Social media users have every right to decide which accounts they wish to follow and what content they want to read, share, and like. To be found and followed on social media you will need to create a plan that will engage users. In this simple guide, we will point out how to beat your competitor's social media marketing strategy and gain visibility in the crowded space.
It is already hard enough to produce better content than what is already available online. However, if you are going to, you need to understand what is out there and how you can improve upon it. When you analyze your competitor’s social media activities, it is vital for you to know what content works best for them and what content does not work at all. Here is where the use of competitive social media analytics comes into play. In this article, we will help you with social media competitive analysis to form your own competitive social media strategy.
An analysis of your competition on major online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube is essential to your own social media positioning. We will focus on competitors’ top performing content that is published on each of these online networks, emphasizing mainly on their special offers and promotional material. By the end of this article, you will understand things like how to track your competitor’s hashtags and how to trace the mention of your brand on various channels in order to beat your competitor's social media marketing strategy.
Analyze the Competition’s Content
Content is the most critical factor that impacts social media reputation. It would be best if you were sure that you completely understand your competitors’ content strategy and their goals. Start to notice things like whether or not they share their content or if they are sharing content from other sources. Generally, businesses use social media to share their content, but some will also use the platforms to share from other sources because they do not have enough material of their own.
If competitors are sharing mixed content, then find out what material they are sharing and what type of engagement they are getting on the content (shares, likes, and comments). Doing so can help you to decide what kind of material you will need to develop for your brand. For example, if you find that your competitors are only sharing content from other sources, then you might want to consider a strong content marketing strategy of your own. Doing so will help position your brand as the industry expert, and you might even find competitor’s sharing your content with their following.
Analyze Content Mediums and Post Timing
Be sure also to check whether your competitors are using images, videos, and other media elements in their updates. Different kinds of content receives various types of engagement from different channels. Make a note of which types of content is receiving what sort of traffic and which channel is more impactful for your competitors. By understanding content mediums you will also be able to understand the type of audience that each medium brings. Use all of this information to plan your content and determine whether you need to focus on mastering visual content or writing incredible blog posts.
Another critical analysis note that is often left out is understanding at what time your competitors are publishing their posts. Always post your content at a time when your audience is likely to be online or using the specific platform. Different platforms have different engagement times. For example, LinkedIn engagement tends to be highest during the end of the day when users are burnt out from work and looking for something else to do or during lunch. Imagine that!
LinkedIn engagement tends to be highest during the end of the day when users are burnt out from work and looking for something else to do or during lunch. Imagine that!
Analyze Competitors’ Special Offers
As you begin to understand the content engagement portion of the analysis do not forget to see what special offers your competitors are offering and which ones are the top performing. Discovering special offers will help you with your own sales strategy and ways to entice visitors to visit your site and influence visitors to take action on your site.
You can also create discount plans with coupon codes, or even plan a deal with some of your supply partners to attract your audience. For example, if you are a digital marketing firm like us, you might consider offering a free digital marketing audit. Alternatively, if you are an oil change shop, consider giving your customers 15% off if they reference the social media post and code.
Keep Track of Audience Growth
Businesses will mainly focus on multiple social media networks and channels. It is very rare to find a company that is only using one social media channel unless that channel performs much better than the rest.
To understand your competitors’ social media plans, you will need to follow the channels they are focusing on and how frequently they are updating their channels with updated posts. Determine what the content type is and how their posts are impacting their monthly audience growth.
Social media tools like SEMrush, which we will talk about more later, can help you to track these data points. The audience growth analysis will help you to understand who is more influential on social media networks and how frequently they publish their content on each channel.
Know Your Competitors’ Activity
Let’s say that your competition is good at promoting itself on Facebook. Don’t be afraid to do a deep-dive analysis on their Facebook channel. In order to do an analysis, follow them! A follow will help you gain an intimate understanding of their strategy. Take screenshots to understand the content types and benchmark competitor growth month over month.
Find out how much and what kind of content they are posting on Facebook. The analysis will also help you to pick up on trends and when they publish their content and at what time they get maximum engagement. Again, all of this understanding of your competitor’s social media is to help you plan out your social media content and strategy.
In order to do an analysis of your competitor’s social media, follow them!
What Hashtags are Competitor's Using
SEMrush includes a hashtag report in its offering for social media tracking. By clicking on the hashtag report, you will see a series of hashtags run by your competitors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you click on any hashtag that you find appealing, you will be able to see what type of campaigns your competition is running and what content was used to run them. Identifying high volume hashtags or hashtags that carry more elevated than normal engagement rates will be ones that you want to include in your campaigns as well.
If you are not using SEMrush, then be sure to follow hashtags that competitors use in their posts. Get involved in the conversation and see what type of people are engaging in the hashtag conversation.
Find Out Engagement Trends
To find out what kind of content helps in fetching more engagement for you and your competitors, join in on the conversation. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the material because this will help you understand what type of responses come from the specific post. For example on Twitter, comment on a competitor’s post and then see if others join in or if you are the only one.
Know Who Is Mentioning You Online
Your reputation is everything when you are trying to establish your business. It is essential to understand who is mentioning you on social media and who your advocates are online. Set up alerts and notifications for any time your brand is tagged or mentioned online and be sure to engage with the user when they do mention you. One of the best things you can do to begin building a brand following, and what any of your successful competitors do, is just merely responding to every mention of you or your brand online!
Helpful Tools: Tools to Help You Monitor Your Brand on Social Media
Consider Technology for Social Media Tracking
If you are in an industry that is quite common or the barrier of entry is low, then you will be competing with many others in the space. Standing out from the crowd becomes tough for any business. Using competitive analysis for social media will allow you to understand what it is your competitors are doing and ways that you either might be able to improve upon it or fill gaps in their strategy.
When analyzing social media marketing strategies, it is essential to consider the use of online tools. For example, a tool like SEMrush is excellent for analyzing social media competitors in ways that you might never have been able to in the past. By using SEMrush’s ‘Social Media’ option during campaign setup, SEMrush will automatically suggest social media accounts for you to track based on your business and its requirements.
Not only will SEMrush provide you with social media analysis, but you will also be able to understand the total traffic to sites and the rankings of keywords used by your competitors with the use of rank tracking. SEMrush can help you manage your competition through its social media tracker tool. Also, look at your competitor’s overview report to know about other details like their user size and engagement details. You can discover the details of all your competitors by adding their domains to the tracker and then analyzing their activities and tracking their Google rankings.
Understanding Competitor’s Social Media Plans
Trying to understand your competitors’ social media strategy is difficult without the use of some form of technology. There are several social media competitor analytics tools like, SEMrush, Rival IQ, BuzzSumo, and SE Ranking, that help analyze your competitors’ social media performance. Even then, you will be required to do thorough research on your competitions’ data and social media strategy to help you improve your plan.
Study the keywords, top performing content, backlinks to competitors’ profiles, and promotional content to help you formulate your plan. Don’t forget to be creative and add your brand flair to your social media marketing as well. Keep yourself updated with new social media trends and techniques so that you do not miss out on any valuable ways to improve performance.
If you follow all of the above steps, you will position yourself nicely with information that will aid you in designing an ideal social media strategy for your business. Once you understand how to plan your strategy and create it, then it is time for you to initiate it.
Once you start, don’t stop analyzing. Monitor your competitors from time to time to make sure that you stay on track or ahead of all of those in your space.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.