Social Media Competitive Analysis: How It’s Done

Competitor analysis in marketing is a must whether you’re a new brand on a market or the leader in your niche, working as an in-house digital marketer or a social media agency.

By evaluating your social competitors and creating social media competitive reports, you’ll find out what your competition is doing differently to stay ahead of the game and compare your results.

The great benefit of doing a social media competitive analysis is that it gives you a chance to look into a company’s strengths and weaknesses.

With social media competitor analysis, you will be able to tell where your social media strategy stands and what you could do to get more leads.

Marketers, here’s a guide on how to get started on your competitor analysis report!

  1. What is a social media competitive analysis?
  2. Why should you conduct a social media competitive analysis?
  3. What are the tools and techniques of competitive analysis?
  4. Steps for a complete social media competitive analysis
  1. How do you write a competitor’s analysis report?
  2. Free social media competitive analysis template


A social media competitor analysis is a way to “spy” on your competitors’ activity and results to understand their strengths and how you stack up.

With the help of analytics tools, you’ll get data on your social media competitors’ organic posts, ads, or stories.

By conducting a social media competitive analysis you’ll learn:

  • How they craft content
  • How much engagement does each type of content receives
  • What formats do they use in their content
  • What types of posts do they use more frequently
  • How many people comment on their posts, and which are the most popular posts
  • How long or short are the captions
  • What messages do they address

Competitor analysis allows marketers to look outwards, understand the competition’s strong suits and towards their brand.

By researching competitors and evaluating their social strategies, you can discover more social media insights on your common audiences and understand what performance metrics you need to improve.

Conducting a social media competitive analysis can offer an answer to some of these main questions:

  • Is my social media effort good enough?
  • Am I better than my competitors on social media?
  • Could I be getting better results?
  • Have I identified all of my potential audiences?
  • What else could I be doing?

Many dedicated analytics tools can offer data on competitor performance and help you transcribe those numbers into a presentation-ready competitor analysis report.

Here are top five social media competitive analysis tools:

Socialinsider

Socialinsider prides itself on being a social media competitive analysis tool with on-point data that can help you quickly understand what take-aways you need to gather without getting lost in numbers and stats.

This image shows how you can conduct a social media competitive analysis with Socialinsider.

With Socialinsider, you can:

  • Perform a quick social media competitor analysis
  • Conduct competitive analysis on any social media platform
  • Get social media competitive reports

Hootsuite Streams

This social media competitive tool allows you to track keywords, hashtags, and rivals across all social networks.

Simply combine all of your competitors’ social accounts into a single Stream and snoop on them whenever you want.

Brandwatch

This app helps you to spy on your competitors if you’re not going to study and publish the data. You can use this tool to examine your brand’s social share of voice (SOV).

SOV is calculated as the number of conversations individuals have about your business online versus the number of interactions they have about your competitors.

The more people who talk about you on social media, the more authority and visibility you gain among users and potential consumers.

Mentyonlitics

Mentyonlitics  is a social media monitoring tool that allows you to follow any mention of your company, competitors, or keywords on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and other web sources such as blogs, news, and forums.

You can constantly know what people are talking about your brand thanks to Mentyonlitics.

Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening platform with over 150 million sources of information, including social networks, forums, blogs, news, videos, and reviews.

With this tool you can monitor your competition and industry trends in ways other than social media.

I’ve made a short to-do list to guide you along the way.

All you need to do is follow these 10 steps and tick them off as your social media competitor analysis advances.

Identify your top competitors

Have you identified your top five brand competitors yet?

Before you conduct a social media competitive analysis, you must identify those brands that align with your business, meaning your brand competitors.

Your task is to find companies that provide similar products or services to yours.

It’s all about brand competitors performing close or even better than you and whose audiences intersect with your targets, whether you are an international, national or local company.

Here is low the Instagram competitor analysis looks for leading brands in the luxury fashion.

Once you have identified them, analyze and compare the quality of their products and services with yours and the methods they use for promotion purposes.

This will help you identify what opportunities can help you outperform your competitor’s brands.

Define the competitive goals and KPIs

Before starting your social media competitor analysis, you need to define your goals.

Your social media competitor analysis needs to serve a purpose and offer some answers.

Digging through data without a clear purpose creates confusion and waste of time.

Make sure you define your goals. Maybe you want to:

  • Improve social posts messages
  • Focus efforts on the right social media platform
  • Optimize paid social media
  • Improve organic reach

Deciding on what you want to achieve from this exercise makes it easier for you to measure and evaluate your results.

Choose the social networks you want to monitor

Once you have identified your top brand competitors, try to find out on which platforms they’re the most active.

Facebook competitor analysis

For being one of the oldest social media platforms, Facebook has developed a lot over the years, coming up with many features that digital marketers can use and get creative with to increase their brand’s sales.

Depending on your business’ area, there may be some tactics that your audiences would love to experience, but you haven’t discovered them yet, like having a shop section enabled, to state an example.

The good thing is, if you discover when doing your Facebook competitor analysis that your primary competitors are doing something that your community seems to love and you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a clear sign you should start doing it.

Instagram competitor analysis

If you haven’t noticed this by now, let me tell you that Instagram is the king of engagement nowadays among all the social media platforms.

Not keeping an eye on how the whole digital landscape looks for your industry may cause a huge loss for your business.

This means conducting a regular Instagram competitor analysis is an absolute must.

This is an example of how you can monitor your social media presence when doing a comparison with your social media competitors.

But it all depends on your audience if they hang out on this social platform.

Of course, if this social media network is not for you when doing a social media analysis across all your platforms, you’ll be able to see which one brings the best results for you and direct your efforts more into that direction.

Also, if you don’t have an Instagram presence, but when doing your competitive analysis, you realize most (if not all) of your competitors have one, the next thing that needs to be done is pretty obvious.

Follow how performance on social networks grows over time

Once you have chosen several social networks, you will need to dig deeper to understand how each competitor engages and grows their networks.

To do this, you will need to track some specific metrics like:

Profile metrics

  • How many followers do they have?
  • What is the average number of posts they publish per week?
  • Where are they more active?
  • How many likes, shares, comments, or retweets does each post receive?

Content metrics

  • What type of content do they share: photos or videos?
  • How many posts do they boost?
  • How many ads do they run?
  • Do they use live videos?
  • What is the image post to video post ratio?
  • Do they use other social network services?

Brand metrics

  • What tone of voice do they use on their profile updates?
  • What type of issues do they address on their profile?
  • How well do their followers interact with these posts?
  • What branding methods do they apply?

The metrics you need to track depend on your company’s social media goals.

For instance, if you want to grow your brand, you might want to pay attention to the number of followers a brand competitor has since your results are highly likely to be similar to theirs.

You can use analytics tools for content inspiration and get a full view of a competitor’s digital strategy.

Here are the results of a social media competitive analysis regarding social content, shown in Socialinsider's dashboard.

Check out your competitors’ content strategy

A well-defined content strategy is an essential aspect of a social media audience.

People are not interested in generalized content that does not serve a purpose or answer one of their needs.

Like you, your brand competitors always strive to provide relevant and engaging content.

You need to know if they’re doing better than you and if their content strategy includes anything you might have overlooked.

Are they providing their audience with curated, original, promotional, or educational/ knowledge content? What type of content do they post? Is it text, photos, links, or videos?

Pay attention to their:

  • messages
  • format
  • caption
  • hashtags
  • campaigns

Finally, check to see how often they post on social media – daily or weekly.

This will come in handy when you need to make decisions on your content calendar.

Here is an example of social media insights you can gain by doing a competitor analysis.

Check out your competition’s engagement metrics

Only through engagement rates can you identify growth opportunities, an essential aspect of social media success.

To find out how your competitors perform, you need to follow these aspects:

  • Number of the posts they publish
  • Number of replies
  • Number of likes
  • Response time
  • How they respond to clients

This means you need to keep an eye on the following metrics:

  • Profile engagement and engagement rate
  • Post engagement and engagement rate
  • Boosted posts engagement
  • Engagement evolution (day to day or month to month)
  • Post types ranked by engagement
  • Hashtag engagement
  • Likes, Comments, Shares

Understand how people engage with your social competitors’ content

Depending on how thorough you want to be, you can choose to analyze 10 random posts or track a month’s worth of data.

When doing your competitor analysis report, take a note of how many likes, comments, shares, or retweets each post gets and obtain an average for each engagement.

Competitor posts

See when people are active on the social networks

Social media provides an excellent opportunity to amplify your brand awareness.

Still, it is not enough to post content whenever you feel like it.

Posting dedicated, well-research content that brings value to your customers at specific timings is the way to go.

Identifying when the most users are active in social networks is crucial as it tells you that’s the time to connect with them.

This way, it increases your chances of reaching highly targeted consumers in large numbers.

When users are active

Understand your competitors’ paid media campaigns

One of the last elements to consider when conducting a social media competitor analysis is paid media.

While it might be impossible to find the actual amount your brand competitors spend on paid media campaigns, there are a few ways to determine if they are spending money to acquire new followers.

The first thing you can do is browse their social pages and look for any sponsored ads on each platform individually.

If they appear under the “Who to follow” column on the left side of your Twitter feed, it simply means that they are paying to get more Twitter followers.

And while you can’t get data on brand competitor ads campaigns, you can use social media competitor analysis tools to identify boosted posts and see how they perform.

Boosted posts data

Look at engagement, the number of boosted posts, the ratio between boosted posts and regular posts, and you’ll get a glimpse into their strategy.

Use proper tools for social media competitor analysis

Most social media managers are always looking for ways to automate the process of conducting a competitor analysis and crafting a competitive analysis report.

Monitoring and assessing social media analytics is crucial to the failure or success of your company, but it’s also essential to choose the right tool for you.

Do you need to report to clients?

If so, you should pick a social media analysis tool that focuses on solid reporting and saves you time.

Do you oversee a multi-market brand across multiple markets? Then you’d need a tool that offers an overview of your entire brand (and your competitor brands) across platforms.

The goal is to understand what you need to automate and what features to work with.

Find the right social media analytics tool that offers all the relevant metrics and can cover all the social platforms on which your brand is present.

5. How do you write a competitor’s analysis report?

Using competitive analysis templates and going about these competitors’ analysis reports manually might work once or twice, but you’ll quickly learn that it requires a lot of time.

It can be done by following and writing down:

  • Audience metrics
  • Content metrics
  • Engagement metrics
  • Paid media stats
  • Hashtag analysis

However, you can quickly receive these stats up-front and in a presentation-ready competitive analysis report using an analytics tool like Socialinsider.

​​All of the data you collect throughout your social media competitive analysis should be gathered in a spreadsheet or report that you can share with other colleagues.

You could make your own spreadsheet for this, but if you’d rather get right to work collecting insights, evaluating data, and putting your findings into action, here is a free social media competitor analysis template.

This template has all of the relevant columns, so you can immediately begin entering the information you’ve gathered.

📌 Download free social media competitive analysis template

Final thought

Remember, social media competitor analysis is an important aspect for every social media manager eager to implement successful social strategies.

Clear objectives and a bit of spy work can go a long way. The key to successful social media is in the data, and it’s all right in front of you.

All you need is a little digging and some trusted social media tools.

Your turn. How do you perform a social media competitive analysis? What social media tools do you use? What social media metrics do you follow?

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