When it comes to developing a reliable digital strategy for your brand, an assessment of what your competitors are doing on social media is quite essential.
It goes without saying that Facebook remains the goldmine for marketers to extract audience data, and derive valuable insights from it.
According to Entrepreneur, conducting a competitive brand analysis on Facebook is “Identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your product or service.”
In this article, I will share with you how you can monitor your competitors based on their activity on Facebook, and understand which key metrics deliver useful insights about your competitors' social media strategy and your target audience.
Let’s discuss some actionable use cases. ⇣
How to research your competitors tactics on Facebook
- Why you should do a competitor analysis on Facebook
- 5 advantages of a social media competitor's analysis
- Key metrics to consider when conducting a competitive analysis on Facebook
Monitoring your competitors is probably even more critical than just researching them.
Carefully monitoring your competitors' next steps and campaigns can save time and grow your business.
Using analytics, it’s easy to see which type of content best engages your audience, encourages the most link clicks, app downloads, likes, etc.
Knowing exactly what makes your customers engage with your content is essential and social media has made this information a lot easier to access.
Choose your top 3 to 5 competitors to benchmark your efforts against, gather information about them, including:
- how they behave on Facebook as opposed to other social networks they use
- how often they post
- what are their engagement numbers
- what types of posts get more like
- what types of posts get more comments
- how they construct their captions
For example, if you are looking at @ Sephora Facebook page, you will see that most of the times they are posting videos with their products, showing how to apply foundation, blush or lipstick.
Also, you will see that on average they post more than one time a day.
A study by Socialinsider shows that on average, a US Instagram beauty account posts 2.04 posts per day.
If you are in the beauty industry, knowing all these things will help you promote your business better.
There are many advantages to this process, but we tried to narrow it down to the top 5 advantages of a social media competitor analysis:
- Get to know your customers better: most of the time, a competitor analysis will help you in better understanding the shared target group, its desires, and needs.
- Avoid mistakes: this is a big step - monitoring your competitors on an ongoing basis will help you notice which campaign or content fails for them and avoid making the same mistakes.
- Discover new social media channels: you're probably posting every day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but maybe there is more. What about LinkedIn or Pinterest? If your competitors are using these platforms successfully, this could be a motivation for you and give them a try.
- Understand what the audience expects: you may have a lot of fans on Facebook, but changes are most of them don't like or comment on your posts. Look at the posts that drive conversations on your competitors' pages and pinpoint what works.
- Find out if Facebook ads work: in case you haven't started Facebook ads campaigns, maybe your competitors can give some insights on how they manage social media and what their most successful ads look like.
As you imagine there are a lot of Facebook metrics you can track. It’s up to you and your brand to decide which ones you want to monitor.
Next, I will share with you four essential metrics to track on Facebook
Engagement is one of the most critical Facebook metrics you can track for your brand, and you should know that it will fluctuate a lot.
The key metrics to measure how well the fans are interacting with the posts and overall profile of your competitors.
Engagement includes: likes, shares, and comments.
So the first thing you need to do is identify those top posts and go through a breakdown of engagement.
If the number of times a post has been shared is high, it's quite likely that their audience is loving what they post and likes to share it with their friends.
Even though comments are not a direct factor to demonstrate likeability of a piece of content, it's still an important factor to consider if the brand does interact with their audience on a regular basis.
It also tells how involved the fans are with the brand and how comfortable they are in sharing their comments with the public.
So, once you notice certain traits and behaviours of your competitors on their Facebook pages, you can almost replicate that for your audience, since you are in the same niche.
By using analytics tools you can monitor your engagement consistently, even daily. You can create benchmarks for your industry and learn how to drive conversations on social media.
In our Volkswagen versus BMW example, you can clearly see that BMW is posting almost twice as much as VW, and they are successful in engaging with the audience.
On the other side, the content VW is posting fails to engage completely, so it's not only a matter of how often you post, but how well you post.
Average Engagement Rate per post
While the overall engagement refers to interactions with every element of a Facebook page, the average engagement rates is focused on one post.
This metric represents the sum of likes, comments and shares on a specific post divided by the number of total posts divided by 100.
It's also the most reliable metric if you want to know what percentage of your fans actually engage with your content.
If your average engagement rates per post are low, it's an indicator that you need to shift your focus from growing your page's fan count to interacting with your existing following.
Reach shows the number of people who see your content on Facebook. This can be through either paid or organic efforts.
You can see an overview of your reach by going to your page insights, and if you want more details, you can click on the Reach tab.
But while you won't be able to obtain clear information on your competitor's reach, you can look at your own data to find out if this is one of the reasons your post engagement might struggle.
Fan page growth or audience evolution
The higher the fan page, the bigger the profile.
Although is considered a vanity metrics, it shows you how far your content can reach audiences on Facebook, and it helps you create custom audiences for ads campaigns.
While engagement is more important than a big, dormant audience, showing if your fan count is increasing or decreasing is also a sign of how interesting your content is.
If the growth of your competitor's fan base on Facebook has been stagnant for a while, more likely than not they are facing issues tapping into the target audience.
But this doesn't mean you can't use their failure to your advantage.
The various factors that led to their failure on Facebook, be it incorrect content strategy or limited exposure to the target audience, should be studied closely too:
- Did they change something about their social media strategy?
- Have they stopped their spendings on audience engagement ads?
- Has there been any impact on their online reputation over time which has led to a stagnant audience pool?
These are the kind of questions you need to answer to be able to get value out of this competitive analysis.
Similarly, if you notice an ongoing growth trend in their audience size, they are definitely doing something right.
All you need to do is figure out what exactly it is that they are executing well and how it fits into their overall digital marketing strategy.
Notice if there are any spikes in their popularity over the last year.
- What makes their top posts so successful?
- Did they run any successful ad campaigns during this period?
- What's the source of this growing fan base (online vs offline)?
- What's leading the audience to your competitor's fan page?
- Are competitors doing anything innovative or interesting that's grabbing the audience's attention?
If you can successfully answer these questions, you will be inching close to refining your own strategy.
Take this VW versus BMW analysis for example. You can see the differences in the size of the pages, fans evolution, engagement, number of posts.
It becomes obvious that although VW has a lot more fans on Facebook, their engagement is nowhere near that of BMW.
VW is also losing fans, while BMW's fan count is on the rise, which means it's time for VW to take a leaf out of BMW's book.
You can get these insights against by using an analytics and reporting tool.
However, if you are just starting and don't want to invest in such tools, for now, you can track the data using an excel.
Content Strategy Stats
A good analysis doesn't simply resume to metrics. Most of the time it's also necessary to look at your competitors' posting behaviour.
Take a look at their overall content, as well as their top performing posts.
Here are some key factors to analyze when trying to understand a competitor's Facebook content strategy:
📌 What type of posts are they publishing?
Figure out the nature of posts they usually share and how is it working well for their brand image.
📌 Which content format are they using the most?
What is the ratio of text, photos, videos and links in the content they are sharing on their fan page? If one content format is performing better, take a note of it.
📌 What time do they usually post?
Most brands share content during peak traffic hours. See if that's the case or they post at regular intervals outside of peak hours.
📌 How frequently are they posting?
Do they share content more than once a day or is it just a few times a week? This tells you how active they are on Facebook.
📌 Which types of posts receive the most engagement?
It's not uncommon for digital marketers to run engagement ads on Facebook to "boost" their posts and gather look-alike audiences.
This is why it becomes important to check what's the ratio of their boosted posts vs non-boosted posts and which ones perform better for their audience (and why).
Figuring out what other companies in your niche are doing on social networks can help you not just brainstorm ideas for your content tactics, but also give you insights that reveal current habits of the kind of audience you are targeting.
It’s an important step towards defining your own digital media strategy because it helps you avoid making the same mistakes that they did and provides you with ample ideas on what might actually work well for your own Facebook page (and overall content strategy).
I'd love to find out your tactics for a competitors' research on Facebook and how you integrate them into your business strategy.
Share your ideas in comments 👇
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