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5 Types of Competitive Analysis for Social Media

How to measure and learn from your competition in social media.

Competitive analysis and benchmarking should be an important part of your social media measurement and reporting strategies. Each brand has its own strategies, goals, and execution tactics but you all are striving to reach and engage with the same consumer base. When you monitor and measure the effectiveness of campaigns run by other brands the data you gather can help drive your decision making without the expense and risk of trying them all yourself. This does not mean you should simply be a copycat brand, but understanding the competition will help you make informed decisions about your own strategy going forward and measure your own success with market context.

1. Compare Engagement Rates

To understand the impact of engagements rates you need to look at how you stack up against the competition. If you only focus your analysis inwards you may never move the needle in overall standing. By analyzing this data closely you can determine how your brand compares to your competitors which will enable you to pinpoint opportunities for growth, particularly where the competitors out perform you. Then you can identify what types of content other brands are using that is giving them this lift.

In this example we see that @HiltonWorldwide has the highest engagement rate. We also see that their content is predominately comprised of @Replies. Using this data the competition can then adjust their social media strategy to improve their standing and can use these reports to monitor their progress. Pulling this report for each social media channel will help keep you ahead of the curve and expedite how you respond to changes in your marketplace. You can start running reports just like this by using our Facebook Competitive Analysis.

2. Measure Responsiveness Against Market Leaders

Social media moves fast and customers not only expect you to keep up with them but exceed their expectations. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a response to an online request within an hour. How you compare to the standards set by other brands in your industry can play a key role in retaining current customers and growing your business. By analyzing and understanding how your brand ranks within your industry can help set goals for your social media engagement.

In this example we see that @spginsider is setting quite an impressive standard that also meets consumers’ expectations when it comes to responsiveness. With such a high bar, it is important for the competition to take a look at what @spginsider is doing. A deeper look at the data shows, they are responding almost 24/7, and they respond to 37% of tweets.

3. Quantify Your Reach with Market Context

A third factor when analyzing your competitive landscape is understanding how your reach stacks up to competitors. Start off by evaluating both the sizes of your individual social networks as well as your combined social footprint. Now rather than delivering fan and follower data to management, you can report reach and trends in context to your market. And as with engagement rate, use this data to evaluate the tactics the competition uses to expand their reach and decide if any should be incorporated into your own strategies.

Here we can clearly see that Walmart has the largest Facebook footprint. For the other brands listed, the next step is taking a comprehensive look at what kinds of promotions Walmart runs and content they publish to create such an expansive network. One interesting observation is how, over the time period monitored, for everyone except BestBuy, Walmart has significantly more admin posts than the competition. Experimenting with using a similar strategy (though not being a copycat) could prove to be quite beneficial.

4. Measure Your “Share of Voice”

Not only is it important to understand how many people you are conversing with, you should evaluate how big your slice of the conversation is compared to your competitors. Is your brand a hot topic and making up a Yeti-sized slice? Or is there room for improvement? By looking at the competition you can evaluate their effectiveness of their strategies in comparison to yours.

Cheerios is currently leading the way in terms of Share of Voice with Frosted Flakes coming in as a close second. The next step here for any of the brands would be to understand what types of content are people talking about for each brand. Is it focused on promotions about Cheerios or Frosted Flakes? Or perhaps it is recipes for incorporating these beloved brands into other meals. Either way, this insight gives you an advantage as improve upon your content strategy.

5. Dig Deeper with Content Analysis

The final piece to this puzzle is something that has been alluded to throughout the post and answers the question: How does your content stack up? Every industry has its own optimal content. The key here is to stay ahead of the curve and continue to monitor what works best for your industry in each social channel. By going beyond the age-old saying of “Content is King” and optimizing your content mix and the frequency of your content you can position your brand in a top seat. As brands continually work to improve their content mix, valuable data can be garnered just by monitoring how their content performs.

In terms of content, we need to look at the types and engagement. Macy’s and Sears publish a similar amount of content, but Sears outperforms Macy’s in terms of engagement (not pictured here). To take a step further, it is interesting to note that Sears has diversified content mix. They are on the right track when it comes to content strategy and the competition would be wise to find interesting ways of emulating them.

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Adam Schoenfeld

Adam is the Co-Founder and VP of Strategy at Simply Measured. In 2010 (aka the dark ages of social marketing), Adam joined Damon Cortesi and Aviel Ginzburg to found "Untitled Startup, Inc" with the goal of helping marketers and analysts use social data to do their best work. The company quickly evolved to become Simply Measured and the trusted leader in social analytics. Outside of Simply Measured, Adam is a golfer, breakfast enthusiast, and long-time data geek.

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