No matter what business you are in, it’s hard not compare yourself to others in the same field.
Now while you may feel bad pitted against the Nikes, Apples and Starbucks in your field, when it comes to marketing and social media, doing a comparison can actually be a really useful exercise.
Analysing what your competitors are doing and seeing what works successfully for them can help you to catch up ground and even over take their marketing efforts.
Social media metrics fall into two broad categories: public and private metrics (for example, Facebook insights for your own page). Private metrics are useful for knowing how your content is doing, but on their own they are not enough. Without using public metrics for comparison against your competition, you have no real way of assessing your own growth or performance.
Benchmarking your performance against the competition is important not only for overcoming other brands, but for having a full picture of how you are doing on social media.
There are plenty of free tools out there you can use to do an analysis of your competitors pages. Two of my favourites are:
Fanpage Karma – this will analyse your and your competitors’ accounts across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. However, its most robust and useful features fall within the Facebook realm. The free plan offers a detailed, 90-day analysis for one page and a comparative dashboard for any number of competitors. The free plan will also send you weekly reports and alerts if you so choose.
LikeAlyzer – this will do a quick health check of any Facebook page. The tool is commonly used for competitive research because it doesn’t require access to Facebook Insights to do its magic, and the features are uniform across pages. Though it doesn’t present a side-by-side comparison like Fanpage Karma, the data is presented in a friendly enough way that you can easily take screenshots and import multiple analyses into a document for a competitive comparison.
When you use these metrics for yourself, your competitors and the industry, you can see where your brand currently stands, and how you can improve in the future.
Overcoming your competitors is all about identifying what areas you are lagging behind on, and what you can do to catch up.
Analysing competitors and their weaknesses:
What networks do you beat your competitors on? Chances are they will be looking at your strongest channel and working out how to bridge the gap on you, so keep working hard on your best channels. If you are doing better than them on Facebook, make sure you keep growing your audience there.
Analysing competitors and their strengths:
The chances are your competitors are good at the things their customers/clients respond best to. If your competitors are great at video and post a lot of video content, that’s likely because their audience and customers have indicated that video is what they want. If you feel your target audience is going to them on that network and you can dedicate the resources to work at it, then that’s a good starting place to focus more of your efforts.
To start to close the gap you must work strategically. Do not just post lots of YouTube videos because you lack views in comparison to a competitor’s channel.
By analysing what works for others, and looking at how they do it, you can use this as a starting point for your own content. Take a few of the best ideas and build on them in a way that resonates with your own brand and audience.