Social media competitive_analysis_by_simply_measured


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Social Media Competitive analysis parameters for better social media engagement strategy

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Social media competitive_analysis_by_simply_measured

  2. 2. HOW TO ANALYZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE In social media, the only thing constant is change. And while you probably monitor your own channels very closely, if you haven’t looked over the proverbial fence lately, you should make it a priority. Social audiences are fickle. Though users rarely up and quit a social media site, they tend to fall in and out of love with different channels. And competitors can be just as unpredictable. So before you get too comfortable with your long-term social media strategy, consider performing a competitive landscape analysis. This guide will give you some compelling reasons for doing so, things to consider before you begin, and advice to make sure you draw as much valuable insight as possible from the exercise. 1
  3. 3. WHY PERFORM A COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS? As they say, you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. In addition to keeping you updated on your competitors’ activities, an analysis can empower you with key information that you can use at your discretion. A survey of the competitive landscape can: • Provide market context, especially in respect to emerging audiences and social platforms • Identify opportunities for growth or expansion into new social media channels • Provide insight to inform content creation and increase engagement • Give you ideas about how you can stay competitive, or even gain an edge • More accurately measure your own success Social media analytics software like Simply Measured can make it easy to get into the habit of analyzing your competitors on a regular basis. And it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. You can set it up to report on different competitors and channels on a staggered basis, or during times like holidays or conference season when you know activity will be high. 2
  4. 4. BEFORE YOU BEGIN Make a list of your competitors and determine which social channels they currently use. First visit their sites and blogs and look for follow and share buttons to ensure you’re looking at the right pages. This especially comes in handy when it appears a brand isn’t active on a particular social channel, but a quick check on their website reveals you actually stumbled upon the wrong Twitter handle or Facebook page. Then cover all your bases and visit Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn for cross reference, in case your competition doesn’t have all their social plugins up on their sites. PRO TIP: Do you know exactly who your competitors are? There might be some emerging companies you haven’t even heard of yet. Performing a persona analysis and searching by user metrics can help you ferret out upstarts that may not be on your radar. It just may be that your best customers know something you don’t. Once you’ve made a short list of companies you want to research, decide which metrics you want to measure. These could include: • Number of fans/followers and segmentation across all channels How many of the same people follow the company on multiple sites? Are there two or three sites that are most popular among your audience, or do they use four or five sites regularly? 3 4
  5. 5. • Audience footprint Combine audience members across all individual sites you’re analyzing. For example, a company with 1,000 followers each on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Vine would have a combined footprint of 4,000 followers. • Engagement How often do people post on, comment on, like, share or retweet your competitors’ content? The more engagement, the more often their users are likely checking in. • Frequency of posting How often does the competitor post something new on their channels? Which sites are they most active on, and which ones do they tend to ignore? • Responsiveness How long does it take them, on average, to respond to a comment, request or complaint on social? This is an important measurement of company engagement, and shows you whether their community managers are listening and following up on a regular basis. • Type of content What types of things does the company like to post? Articles, photos, videos? How about a mix? Are they creating original content, posting curated content, or sharing user-generated content? The type of content also gives clues about the company’s level of engagement with any given social channel. • Sentiment analysis This is a measure of how users feel about the company and/or its social media activity, using keywords and text analysis. Is it positive, negative or neutral? 4
  6. 6. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs) In order to keep your analysis manageable, you may want to establish KPIs, which represent certain standards over a period of time. These can help you focus more closely on certain time periods associated with industry-wide engagement (if you sell ski apparel, your customers might be most active in the winter). Or, you could measure KPIs associated with major marketing pushes in your calendar year. KPIs can include average shares, comments, retweets or use of hashtags. They can also be used to measure use of site functionality (Google Hangouts, for example). PRO TIP: Don’t have the time or resources to perform a comprehensive competitive analysis? Hone it down to a few KPIs and you can at least get targeted results that can inform your next big promotion or content creation initiative. SHARE OF VOICE Some companies are going to have larger social media audiences than others. If your company caters to a small market niche (Human Resources Managers for chain steakhouses, for example), you’ll have a fraction of the followers of, say, people who love steak dinners. Share of voice is an important metric to help you see how big a slice of the pie you have in comparison to others. If yours is small, you may be able to learn a few things from the companies that have the audience’s ear. 5
  7. 7. CONTENT ANALYSIS If “content is king,” content format would be queen. Most social media sites allow content to take on several forms, and a smart marketer will choose these forms based on what her audience responds to best. In general, content falls into four basic categories: original content (company-generated), shared/curated content (links, retweets, shares), user-generated content and paid content. Within these categories, content can take many forms: text-only posts, picture-only posts, text posts with links, graphics (images with text), videos, long-form articles, etc. Quite often, the same original content can be tweaked or repurposed to resemble one or more forms. An article could be turned into a video or infographic, a short post could be turned into a chart, a few short news items can turn into an original article – you catch our drift. Depending on which type of content is popular, the same basic item – with a bit of tweaking – could give you much better results. Did you know? Our most recent Twitter study found that Tweets with images and links significantly increase engagement. Download the full study for all the stats! Shared and curated content is easy and quick. Depending on how good the company is at recognizing trends, the item could gain a lot of attention if posted early enough in the cycle. Pro tip: No company – especially yours – should rely primarily on outside content to populate its channels. A bit of it is fine, but a lot indicates laziness and unoriginality. With a little effort, you can create original content for your social channels – and link it back to your site so you get the credit (and the traffic). 6
  8. 8. User-generated content can be solicited (video or photo contests are a great way to encourage your audience to do this), or it can be “earned.” Most of the time, it will be text-based, but not always. User-generated content can be negative, positive, or neutral – though companies will often take down negative stuff fairly quickly. Did you know? Social media contests are a great way to create lots of user-generated content. If you’re interested in running one, download our guide “How to Plan, Execute and Measure Social Media Contests.” Paid content is also good to measure, especially if your competitors use paid to promote their other channels. Your analysis might reveal a spike in new followers after a competitor ran a series of paid posts on a different site. By performing content analysis, you can discover how potential customers respond to different types and formats. You can also see which types of calls to action (CTAs) work better than others, and how your content stacks up against the competition. IDENTIFYING AND LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONAS Because an audience is such a big, amorphous group, it can be hard for a marketer to break it down for the purposes of communication and content. Often, it helps to remember what an audience is: a group of individuals. Building social media personas is a powerful tool to help you better communicate on a personal level. A social media persona is a made-up person, meant to represent a typical audience member based on that audience’s characteristics. A persona puts a virtual face on your customer, and helps you target information that will be most appealing to that person. 7
  9. 9. A social media persona shouldn’t just be a profile (“25- to 30-year-old white suburban college graduate working in technology”) but an actual character with a face, name, gender, location and occupation. Use a stock photo if you must, and add enough detail so the person seems real and relatable. When your whole team focuses on selling to a prototypical customer, it’s easier to stay on the same page. A social media persona is based on characteristics such as: • Demographics: Age, gender, education, marital status, geographical location, household income, etc. • Psychographics: Soft data, including information such as political leanings, amount of spare time, hobbies and interests, and what your customer thinks about your brand and related products • Occupation/industry: What the person does for a living, professional affiliations, level of experience, etc. • Media and social outlets: Where does this person go online to find information, consume news, keep in touch with work/family, and network with friends? When is the best time to reach him? • Use of technology around your product: Does this person talk a lot about your product category online? Share information about purchases or online deals? Use a mobile or tablet device to research or shop? • Buying behavior: How often do they purchase your product or use your service, what do they use it for, and what other brands are competing for their dollar? 8
  10. 10. Developing buyer personas can help you see if your best customers may be congregating on some social media channel you’re not using. If you incorporate persona metrics into your competitive analysis, you might be able to take some lessons from a rival’s playbook when you start building your presence on new channels. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER Once you’ve gathered information from all your reports, it’s time to analyze it. Try to figure out the “whys” – why did Company X’s Valentine’s Day promotion work so much better than Company Y’s? Which types of users tend to be influencers and thought leaders among the general group of consumers? One helpful tool is a SWOT analysis – a traditional marketing exercise that’s especially useful in comparing oneself against the competition. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats: Strengths: Characteristics of the social media presence that give the competitor an advantage over yours Weaknesses: Characteristics that give it a disadvantage relative to others Opportunities: Things you could leverage to your advantage (weaknesses or holes in the company’s social media strategy, product line, logistics – anything that could give you an edge) Threats: Things that others could leverage that would put your company at a disadvantage, including areas where your company could stand to improve 9
  11. 11. CONCLUSION In conclusion, performing regular and thorough competitive analyses is vital to your success as a social media marketer. Audiences and trends move at a lightning pace, and keeping up with the Joneses is a good way to measure your own success – and effectively plan your next move. Though you may not always be able to act on the information you uncover, the insight it provides will help you enormously in making decisions and reaching your audience wherever they may congregate. HOW SIMPLY MEASURED DOES IT Competitive Leaderboard All Account Avg. Lowest Account 121 9 261 1,205 total engagement Engagement @accorhotels @hiltononline 34K 5,597 170k 341k total followers Followers @accorhotels @MarriotIntl 2.2M 3,179 34K 22.4M total impressions Potential Impressions @accorhotels 341k total followers 106 0 364 1,056 total tweets Brand Tweets @accorhotels @hyattconcierge Twitter Comparison: Total Engagement Twitter Interactions Total Engagement 300 Leading Account 261 115 58 .3% 9 2% 0 @Hiltonworldwide @hyattconcierge .5% @accorhotels 0% @Hiltonworldwide @MarriottIntl 1% .1% @MarriotIntl Leader sends about 12 tweets per day and gets an average of 0 interactions per tweet. 40% 1.5% 200 @hiltononline Leader has a 54% share of impressions and gets an average of 72k impressions per tweet. @hiltononline 18% 1.4% 100 Leader has 129k (318%) more followers than the next best brand @StarwoodBuzz. 9% 1% 2% .8% Leader tweets less often than average. Content is mostly normal tweets and links. Relative Share of Engagement Engagement as % of Followers 195 How does the leader compare? @hyattconcierge 30% @accorhotels Click here to see the full sample Twitter Competitive Analysis Report. 10
  12. 12. ABOUT SIMPLY MEASURED Simply Measured is a fast-growing team of data geeks dedicated to making the world of analytics and reporting a better, more beautiful place. Our goal is to put the tools to understand business data in the hands of business users. We think reporting should be simple, beautiful, and accessible for everyone – not just data scientists. Our software streamlines the process from data to deliverables and eliminates the countless hours spent on everyday reporting tasks. We do this by putting cloud data sources at your fingertips, providing a marketplace of best practice reports, and generating beautiful deliverables on the web, in Excel, and in PowerPoint with a couple of clicks. Want to try Simply Measured? Request a Free 14 Day Trial Copyright © 2010–2014 Simply Measured, Inc. All Rights Reserved.