What is a Competitor Analysis and How Can Businesses Conduct One?

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It’s important to know who your competitors are and even more helpful to be familiar with their online presence and what they are doing in terms of online marketing. It takes some work to understand how your business compares to other companies in terms of content, audience, activity, and analytic benchmarks. Here’s what you need to know and where to start.

Give Them a Follow

There’s no shame in following your competitors. This way they will end up in your feed, and you’ll get a realistic and feel for how often and when they are posting. Since you and your competitor share similar target markets, identifying how often their audience is online and at what times during the day may help you effectively schedule posts to your target audience. Be sure to check out all of their social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). Some companies project a different side of their brand “attitude” and messaging depending on the platform, which can provide insight that you may want to apply for your strategy.

Watch their Engagement

Keep an eye on how they interact with their followers and how they word their captions. Some creators mainly post to their stories. If that’s the case, make a note of the type of content they are creating. They could be sharing daily tips in cool fonts and graphics, chatting directly to the camera about their field, or walking around the office to demonstrate what an ordinary day is like for them. Trying something new or even copying the way your competitor does something isn’t wrong. Observe, borrow what’s appropriate, and make it unique to your agency.

Google Keyword Planner

You don’t have to run Google Ads to be able to check out a competitor’s keyword planner. To use it, type in words that relate to your business, and Google Keyword Planner will show you associated keywords. Google those words (make sure your ad blocker is off), and you should see ads for competing business that are using those keywords. The results may not always be direct competitors, but you will get a sense of what pops up when people are genuinely Googling about your business lines and services.

Follow your Followers’ Followers

When researching accounts that are similar to yours, it can be helpful to check out their followers. You don’t have to actually follow all of the people who follow your competitors, but it can be a great strategy to identify other accounts that are similar to yours that you may not already know about, When you’re scoping out posts made by your competitors, click on the post to see who liked it. Then click on a random individual and then click on their Following list. Even if you don’t find a competitor in that list, you can get an idea of the other types of businesses those people are following.

Analytics and social media gain are all about engagement and data. None of it matters if you don’t know how to use it. Don’t let the information you gather end up becoming useless data. Compile your findings in a Word document or an Excel file. This way you can track the information you identify, test it with your own posts, monitor how that information changes over time, and ultimately identify what works best for you.

We hope these tips help you conduct your very own competitor analysis and apply your findings to help improve your social media strategies. Share your comments and tips with us in the comments below!