Whether your organization is just getting started with social media or you are seasoned pros, there are several tools that you can use to harvest and monitor social activities for you and your competitors. These social media competitive analysis tools can be used to generate ideas, discover conversations about your brand and answer customer service inquiries.
The best part? Many of these tools are free to use either temporarily (like a free trial) or permanently. No matter what phase you may be with adopting social media, we can learn some important lessons by conducting a competitive analysis of our social media efforts.
Since social media is such an open form of communication, it’s easy to monitor what our competitors are saying, how they are saying it, and who is engaging with their posts. This openness makes competitive analysis through social media something that can be done without purchasing a suite of tools.
For many companies just getting started in Social Media, the biggest struggle is not knowing where to look for information. At Knowledge Land, we have compiled a premium template for our members to conduct social media competitive analysis in a breeze. Just follow the rules outlined in our powerpoint template and you will have a professional looking report that you can deliver to your company in no time.
Here are the minimum recommendations for doing a competitive analysis for social media:
- Include mentions of your brand name
- Include mentions of competitor brand names
- Understand Facebook Fan Page Activity
- Understand Twitter Followers
- Understand Google+ Presence
- Compare paid advertising spend with social media
- Create an SWOT chart to define future strategies
The rest of this post discusses where you should look in order to perform these types of analyses for your social media efforts.
Search for Mentions of Your Brand Name + Variations
One of the most basic things that we do in a social media competitive analysis is to train tools to “listen” for mentions of certain words that make up our brand name. In the case of this site, Knowledge Land is our brand name and we would want to train a tool to let us know each time they see the term “knowledge land”. We may also want to train the tool to listen for variations of our name, such as “knowledgeland” in order to catch mentions without a space. As your business gets more sophisticated, you may find that one or many variations are needed to aid your searches.
To harvest social mentions for your brand, the following tools may provide you with valuable information. Note that not every tool will produce something meaningful, and if there are no results showing up for your brand, you either do not have a lot of social media mentions or there is a variation of your name that is missing.
- Google Alerts – Receive an alert each time Google adds a search result featuring your keywords.
- Mention – Mention is a desktop or phone application that helps you
- Twitter Search – Use the powerful native search functionality in Twitter to find mentions of your brand
- Social Mention – Understand what is being said about your branded keywords, with some additional analytics put on top
- Also consider Talkwalker and Hootsuite
Search for Mentions of Your Competitor Name + Variations
Once you have harvested mentions of your brand, the next step is to define the competitors to your business (starting with 3-5 competitors will give you the best results). Now run the same tools above to perform an analysis of what is being said about your competitors. By comparing mentions between brands, you can start to establish a baseline of which brands have the most mentions, and how these mentions impact the sentiments of your brands online.
During this analysis, you may find that some brands have very few mentions online while others have a significant number of mentions to dig through. You may choose to expand or contract your searches to make things more manageable.
Understand Facebook Fanpage Activity
In addition to monitoring mentions of brands across social media, it is also worthwhile to perform platform specific analysis of how brands compare within specific social networks. For many businesses, Facebook is the primary social network that is used to engage with customers and prospects, so we will want to start here with our analysis.
Performing Facebook competitive analysis can be as simple as harvesting information about how many followers each brand has on their official pages and how many fans interact with their posts. You can also start to perform qualitative analysis about what is being posted on these pages and how this may increase engagement.
You may also choose to use an automated tool in order to help with your analysis. Tools such as Fanpage Karma may help with this process.
Understand Twitter and Google+ Activity
Much like Facebook, if your company or competitors are active on Twitter, you can add this to your competitive data set and use information about your Twitter programs to prioritize future efforts. There are many tools that can be used to monitor what is being said on Twitter, and also analytics tools to help understand who follows your brand and how they interact with you and your competitors.
The tool that we recommend for Twitter follower analysis is called Followerwonk, which is available for free trial.
Google+ is a network that is not often prioritized by companies, but does have an important impact on organic search programs. Brands who embrace Google+ today will be highly rewarded in the future, so it’s time to get on board! We recommend Circle Count for Google+ Engagement analytics.
Social Media Paid Spend
Are your competitors paying to advertise on social networks? You can use a tool like Social Ad Ninja to see how much competitors are spending on Facebook and understand who is being targeted, how they are being targeted and what segments they find most important.
Use this information to decide whether paid social is right for your business, and where you might want to advertise when you begin your efforts.
SWOT Chart (Optional)
Last, we recommend using all of the information gained above to perform a SWOT analysis for how your business is approaching social media. A SWOT analysis helps define your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as a business, and the information above can easily be tailored to fit into this format.
We list this as optional, but recommended for a complete social media analysis. Pay particular attention to the opportunities and threats to set course for your future strategies.
Much like in our monthly reporting template, we recommend that your presentation contains an agenda, an executive summary and KPI definitions.
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