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Competitor Analysis: The Foundation Stone of Your Social Media Strategy

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A lot of people assume or claim that they know social media marketing because they use many social media platforms extensively every day. One doesn’t simply perform social media marketing. You need to know your platforms well and understand that human beings are not the same. Our choices differ, our moods differ, our traits differ, our appearances differ and also our thoughts differ. 

Social media marketing is about changing the way you evaluate any content that you come across. You can’t just start social media activities without in-depth research and analysing the competitors.

But what exactly are the benefits of performing a social media competitor analysis before you start a social media campaign?

Here is the answer to this question:

1. To better understand what your competitors are doing

Know what your competitors are up to. Making a list of all your competitors on various social media platforms will broaden your perspective about your domain and will also help you identify the brand that is making the best use of these platforms.

Your social media strategy will be highly dependent on the research done by you or your team. Performing in-depth research will expose you to information that will help you in the long run.

2. To evaluate which platform works for your competitors 

The platform that works the best for your competitors can possibly work the best for you too.

There are hundreds of platforms that you can sell on. Additionally, you don’t need to be on every social media platform. Analysing your competitors will help you find the right platform. As users behave differently across platforms, you will have to focus mainly on the platforms that help your competitors and then gradually spread your presence across other platforms.

Eg: If you have a job placements service, then LinkedIn becomes the best social platform to promote your services. LinkedIn is for connecting with professionals from various industries and job roles and functions.

Your content strategies may change every month, but the method to evaluate the performance of your activities stays the same.

This metric is called ‘engagement’, i.e. the interaction of the users with social media posts. 

Brands will not spend their time and resources on platforms that don’t give them good returns. So, evaluate the platforms with the motive of getting high engagement from users or increasing brand awareness. 

3. To know the type of content that works and the best way to communicate with netizens 

Each brand will have tonality and guidelines for content creation.

Tonality is an adjective of your brand’s traits.

For example, Harley Davidson, as bike manufacturers, can be aggressive as this suits the persona of a biker and the range of bikes that they offer.

Whereas, Old Spice will not be aggressive.

4. To identify the gaps in your own strategy

You might have spent hundreds of hours to chalk out a social media strategy for your brand. Great! However, a part of this strategy might have been implemented by your competitors in a better manner along with oodles of creativity.

The converse is also true — you might also come across an idea/strategy used by your competitor that can further strengthen your strategy. 

5. Understand user engagement and brand awareness

User engagement is a metric that helps evaluate the performance of a social media post.

But how do you evaluate a post by its engagement? 

Simple — check the shares, the likes and the comments each post gets. Read the comments to understand how users interact with the brand.

6. Understand the type of content that works 

Taboola & Nielsen have announced the ‘Moment of Next’ study which examines consumer attentiveness and emotional response to different digital content experiences. One of the findings is that the human attention span has now reduced to 8 seconds from 12 seconds in 2018. Evaluate the type of content that works for your competitors. Learn how users interact with different types of posts. See how video posts perform and what was the messaging in every post.

The best example here is that of the mobile accessory brand, ‘D Brand’.

‘D Brand’ relies on fun, informative video content by YouTube channels like Unbox Therapy, MKBHD and many more to increase awareness and convert potential customers to happy customers.

7. To understand the budget needed to run big campaigns

According to Nielsen, word of mouth is still the best source of marketing. However, you would want to increase the social presence of your brand. 

Getting high engagement on organic content has become very hard. Brands now depend on a strong content strategy and ad spends. 

High spends on ads will ensure high brand visibility and you will have the control of targeting the desired audience. 

If you are a new brand, you will have to devise a brand awareness strategy which will be a continuous process. It is advisable to start with a small set of audiences or a small region in which to spread awareness. 

8. To better understand ORM (Online Relationship Management)

Every brand claims to be the best in the segment. But how can one prove this?

The answer is ORM. Brands that listen to their audience and show empathy will always have loyal users. 

Social media agencies have a daily ORM checklist to review comments, messages and queries on their social media platforms. They also depend on social listening tools to understand the user’s sentiments about the brand. 

People will not always have a smooth interaction with you. It’s every brand’s responsibility to help users and assist them in any way possible.

9. To know the frequency of posts being promoted

Brands that have a big advertising budget will undoubtedly promote the majority of their posts. But you will eventually have to decide which post needs to be promoted more than the others.

You will have to classify the posts as follows:

• Hygiene post: These posts will ensure visibility and maintain the authenticity of your brand’s social account.

• Hero post: These are the types of posts which will be promoted. These posts will have to be created with the intention to gain engagement and generate leads. To start off, promote 1 post per week to a small audience set.

Every week, the same audience can be targeted with different engaging posts to later study the performance of the campaign.

You don’t need to post every day to increase awareness; all you need is a strong copy or a great, creative post to make the audience click on the call¬-to-action button. 

10. To chalk out a strategy and create a monthly content bank.

At the end of the month, brands scrape a content bank that doesn’t perform well.

Every month has a special day, also called a topical day. Established brands don’t force-fit their brand with a topical day. Create a list of topical days for a calendar year and choose the most relevant one(s) which complements your brand persona. 

11. To build your own Brand Identity and Tonality

Every brand has a human trait to it. While cold drink brand, Mountain dew talks about living life on the edge, Nike endorses athletes across different sports and highlights their active, rugged and resilient persona.

Building a brand persona will help you tap into people’s aspirations and build a set of loyal customers.

There are hundreds of brands offering the same products/ service that you are offering. Before you start working on your social media campaign, ask yourself these questions:

• What are you selling?

• Why should people consider buying from you?

• How are you different from others?

• How can your product/service benefit the users?

The answers to these questions will become your key selling points.

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