audiences they are trying to appeal to. For example, according to recent studies TikTok demographics are nearly 40% gen Z. We could then assume that business’s opting to use TikTok are trying to appeal to a younger demographic. Research into your competitor’s platform usage can help establish whether your business is currently using the right channels to reach your valuable audiences.

Engagement Rate

The holy grail of performance indicators for social media is engagement rate. Not only is this metric fantastic for tracking the success of your own content, but we can also use this simple formula for analysing our competitors. The traditional way of calculating engagement rate is by dividing the number of engagements on a post (likes, shares, and comments) by the follower count, and then multiplying by a hundred to get a percentage. This can then be compared to platform benchmarks and your own content’s engagement rate. This metric tells us how well our audiences are responding to our content, and what types of posts or platforms resonate best.

Posting Frequency

As part of a social media competitor analysis, you should also investigate how often your competitors post to their channels. If your competitors post more frequently, it may give them an opportunity to reach more users and ultimately get ahead by building a more engaged follower base. It’s useful to look at the platform and industry benchmarks for this metric too as it will give you an idea of how often you should post depending on the platform and your industry niche.

Content strategy

It goes without saying, that having a good look through what content your competitors are posting will help you to gauge where your accounts fall short, or if there are any content opportunities to get on board with. Types of things to look out for include the use of the platform’s latest features such as reels, use of hashtags, engagement with followers and the mix of video, carousel and static content posted. You may also want to determine what their content pillars are or how their content is split into specific topics.

Social Media Ads

Paid ads allow you to reach audiences outside your current follower base, much quicker than organic social media content alone. Your competitors could be fast-tracking their organic social media performance by running ads across their channels. Finding out whether your competitors are running ads on Facebook and Instagram is easy, simply head over to their Facebook page and find ‘Page Transparency’ and then select ‘Go to ads library’. This will show you every ad your competitor is currently running. From here we can evaluate what offers or campaigns they may be running, what ad placements they are optimising for, the types of messaging or imagery they are using, whether they are using dynamic ads, and finally the landing pages they are directing their ad traffic to.

Conducting a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is an excellent tool to highlight your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and any possible threats to your marketing efforts. This breakdown of analysis can also be used when researching your competitors, as well as be extended to the wider marketing strategy. Working out how your social media efforts interact with the other marketing touch points is essential. Social media marketing is considered ‘top of funnel’, so whatever your business goals, for overall success you will also need to consider the performance of your website and paid or organic marketing on Google.

Here at Cartwright Communications, we have a dedicated social media team who are ready to take your social media channels to the next level. Specialising in sectors such as property and construction and food and beverages, we will work to optimise your channels with high-quality content that your audience will love, ensuring your voice is heard amongst your competitors. As a full-service agency, we are versatile in our approach, with the ability to switch between services depending on the needs of your business.