Whether you’re a marketer, a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting up a business- digital marketing is an essential component of your organisation. And setting up an effective strategy is crucial for taking your brand to the next level.
To chalk out the digital media plan that actually works for you, like any other strategy, you’d want to get your basics right and that starts with competitor analysis.
Before we delve into the various steps of competitor analysis, let’s understand why we should even do this!
Why competitor analysis is a must for your business?
Through proper competitor analysis, you can get an in-depth understanding on
- your potential competitors
- their social platform-matrix
- their social media content strategy
- customers’ pain-points
- the current and future gaps in your social media strategy
- performance benchmarking
- communication ideas that might work for you
Simple steps to run a successful competitor analysis:
Step 1: Identify your competitors
a) Identifying your keywords:
You must already have an idea about the relevant keywords that suit your niche. Even if you have a scratch idea, you can easily develop on that using free tools like Google Keyword Planner. Add your website to the tool and it can give you the relevant keywords alongside their estimated search volume and level of competition or you can feed in targetted keywords of your choice and you will get similar results in terms of the estimated search volume and level of competition.
b) Check which competitors are ranking for these keywords in Google:
Now that you have enough information on a handy number of keywords, it’s time to take the next step. Choose the top 10 keywords and type them on Google and check which of your competitors are ranking for these. You will soon have a clear idea of your key competitors who are present online. It will be a good idea to also monitor their advertising pattern if any. If you’re a restaurant in Mumbai and your prime catchment is Bandra area, you may find other top restaurants that are also present under Google My Business. They might also be advertising in various positions (mainly top or bottom) on the search page. These will be insights worth keeping note of.
c) Run competition analysis for these keywords on social media:
Once your analysis of the search engine is complete, dive into the social media space. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform that is important for your company and run a similar exercise as above. Simply type your keywords in the search box of the social media platform and study the competitors, their communication and advertising strategy.
Since the algorithm for the search and social platforms do not necessarily follow the same course, you may find some new players in the social media.
If your business is dependent on videos (like tutorials, video ads etc.) it will be a good idea to visit and monitor Youtube for your competition analysis.
d) Study your followers’ affinity on social media:
Social media gives you a chance to know and understand your current and potential customers, upclose. If you already have established social media handles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter you may already have an idea about who are some of the most engaged audiences. Visit their profiles and find out what are their interests. Check out other brands they follow (who might be in the same business genre as you are), check some of their comments on these brands’ posts- understand what excites them and most importantly what makes them dissatisfied. If you’re just starting off, you can create a buyer persona for your suitable audience and follow the same drill.
This is one of the most rewarding exercises for any business.
Step 2: Gather data:
Now that you have a clear idea about who your prime competitors are, let’s move further and gather data which will help you draw valuable insights. Read your competitions’ website and social media platforms and find:
- how often and when do they launch new products
- how many engaged audience do they have
- what type of social media posts are working for them the most (video, story, reel, still etc.)
- are they engaging influencers? If yes, then who are their top selections
- what is their average engagement rate
- what sort of hashtags do they use
- what is the most used communication tone (formal vs. informal)
This process might be exhausting but it is essential that you spend enough time on this as this will surely benefit your business in the long run.
Step 3: Run a SWOT analysis
Once we have enough data and have derived some insights out of them, we need to put them in a structure. A detailed SWOT analysis can come handy to carry out this important process. Essentially, you’re looking at improving your brand’s performance in the long run.
List out the metrics where you’re doing better than your competitors. You may also want to add the positive attributes which are adding value to your brand like:
- using the brand colours
- using brand’s tone of voice
- replying to your audiences’ queries fast and to the point
- having a team which excels in some specific areas (like video editing, graphic design etc.)
As a business it’s of imperial importance that you know the areas you have to improve upon. Take your time and find out components you’re lagging behind. Like:
- not enough product R&D
- not enough customer understanding
- low social media engagement
- not having different strategies for different social media platforms
Incidentally, remember that you may want to carry out this step differently for different social media platforms.
A business is always ready for riding on newer opportunities. List down and keep looking out for opportunities like:
- new social media trends that can give you organic traction
- social media platforms that are emerging
- any brand collaboration that might be meaningful to you
Threats might be internal and external. But it is very important that we keep a tab on them as it can help us prepare for the future. Some common threats can be:
- new competitions who are growing at a faster rate
- new regulations in the digital space
- changing preferences of your audience
- negative reviews etc.
Step 4: Incorporate strategies and monitor performance
Now that you’re all set with all the insights of your competitor analysis, you need to make it into a business routine. Keep the analysis upto date with new insights, information, data etc. Remember, the key to success is how we translate our learnings into real action.
Here are 5 amazing tools and platforms that will help you in each step of the competition analysis process:
An essential social media listening tool that has been helping brands for quite some time, Hootsuite Streams is a must to explore. It offers an easy way to monitor, analyze and track your social feeds, audiences and engagement.
A great tool that enables you to discover and monitor your competitors’ social media handles, hashtags and keywords they use across social media, blogs, reddit etc.
It’s crucial to understand where your brand stands against your prime competitions on social media. Share of voice is a good metric to benmark upon, which includes information on how many people are talking about your brand vs. your competitions’. Needless to say, the more your share of voice (SOV) is, the better. With Brandwatch the whole process becomes very easy.
4) Buzz Sumo:
Buzz Sumo is a cloud-based social media monitoring platform where you can discover the ‘the best engagement, content and outreach opportunities across social and search’. You can very easily find and track customer queries, trending keywords, and stories across platforms.
Mentionlytics is another very useful app for social media tracking. Other than letting you analyze yours and your competitors’ keywords, it helps you with a very unique feature called “sentiment analysis” which monitors what and how people are conversing about your brand.
With all these handy techniques and tools, you can very effectively run competitor analysis for your businesses. Another point to remember is that in this dynamic business environment, competitor analysis is always a work-in-progress. A brand must be diligent to carry out this process every month.
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The content marketing team at Vidooly publishes articles and blogs on current and relevant online video industry related news.