Do your biggest competitors’ total engagement numbers seem too big to ever match? Or, are you sure they’ll never catch up with you on followers? Beware of jumping to conclusions. Competitive analysis requires looking deeper into the data to get the facts straight and set useful goals.
The Complete Social Media Competitive Guide
I sat down recently with Simply Measured Enterprise Account Executive Kurt Weiss to get his advice on which analyses go into truly informative competitive analysis. Kurt used the Simply Measured Twitter Competitive Analysis report to highlight three key points he recommends looking at when determining where you rank on Twitter. The following is based upon his interview.
Use Engagement as a Percent of Followers to Level the Playing Field
Competitive analysis is an opportunity to dive into the strategy of your competitors and understand what’s driving their engagement and their success. From there, you can establish day-to-day measurement and activities to keep your own social performance in context.
Let’s start with two, typical base metrics for comparison, total engagement and follower growth. You don’t want to latch on to these too quickly. For example, if you find you have the least amount of followers compared to your competitors, your goal for this month isn’t going to be to increase followers 10 fold.
Similarly on engagement, overcoming a large gap in engagement isn’t going to be a monthly goal. Those are long-term benchmarks that you’d want to track to and go after but how you get there is the piece that we can determine with the report.
That’s why we’re going to look at engagement as a percentage of followers to create a level playing field. This metric takes those two base metrics and creates a rate that you can track against daily and weekly to understand where you sit compared to your competition.
You might realize that you’re not getting the engagement of Company A but you’re doing pretty well when it comes to engagement as a percent of followers. So, you could start a weekly goal today to grow your percentage higher than theirs. That’s a way to set achievable benchmarks on a daily or weekly basis that grow into those larger programs and strategy.
Focus on Engagement with Organic Content
How do you grow your engagement as a percent of followers? Let’s dig into some details on engagement for you and your competitors to find out.
When you see that another company has a ton of engagement, find out what it actually looks like to learn from their success. In our Simply Measured Twitter Competitive Analysis, you’d look at the engagement details comparison. In that chart you find out the type of engagement – mention, Retweet, @reply, or favorite.
The key thing here is that the engagement you can control on a daily basis is engagement on your organic Tweets themselves.
You may notice that a competitor has a lot of mentions because they’re more well known than you are. It’s when we take those mentions away that we can understand the engagement that took place specifically on content.
Depending on how in-depth you want to go, I would say that a good practice at this point in the analysis is to understand the value of those competitor’s mentions. Looking at their Twitter Account report, you can analyze the sentiment on those mentions to get a sense for what people are talking about when they’re mentioning them and if it’s positive or negative.
Most brands weight engagements, such as Retweets, @replies, and favorites. A Retweet means you’re getting amplification of your message. That is the end goal. An @reply is your ability to start a conversation. That’s a really big piece. It shows the engagement you’re having with you customers. If that is one of your goals, being able to demonstrate that sort of engagement is really huge.
Favorites are the affirmation of content. You’re right on. You’re speaking to your audience well. How might you tweak some of those posts or add new things to take some of that and turn that into a stronger form of engagement?
Learn from Other’s Posting Cadence
The retweeted content is, for me, the most powerful content. So, one of the things I would recommend is to go to the data behind the report and see the top retweeted content. I’m going to go to those sent posts and sort by Retweets and I can see the top ten most retweeted pieces of content from these handles.
With that slice, I understand the engagement they’re getting on their content. The other key piece to look at is how often they are tweeting. This is where we can see which brands are doing customer service as well, how much customer service they’re doing, what they’re dedication to customer service is, and how that compares to the organic content that they produce.
You may find that the brands producing the most organic content, rather than responding to customer mentions, are getting more engagement because they’re giving their followers more opportunity to engage.
Another company might be putting out less content but they have the most followers, which might explain some of their success. Some other competitor might not produce as much content and doesn’t have many followers, but is doing a tremendous job on customer service so they have a lot of @replies.
Again, it’s understanding how they’re weighing those priorities. You may decide, based upon your analysis of your competitors, to see what would happen if you increased the rate of the content you’re producing organically to support your campaigns. Especially on Twitter, it is a bit of a volume game.
How Do You Compare to Your Competitors?
What does it mean that your competitor is beating you at engagement? Are they just posting twice as much as you are so that leads to twice as much engagement? How much does that customer service factor into the amount of engagement they’re seeing, in either mentions or @replies and so on?
More mentions could just be due to greater name brand recognition so it’s best to focus on engaging the audience you do have. It’s those small wins that help you build a strategy that will help you attack the long-term goal of more followers or more steady engagement.
What type of competitive analysis on Twitter have you found most informative for your brand? Please share your insights in the comments below.