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School Your Competition: 3 Tips to Simplify Competitive Analysis

Analyzing your competition means working with a lot of data, but if you know what metrics to focus on and which questions to answer, you’ll be able to quickly put your brand’s performance in perspective and start learning from your competitors.

Competitive analysis can be crucial for brands invested in social media, but it’s often overlooked. So much time is spent planning content, crafting copy, and measuring brand performance that analyzing competitors doesn’t always seem feasible.

Let’s take a look at three tips for quickly analyzing competition by looking at data for the top seeded teams in this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

1. Narrow Analysis to Key Metrics

Understanding your competitors’ performance with the same level of detail used for your own brand is an enormous task and isn’t necessary. Instead, focus on a few key metrics that put your brand’s performance into context.

Comparing where your brand ranks in terms of audience size, engagement, and brand activity helps you gain perspective on overall performance and quickly identify social strengths and weaknesses.

Competitive Social Media Leaderboard

Are you leading the pack in terms of followers, like the Kansas Jayhawks (@KU_Hoops)? Are you as active as your competitors? How many potential impressions are you creating for your brand? If you have trouble drawing competitive comparisons due to extreme differences in audience sizes, see how you can refocus your competitive analysis.

2. Answer Questions That Will Inform Your Actions

Knowing what you’re seeking to answer before you begin your analysis will speed your process and help you avoid spending too much time sifting through the data. Your questions should include, “What am I doing well?” and “What are my competitors doing better than I am?”

The answers to these questions should provide direction for where to make improvements.

Twitter Engagement Comparison

For example, the Kansas  Jayhawks’ (@KU_Hoops) strength is their audience size, and their competition, the Miami Hurricanes (@CanesHoops) have been outperforming them in terms of total engagement.

Miami’s strong engagement might be a short-term trend, but it could also be indicative of a problem that Kansas has harnessing their fan base to drive engagement and visibility for their brand. The answers to these basic questions can direct the focus of your competitive analysis.

3. Zero-In on Successful Competitor Tactics

Now that you’ve identified areas for improvement, you can focus on what you should be learning, and from whom. Zero-in on competitors who are outperforming you in key areas, and examine the tactics contributing to their success.

Twitter Trended Engagement Comparison

For Kansas, this means understanding how Miami has been successful at driving engagement that outpaces their own. This can be done by exploring trends in competitive data that identify specific content, tactics or events that drive performance.

With this in mind, we’ve included engagement callouts in our new Competitive Analysis Reports to take the legwork out of attributing engagement peaks back to specific content.

Looking at Miami’s engagement trend, we can see that the account has been more effective at driving engagement for its big wins. Engagement with Miami’s content spiked after its ACC Tournament title win and again on March 24th when it announced it would be moving on to the Sweet 16.

To look at this from another angle, you can dive into what types of posts are driving the most engagement for your competitors, and compare these to your own content mix.

Twitter Content Comparison

Above, we can see that Kansas maintains much higher per post engagement than Miami, but that it also Tweets much less frequently. So although Kansas has a well-positioned content mix that engages followers, it should experiment with posting more often.

Diving into competitive trends and digging into the data is much easier when you nail down your goals ahead of time. If you’re already a Simply Measured customer, get started today with our newly updated Competitive Analysis Reports, or Request a Trial.

Nate Smitha

I'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

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