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3 Major Struggles of Social Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis on social presents more information on your competitors than ever before, but can also create massive confusion. Which metrics, channels, brands, and organic/paid strategies should you be comparing and contrasting?

3 Major Struggles of Social Competitive Analysis

I asked Simply Measured’s best and brightest, our Enterprise Client Partners and an Enterprise Account Executive, to tell me a little about the struggles they’re seeing brands deal with on the front lines. These three spend each day working with the largest brands in the world to develop and understand their social programs.

Spoiler alert: The struggle is real. 

Not Knowing How to Identify Your Competitors

81bd9954365a36ccc4747dff90816124 (1)Kristin Dean, Enterprise Client Partner, often sees brands falter at finding a legitimate competitive set to compare themselves to.

“Brands sometimes focus on profiles that are too low in audience size, or too high. Finding a well-rounded set to use for benchmarking is always a challenge,” says Dean.

Identifying industry competition will take into consideration location, sales and revenue data, intuition, and other offline factors.

Identifying aspirational competitors on social media can sometimes be even more valuable to marketers because tactics can align more directly than they might with direct industry competitors.

Lack of Clarity on Establishing Benchmarking and Brand Averages

1332eebEnterprise Client Partner Lauren Berry sees brands wanting to know the answer to the three following questions:

What is average for our industry or vertical?

What is “normal” now?

What is expected from us?

In order to keep your analysis manageable and effective, you need to create a reliable, data-based benchmarking process.

That means it’s time to calculate averages, which represent certain minimum standards over a period of time in relationship to your competitors’ performance. These averages can help you plan your tactics and activities for the coming quarters.

Only Looking at Followers and Engagement

bidenphtotKurt Weiss, Enterprise Account Executive, thinks brands do themselves a disservice by sticking to surface-level metrics.

“What’s the point of looking at a competitor who crushes social if your numbers are relatively small? You’re not going to set a goal to gain 1 million followers this month, so what are the areas in which you can attack, to show growth against competitors on a weekly and monthly basis?,” says Weiss.

But that doesn’t mean giving up on follower growth and total engagement entirely. Kurt posits that focusing on nontraditional metrics like response rates and engagement as a percentage of followers does eventually lead to long-term follower growth and engagement.

Setting Your Strategy…Competitively

Before you set your social strategy, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of your brand’s particular competitive landscape, both online and off.

Competitive analysis helps you identify important trends, impactful tactics, and new competition as you plan your social marketing efforts.

In addition to keeping you updated on your competitors’ activities, a solid competitive analysis empowers you with:

  • Market Context: Study the norms for your market, especially on social where longstanding benchmarks don’t exist.
  • Opportunities for Growth and Expansion: Inform your roadmap for the next week, quarter, and year.
  • Content Insight: Learn which content increases engagement and social audience size among your competitors.
  • Fresh Thoughts: Spark new ideas for staying competitive.

Our latest guide will walk you through best practices for learning what your competitors are doing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, how well they’re doing it, and, ultimately, what your brand could be doing better to win.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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