Mar 28 2022
Social media is by far one of the most popular forms of digital marketing in 2022. In fact, Smart Insights found that more than half of the world is using social media, with 58.4% of the population spending an average of two and a half hours on it daily!
With so much time being spent on it, and the tiny attention span we seem to have these days, a solid strategy is a must if you want to reach your audience effectively. But before you develop your strategy, you first need to do some good old fashion competitor research.
Competitor research will help you clearly analyse the landscape and give you insight into things that can’t be seen at a surface level. This often includes strategies that work, doesn’t work and most importantly, where the gaps are in the market.
Competitor research is an investment and definitely worthwhile as it will help you enhance and refine your strategy. Not sure how? Let us give you the lowdown.
What is competitor research?
Competitor research is precisely what it sounds to be: researching your competitors. This involves finding out who the real threats are, what content are they posting, what platforms do they focus on, who are the audience they most engage with and if there is an underserved need that you can fulfil.
Serving as the initial step to developing your social media strategy, competitor research gives you the intel you need to make good decisions. Seeing what others are doing will help you discover new opportunities, see what is trending and identify what your competitors are focusing on.
It doesn’t matter if you are revising your existing strategy or developing it for the first time, when planning your socials, you need to start with competitor research.
This won’t just give you valuable insight into what works in your industry, but it will also highlight any areas you could tap into. It will provide direction on how to shape your social strategy moving forward.
Types of competitors
Competitors are other businesses or accounts that share similar topics to you. You generally have the same target audiences and are often in the same industry.
When it comes to competitors, there are three types: direct, indirect and adjacent.
- Direct competitors are accounts that are doing the same things you are.
- Indirect competitors are accounts that share the same target audience but use different content.
- Adjacent competitors are accounts that share the same industry/space as you but aren’t direct or indirect.
For example, let’s say you hypothetically own a nail salon, Shiny Nails. Two shops down is another nail salon, Lucy’s Perfect Nail Salon. Their list of services is near identical to yours. This would be your direct competitor.
A few streets over is Timeless Beauty, a beauty salon that offers an extensive list of services, including manicures and pedicures. While their services aren’t solely focused on those two services, it does advertise them, becoming an alternative option for your clients. This would be an indirect competitor.
Now let’s say that in the same suburb, you know of a local brand that makes their own nail polish. While their services differ completely, their products would still appeal to some of your customers on a much broader scale. They are considered an adjacent competitor and a perfect account to collaborate with.
How do I find my competitors
Finding your competitors is easy! You can do this by Google searching for accounts in your field or location. You can also find competitors by searching through hashtags on social media.
- Once found, you can identify what type of competitors they are by asking yourself these questions:
- What products or services do they offer?
- Do they target the same or similar target audience as you?
Do they offer their services or products to your region? OR are they located nearby?
An excellent way to track competitor accounts and discover who is influential is to create a spreadsheet – check out our freebie below.
In the spreadsheet, list competitors you find and record information such as follower counts, page likes, reel views, shares, general post likes, etc. Looking at comment counts is also a good indicator of posts engagement.
Download our free Competitor Analysis template to help you organise your research.
How do I analyse my competitors?
After narrowing down on the relevant accounts, watch and go through their recent content and posting habits.
If you want to take your research to the next level and do some serious market research, you can perform a SWOT analysis on each of your direct competitors.
Write down a four-part grid and list each account’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will help you identify further what is going well for your competitor, what isn’t, what they are missing and could potentially be a pot of gold for you.
Some good questions to ask when analysing your competitor are:
- What platforms are they using?
- What is their pricing?
- What shop options and payment gateways do they utilise?
- What features are they using that you are not?
- What are their unique selling points and are they similar to yours?
- What wording do they use for their captions and product descriptions?
- What tone of voice are they using?
- What are they not doing?
- What are customers complaining about in their reviews
Doing this will also allow you to generate ideas for your own strategy. Not to mention, focus on the underserved needs of the customers. If they are not doing something well, could this be something that sets you apart from the competition?
Now you know how to conduct competitor research on social media, go forth and get studying!
If you need help with your social media strategy or don’t want to do the research yourself, we can help!
We offer holistic digital marketing throughout North, South and Western Sydney, let us take care of your social media marketing. Our experts understand what is needed to create a successful social media strategy that will increase brand awareness and generate more quality leads for your business. Contact us today on 1300 090 401.