If social media is part of your small business marketing strategy, you likely track your performance across channels. While it’s important to track social media metrics, do you know how these metrics stack up against your competition? You can answer this question through a social media competitive analysis.
A social media competitive audit can provide valuable insights into what tactics work well in your industry. These insights can ultimately be used to improve and shape your social strategy moving forward.
In this post, we’ve outlined a few simple steps to audit your competitors on social media.
1. Identify your Social Media Competitors
Before you can start, you’ll need to identify your competitors. You should only focus on competitors who are actively using social media to promote their business. These are the companies that you can benchmark against and ultimately learn from.
You can start with Google. Search for the keywords your customers would typically search for when looking for your business’s products or services. For example, if you own a coffee shop, you can search for ‘coffee shops near me’. From there, you can find other related websites in your specific industry. Make sure to rule out any irrelevant online marketplaces like Amazon.
From there, you can click on each relevant website and see which social media channels they are using. Most companies include links to their social media profiles in the header or footer of the website, so this is a good first place to look.
Depending on your industry, you should aim for three to five competitors for your business on the Internet.
2. Choose the Platforms You’ll Audit
Once you’ve identified your competitors, you can begin your social media audit. Search for your competitor’s social media profiles to understand which platforms they use most. You can start with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but don’t forget about other platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube. As you review their platforms, take notes on which they are investing the most time in. Also consider any areas of opportunity that they may be missing.
3. Monitor Competitor’s Tactics & Performance
After identifying your competitors’ platforms, you can go deeper to understand what tactics they are using across platforms to engage with their audiences.
A few metrics you should consider tracking include:
- Number of followers
- Average posts per week
- Information included in their profile
- Use of sponsored content
- Time of day/day of week of activity
While this list is a good place to start, capture any other information that you think is relevant to their social media strategy.
4. Evaluate Their Content Strategy
A content strategy is critical to the success of your social media plan. If your content doesn’t address your users’ needs, they are unlikely to engage with your brand on social media.
Take some time to assess your competitor’s content strategy to identify any content tactics you may have overlooked. Ask the following questions:
- What types of content do they post most frequently?
- Do they use images or video?
- Do they include links?
- Is their content educational or promotional?
- Are they using hashtags in their posts?
- Are they tagging other accounts in their posts?
- How often are they posting?
By asking these questions, you can gain tangible takeaways that can inform your own content calendar.
5. Analyze Engagement
It can be easy to get caught up in a competitor’s follower count, especially if it’s much higher than yours. However, an audience’s engagement is much more important to long-term growth and success. To audit engagement, you can review the following metrics:
- Number of replies
- Number of shares
- Number of likes
- Response time
- How they respond to users
You can start by just reviewing these metrics on a handful of posts. Note these metrics for each post to get a rough estimate of average engagement.
6. Using the Data
Once you’ve compiled all data, you can put it to use for your business on the Internet. Look at your company’s social media analytics and see how you stack up to the competition. You should stay away from copying everything your competitors are doing. For example, if your competitors are posting promotional content 10 times per day, they may be posting more content than you, but it doesn’t mean their content is driving more engagement. Think strategically about what tactics are driving growth and adapt your strategy accordingly.
If you’ve never done a social media competitor audit before, give it a try. Keep in mind that you don’t have to change everything at once. Start with some minor changes and adjust your strategy gradually based on what’s working.