A social media competitive analysis allows you to methodically review your competitors’ Facebook strategy and performance. Aside from an internal social media audit, we believe that a competitive analysis is an important part of developing your own social media strategy because it prevents you from making the same mistakes they are and provides you with ideas on what might work best for your own Facebook page.
Identify Your Competitors on Social Media
The first step is to identify your main competitors on social media. In most cases, this would already be obvious as a business should know who their competitors are regardless if they are engaging in social media or not.
At the same time, social media (and the Internet in general) levels the playing field somewhat and you may find that your biggest competitor offline isn’t that much of a threat on social media. In fact, some of your smaller competitors might have more momentum online so don’t take anything for granted.
Using our social media audit template, we collect the URLs of your competitors’ main social accounts and their pertinent details such as number of followers.
From this, you can get a gauge on which networks they focus more on, what’s working for them and what their approach is to the various channels.
How many fans do each of them have and how engaged are these fans? Having a million Likes might look impressive but there’s no point if no one is talking about their brand online.
Analyse Competitor Profiles
This is mostly a qualitative analysis that helps you understand your competitors’ overall marketing strategy. How are your competitors portraying themselves on Facebook and other social channels? What are their messages and how are they different from yours? Are there any perceptual gaps that you can take advantage of?
One interesting way to spy on your competitors via social media is to check out their LinkedIn job postings. Are they hiring a new area manager? Then you can be sure they’re launching a new campaign there.
Analyse Competitor Content & Performance
Analysing your competitors’ Facebook content and performance will typically provide you with the most insights during your social competitor analysis. Here are some questions that you’d like to ask yourself:
- Which format forms most of their posts? Do they prefer images, text posts, links or videos?
- Which social channels are most important to them? What kinds of response are they getting from those channels?
- How do they try to increase engagement? Do they ask questions, run contests or quizzes? If so, how often do they do that? If they run contests, what kind of scale are they on?
- What is their ratio of curated content to original content?
- Are they doing anything particularly innovative or interesting?
- How often do they post? Are they consistent or periodic?
- Do they respond to post comments? How quickly do they respond?
- What kind of engagement do they get on each post? Any particular types that are more popular?
- Are they running their social media campaigns in-house or using a top social media agency?
- What hashtags do they use often? Are they branded or unbranded?
- How are they on user-generated content? Are they soliciting posts?
- What are their engagement strategies? Do they hold long conversations on Twitter? Or do they not respond to comments?
For some industries, such a fitness or fashion, blogging is a very popular activity. If that’s the case, you may also want to visit their website to find out which of their posts received the best response.
You will also want to look at their fans’ comments. What is it that they are particularly good at? What are some of the common complaints? Is there anything you can take advantage of?
If you would like to monitor your competitors’ performance over time, Facebook also has the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature that allows you to monitor up to five different pages. It will show you each page’s total Page Likes and percentage change from the previous week, number of posts they shared this week as well as their engagement for the past week.