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Does Your Social Media Audience Also Follow Your Competitors?

Even if you know the basics about your social audience and your competitors’ tactics, you could be missing out on some important insight:

Which of your followers also follow your competitors? 

Does Your Social Media Audience Also Follow Your Competitors?

This audience segment may be your most important. These people are clearly interested in your industry, and they’re getting exposed to messaging that could convince them to buy from your competitors instead of you.

In this post, I’ll walk through some simple ways to analyze the audience segment that you share with your competitors.

In our recent research of one million users who follow brands on Twitter, we found that many competitive brands see an overlap of around one-quarter of their audience.

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If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me preach about the importance of using a complete social analytics framework. It creates standards and processes for both planning and measurement throughout the social marketing cycle.

Social Analytics FrameworkWhen conducting social analysis, it’s important to keep in mind that the components in the planning stage don’t live in silos. There is some overlap in how they’re conducted and the insight you can gain.
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In this case, conversation and competitive analysis go hand-in-hand, but how do you do it?

How to Analyze Followers You Share with a Competitor

The first step will be to collect data on both your followers, and those of your chosen competitor.

At the risk of sounding too promotional, SIMPLY MEASURED IS THE GREATEST ANALYTICS PRODUCT EVER. Okay just kidding, but I’m also serious. There are many ways to get audience intelligence from Twitter, but one of the easiest is to run a Simply Measured Twitter Audience Analysis Report on both your brand and your chosen competitor. This report is available in our Free Report Marketplace, even if you’re not a current Simply Measured customer (although the free version caps out at 10,000 followers).

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Regardless of the way you collect your user data, you’ll want to aggregate a list of followers for each account with as much info as possible.

Gathering Follower Details

In the Simply Measured Twitter Follower Report, this list can be found in the “Follower List” tab. If you’re pulling data using a .CSV file or another service, make sure you include as much data as you can get access to in order to make your analysis even more rich.

Screenshot 2015-04-07 14.28.14This tab tells you several things about the followers of any public Twitter account: Screen name, name, profile bio, location, website, followers, users they follow, how many lists they’re included on, lifetime Tweets, location (time zone), when they created their account, the last time they Tweeted, Klout score,  and top Klout topics.

Combining Lists

Since you’ll have follower lists from two separate accounts, you’ll want to copy these details from one report into the other, to put them all in the same place. In the Simply Measured Report, you can copy the contents of the Follower List tab directly from one report to the other.

Once your follower lists for both brands are in the same Excel tab, you’ll want to tack a column onto the end.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to focus specifically on how information is organized in the Simply Measured report.

Filtering Users

Now you need to remove the users who don’t follow both accounts.

Column A is populated with the username of each follower. Start with the Excel formula  =COUNTIF(A:A, A2) in your newly created column, and drag it down to populate each row (example: for row 21, use =COUNTIF(A:A, A21)). This formula will result in a number value of either a “1” or a “2” for each row. The “1” will indicate followers that only appear once, and the “2” will indicate followers that appear in both accounts’ follower lists.

Sort your list in descending order, then select and remove the rows with a “1” in your new column so you only have users that showed up twice.

De-Duping the List

This is your list of overlapped followers, but there are double entries, since followers still appear from both brands’ lists.

This is easy to fix. Highlight column A, and click the “Remove Duplicates” option in the “Data” toolbar.

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Once again, sort your list in descending order by column A, and delete the rows that have had the user name removed. You now have a list of the followers you share with your competitor, and if you’re using the Simply Measured Twitter Follower Report, your charts tab will have dynamically updated to reflect the new list, and give you details like the top keywords from user profiles, follower distribution, Klout topics, and time zones.

Twitter Follower Details

To learn more about the types of insight you can gain from competitive follower analysis, check out our new research that compares 100,000 followers each from ten top brands.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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