Social Media Competitive Analysis: A Beginner's Guide



Sep 18, 2023


min read

In today's digital landscape, social media can make or break a business. As such, conducting a social media competitive analysis is more important than ever.

The process provides in-depth insights into your competitors' social media strategies, allowing you to understand what works and what doesn't within your industry. It's a way to benchmark against your top competitors, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and leverage this information to enhance your social media strategy.

This guide will provide an easy-to-understand explanation of social media competitive analysis. It will explain its importance, identify key metrics, delve into the process of conducting a SWOT analysis, discuss the tools that can assist you, and how you can use the findings to improve your social media strategy.

What Is Social Media Competitive Analysis?

Social media competitive analysis is a strategic method that involves evaluating your competitors' presence, performance, and practices on social media. It's about diving into their social media accounts, analyzing the types of content they post, how frequently they post, their follower growth and engagement rate, the hashtags they use, and their promotional strategies.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform social media competitor analysis:

1. Identify Your Main Competitors

The first step when performing a social media competitive analysis is identifying your top competitors. These could be direct competitors who offer similar products or services or indirect competitors who might not have the same offerings but target a similar audience.

The goal is to gain a holistic understanding of the competitive landscape within your industry.

To identify your competitors, you can use various methods. These include conducting market research, using search engines to find businesses that rank for the same keywords as you, checking industry directories, or analyzing who your customers also follow on social media.

2. Choose Which Social Media Networks To Focus on

Once you've identified your main competitors, the next step is to choose which social media platforms to focus your analysis on. The choice of platform will largely depend on where your target audience spends most of their time online. This could be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or some combination of these.

To determine which platforms to focus on, consider the demographics of your target audience, like their age, gender, and interests. For instance, if your target audience consists of young adults, platforms like Instagram and TikTok might be more relevant.

Alternatively, if your target audience consists of professionals, LinkedIn might be the platform to focus on.

3. Determine the Key Metrics You'll Track

The next step is to determine which key metrics you'll track during your analysis. These key performance indicators (KPIs) should provide insights into your competitors' social media performance and strategy.

Some key metrics to consider include:

• Engagement Rate: This is the total engagement (likes, comments, shares) a post receives divided by the number of followers multiplied by 100. It measures how much the audience interacts with content.

• Follower Count: The number of followers indicates the size of a brand's audience on a social media platform.

• Share of Voice: This measures the percentage of total mentions your brand has compared to your competitors. It helps understand your brand's visibility in the online conversation.

• Posting Frequency: How often your competitors post can give you an idea of their content strategy.

• Types of Content: The kind of content your competitors post (such as images, videos, text posts, etc.) can provide insights into what resonates with their audience.

• Reach: Reach is arguably the most important metric to growth, as it tells you how many eyes you’re getting on your content.

4. Consider Tools To Gather Data and Analyze the Results

Numerous social media analytics tools are available to help gather data for your competitive analysis. Tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and SEMRush can provide comprehensive analytics on various metrics across multiple social platforms.

However, tread carefully when using tools that require you to log into your social accounts through them. The API can perceive this as bot activity.

Instead, most social media platforms have built-in analytics tools that can provide valuable insights — in fact, these native analytics are highly accurate.

After gathering the data, analyze the results. Look for patterns, trends, and key differences between your brand and your competitors. For instance, if a competitor has a high engagement rate, look at their content and interactions to see what might be driving this.

5. Create a Report Summarizing Your Findings

The final step is to compile your findings into a comprehensive report. This report should detail your competitors' social media strategies, their strengths and weaknesses, and how your brand compares. It should also provide actionable insights on how you can improve your social media strategy.

Remember, a social media competitive analysis isn't a one-time task. Regularly updating your analysis can help you stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing market trends. As you continue to refine your social media strategy based on your analysis, you'll likely find your brand gaining a competitive edge in the market.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Competitive Analysis?

Social media competitive analysis should be a key component of your overall marketing strategy. It helps you understand your market position, get a pulse on what your competitors are doing, and determine how to differentiate your brand on social media.

The insights gained can inform your content strategy, targeting approach, and marketing campaigns, ultimately leading to a more effective and robust marketing strategy.

First, it gives you a better understanding of the market trends and your audience's expectations. By studying your competitors’ social media strategies, you can identify gaps in your own strategy and work to fill them, giving you a competitive edge.

Second, it offers insights into the types of content that perform best within your industry, helping you to refine your content strategy. It can also help you identify potential influencers to partner with and successful marketing campaigns to learn from.

Finally, it can provide valuable insights into your competitors’ audiences, including demographics and pain points. This can help you to tailor your marketing efforts to reach similar audiences more effectively.

How To Conduct a SWOT Analysis on Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

A SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a tool used in strategic planning to evaluate these four aspects of a project or business venture. It’s a more specific version of a general social media competitive analysis.

Conducting a SWOT analysis for your social media efforts can help identify areas where you excel and where there's room for improvement, paving the way for a robust social media marketing strategy.

Here's a complete guide to performing a SWOT analysis for your social media:

1. Strengths

The first step in a SWOT analysis is identifying your strengths. These could be anything that sets you apart on social networks. It could be the high engagement rate of your tweets, your creative social media content, or your interactive social media management.

Utilize social media competitor analysis tools like Sprout Social or Buffer to collect data and identify your strengths. These tools provide real-time analytics, including graphs depicting your audience growth, social media activity, and engagement rates across various social media channels and formats.

2. Weaknesses

Your weaknesses are the areas where your brand could improve. These could be a lack of regular posting, low engagement on a particular social media channel, or outdated content formats. It could also be areas where your competitors are outperforming you.

A thorough analysis of your social media reports will help pinpoint these weaknesses. Consider using a social listening tool to gauge your brand's sentiment and responsiveness. Keep in mind that recognizing your weaknesses doesn’t mean you should dwell on them — it just means you should create a strategy to transform them into strengths.

3. Opportunities

Opportunities refer to external factors in your environment that could provide a competitive edge. These could be an untapped demographic, an emerging social media platform, a trending hashtag, or even a potential partnership with an influencer.

Monitor market trends and stay updated on new features and updates of different social media platforms. A key to identifying opportunities is being aware of the digital landscape and being prepared to seize these chances as they arise.

4. Threats

Threats include anything that could harm your social media presence. These could be changes in social media algorithms, rising competitors, negative online sentiment, or evolving content trends that don't align with your current strategy.

Regular competitive analysis and staying on top of industry news will help identify potential threats.

How To Improve Your Social Media Strategy Based on Competitive Analysis

Creating a solid social media strategy requires a deep understanding of your brand, target audience, and competitors. Competitive analysis serves as a critical foundation for building this strategy.

Let’s delve into how you can build your social media strategy based on competitive analysis:

1. Identify Competitor Successes and Failures

Start by analyzing your competitors' social media presence. Take note of what they’re doing well and where they fall short.

For example, if a competitor is gaining significant engagement from a particular type of content or a specific social media campaign, analyze it to understand what makes it successful. Conversely, if they have strategies that are failing, learn from their mistakes so you can avoid them.

2. Benchmark Your Performance

Use the data gathered from your competitive analysis to benchmark your performance. Metrics could include engagement rates, follower growth, posting frequency, and more.

By comparing your metrics to your competitors’, you can gain insights into where you stand in the industry and identify areas that need improvement.

3. Understand Your Target Audience

A comprehensive competitive analysis can also provide a deeper understanding of your target audience. Look at your competitors’ followers and engage with their content. This will help you understand what resonates with your target audience. From this, you can refine your content strategy, tailoring your content to appeal to your audience more effectively.

4. Develop Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)

Armed with the knowledge of what works and what doesn't in your market, identify gaps in the market that your brand can fill. These gaps become your unique selling propositions (USPs) and set you apart from your competitors.

They could be a specific content format, unique engagement tactics, or a particular tone of communication. Incorporating these USPs in your strategy can help distinguish your brand from competitors.

5. Finetune Your Content Strategy

Your content strategy should evolve based on what you've learned from your competitive analysis. For instance, if videos are driving high engagement for competitors, consider incorporating more video content into your strategy.

If a specific topic or trend is popular among your target audience, brainstorm ways to integrate it into your content. It may be worth hiring an SEO agency to assist with improving your content strategy.

6. Optimize Your Posting Schedule

Look at when your competitors are posting and when their audience is most engaged. Although every audience is different, this can provide a starting point for experimenting with your posting schedule. You can then adjust it based on your audience’s engagement.

On Instagram, you can schedule posts right in the app, which is highly convenient considering that Instagram only wants you to use the services it provides. Using native tools can help you avoid being flagged or restricted.

Another trick to pull in your competitors’ audiences is to turn on notifications for your competitors’ posts. You’ll get notified each time one of your competitors sends a post live, and you can then comment an educational and meaningful paragraph to catch their audience’s attention by showing your authority.

7. Review and Refine

Building your social media strategy is not a one-time task. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and so should your strategy. Regularly conduct competitive analysis and adjust your strategy based on your findings.

The Bottom Line

Conducting a social media competitive analysis is essential to navigating today’s digital landscape. This process helps you understand your competitors' strategies, identify gaps in your own social media marketing, and seize opportunities to enhance your social media presence.

The benefits range from improved engagement rates to refined content strategies and more effective use of influencers and hashtags. Take your social media strategy to the next level with a thorough competitive analysis. Use a competitive analysis template or tool to streamline the process and ensure comprehensive insights.

For a deeper dive into SEO marketing strategies and how to enhance your online brand awareness, consult with the experts here at GR0. Embrace the power of data-driven decision-making to elevate your social media performance. Together, we can “GR0” your digital marketing strategy to reach its fullest potential.


Why Businesses And Brands Need To Be Taking Advantage Of Social Media | Forbes

SWOT Analysis: How To With Table and Example | Investopedia

The 5 Steps of Competitive Analysis On Social Media | Entrepreneur

What Is A Target Audience And How Do You Find It | Search Engine Journal

Trend: Definition, Types, Examples, and Uses in Trading | Investopedia

8 Elements Of A Successful Content Strategy | Search Engine Journal

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Definition, Types, and Examples | Investopedia

What Is a Unique Selling Point (USP)? | Tech Target


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