When launching a product, the company may have grandiose expectations. However, only a few get to see the profits. I have often noticed that when a project does not get back the return on investment in SMM — all because the business does not have a specific content strategy.
Without a strategy, everything is messy and always ends up being a pointless waste of money. To solve this problem and prepare the right strategy, you should first analyze the effective brands in the industry to understand how they have achieved success —conduct an audit of the content strategy of competitors.
In the article, I will talk about all of this. I will provide you step-by-step instructions and show you what to look at, how to choose the competitors for analysis, what figures to analyze, and how to formulate conclusions in the end.
Why do you need competitor analysis?
Analytics helps you find out what is effective in others and apply the best practices in your business. This is how to start developing a content strategy.
We analyze the gender and age of users
First, we analyze the gender and age of our competitors ‘ subscribers, because they are also our potential customers. This makes it easier to understand who will buy from us and how we plan to organize sales.
Age, geo, and social status determine both our tone of communication with subscribers, as well as the topics for reputation posts and advertising activities.
For example, our subscribers are mostly married or single. If the majority is married, they may be interested in entertaining content about families and children. Special offers can be made by offers “buy for yourself — get for your wife as a gift”, as well as a selection of products “for him/her”.
The most relevant content
I also analyze the content of competitors to understand popular categories and topics that will raise the reach and contribute to solving business problems.
We will use this data when creating our content strategy. When we identify the most effective creatives and ways to engage, it’s time to refine them: adapt the topic to our product, change the terms of the sweepstakes so that people participate more actively in them — and then supplement our strategy.
Next, we will analyze in detail how to formulate conclusions.
Looking for competitors
It’s time to discuss how to look for competitors for analysis.
Only the business itself knows its competitors best. That’s why I find out this data from the specific Company. In my brief, there is a dedicated line for this. I analyze the information provided, also, look for competitors on my own.
Search for market leaders
It is most effective to search for market leaders in search engines. A basic keyword search will show us the sites of organizations that are actively advertised on Google. Go to the site and look for the social networks button.
It’s simple: if a company is promoting on the “big” Internet, most likely, it is present on social media — here you can find a lot of subscribers, who are your potential clients.
Facebook and Instagram
If we could not find suitable competitors for keywords through the internal search of the social network or Google, then external services will not help us here.
We know our target audience, and that’s why we use a Facebook tool called Audience Insights.
To do this, first, create a business account, and then click on the link and enter the approximate parameters of your audience.
After selecting the appropriate region, age, and gender, specify the approximate interests of the users. It is important to know that Facebook analyzes not only the interests that the person himself indicated in his profile but also the user’s interaction with content in communities to which he does not even subscribe.
Therefore, we indicate the interests that are suitable for our topic to get relevant results.
After filling in all the search terms in the column on the left, go to the “Likes” block. Here we see the top pages for your target audience, and we will look for the most successful competitors. For example, for the query “Furniture”, we see a home goods store that has 50 thousand subscribers.
Then, we will go to this profile and analyze what Facebook offers in the “Similar Pages” section.
We found out which competitors are on social networks. Now it’s time to find interesting content in their communities.
Appreciate the community of competitors
First, we need to find out which communities we take for analysis. Below we will tell you about the most important parameters for selection.
When selecting competitors for detailed content analysis, you must first go through all the communities manually — and only then analyze them through the services.
If a profile has a lot of subscribers, it does not mean that it will fit us. You can often find “dead” profiles, where there are no fresh posts or the entire audience is fake.
Why build up an audience if these people do not read the publications and do not show a reaction to your content? This is an indication that the content strategy is not working. These social media profiles are not suitable for our analysis, because there is no high-quality content.
I usually check the communities before the audit to select the active and original ones — and only then use analytical tools.
What indicators to look at:
- The posts are regular, about 3-5 publications per week. If there are no posts in the community for six months, there is no point in taking this profile for analysis.
- The number of subscribers, the more, the better. In narrow niches, I’m looking for communities from at least a thousand subscribers.
- Post coverage. The coverage should be at least one and a half thousand views. Of course, the higher the number of views — the more accurate the analysis will be.
- Engagement. We don’t need specific numbers at this point, the tools will calculate them later. Generally, the engagement is either there or not. If there are no comments and 7-12 likes on the post when viewing the profile’s feed, the engagement is not very high. Usually, you should look for engagement which equals 10% of the views. I check whether there are comments under sales and reputation posts.
What to do if there are no direct competitors
When you need to promote a unique product without direct analogs, we still do an audit. In this case, the audit is even more important.
Here we need instead of searching for direct competitors, analyze related topics and similar goals and objectives.
For example, in the project for organizing jazz performances on the roofs, we saw that we would not find many direct competitors. Instead, we analyzed the organizers of musical events on the roofs and jazz bands.
Now that we have gathered the right competitors, it’s time to analyze the audience preferences and the content strategy of the competitors.
How to analyze the gender and age characteristics of the target audience?
On Facebook and Instagram, I use internal tools. This is very handy since Audience Insights shows accurate information on both Facebook and Instagram.
Here we enter the approximate age, geo, and interests of the audience. In the “interests” section specify the basic characteristics associated with your product. If our project is furniture – specify online purchases and furniture and wait for the results of the analysis.
People read different content on different sources and their behavior on different platforms is also often different. For example, Instagram’s audience is mostly female and there is less negativity in the comments.
So if you need to lead a brand community on different social media platforms, you should conduct your audience analysis for each social network. After specifying the approximate age, geo, and interests in the left column, we will see data on demography.
If the number of males and females is about the same, then it is worth adding topics that are interesting to both sexes. It is also worth looking at the marital status and education of users. The language of communication and how we present the content depends on education.
You also need to take into account the most popular professions among users. To analyze users by region, go to the “Location” section. If you do not select a specific city, you will see the top cities. When you select a city, you will even see the nearest cities, regions, and districts that belong to the main geo.
You can see the top communities where most of the people from the verified audience are subscribed. It helps to find out what people are interested in.
In short — we also compete with these communities for the attention of potential customers. But you can use the topics of these communities to understand what to talk about with our users.
For example, if the potential clients have Ikea in the interests, they may be interested in the Scandinavian style in the interior. Therefore, in posts, you can do reviews and tell your subscribers how to create an interior in the style of Scandinavian minimalism and how your products will reflect this style.
Competitor Content Analysis
After we have found out the gender and age of subscribers, it is time to look at what exactly users like in the content of competing communities.
Statistical audit of a niche
First, we conduct a general analysis of the niche in Popsters. Our goal is to analyze the content of the top 10 interesting communities of competitors. These are the ones we chose for the visual evaluation. We go to Popsters and load all ten communities. We search for them one by one and add them with the “plus” button.
After forming the list, set the analyzed period — from three to six months. Then click “Download”. After loading, scroll down a little. We need a general table of competitors ‘ activity, it is located under the list of selected communities.
When you click, you see a list of projects. It reflects the leaders among the selected communities — we will use them later in a detailed analysis. Sort the communities by ER. It determines the engagement most accurately, reflecting the ratio of the number of reactions to the views of the post.
Leaders are also easy to find by views — this criterion helps you understand how many times the community posts were viewed, and not the nominal number of subscribers to the profile. Using criteria of reach and engagement, we see the best competitors in the niche, their content is worth analyzing in detail.
When we have selected the top communities, it’s time to analyze the content and we go to the post feed. Here again, you can sort posts by different criteria — ER view, likes, comments, reposts.
Usually, the posts with interactivity and giveaways are always shown at the top. Therefore, we first sort the content by ER to see the most popular posts.
We mark the most popular mechanics — later we will adapt them for our project. If we need the most viral content that people repost most often, we sort the feed by repost. At first, we will also see interactive posts and giveaways with a repost, but there will also be publications that users like, business’s the most. This is usually helpful or entertaining content.
You can also see what prizes are given by competitors in their giveaways. According to our data, the success of the giveaway depends mostly on the interest in the prize pool.
Let’s summarize. We noticed common patterns in the content:
- Found leaders in engagement and reach;
- Found the most effective engagement mechanics;
- Understand what prizes are interesting to users;
- Found ideas for highly viral publications;
It’s time to analyze the reach and engagement of leaders and their profiles in more detail.
Analyzing the main competitors
Most likely, if the communities have a large reach and engagement — they are actively promoted on social media. That’s why it’s worth looking at their methods of raising activity and content strategy.
By doing this, we will get interesting and effective solutions that we will adapt and apply in our strategy.
First, let’s look at the structure of the profile, which includes:
We need to understand what keywords competitors use in the name of the profile, what they focus on. If we analyze several competitors, we will see intersections of keywords — which means that you need to specify them in your description, because they are really important to customers.
Also, look at the link design in the description: is there a UTM tag there? Where does the link redirect to?
UTM tags are needed to track traffic. Do not forget about this analytics tool, especially if you specify a link in the description to go to the promotion or sale page on the brand’s website — this way it will be clear how many customers came from the description, and how many from the publications. It is worth drawing the appropriate conclusions from this.
It’s time to analyze how competitors use visual design — the cover, avatar, design of publications, and products. Are the advantages of the brand shown in the design? Are there any features and creative things in the design of communities?
The unity in design of the community always looks good and creates a recognizable impression of the posts. Also, analyze the widgets of your competitors — this will help you understand how else they work with subscribers.
When we have collected original and useful solutions regarding the structure and aesthetics, it’s time to analyze the content itself.
The specifics of the content
Here’s what you should keep in mind when analyzing your competitors ‘ publications:
- What advantages and benefits are emphasized;
- Categories and content features;
To determine the positioning of competitors, we look at the tone of communication first. Whether communities use jokes in their publications, speak to the reader like a friend, entertain, or set themselves up as a mentor and expert whose goal is to help solve complex problems.
When we understand the tone of communication, we look at the benefits that competitors focus on in sales publications.
At this stage, you should analyze the content of other brands and find ideas for your reputation posts.
For example, you can share stories about employees, processes, or participation in fun challenges. Helpful publications also belong to the reputation content.
As we learned earlier, analyzing the niche, helpful posts gain a lot of reposts. Based on this, choose topics that attract subscribers and analyze implementation options.
When we have found the most interesting ideas, you can choose the most effective techniques in the Popsters service. There we analyze the communities. We sort the feed by likes and look at popular publications for all types of posts — reputational, sales, and engaging. This will help you find specific working ideas for creating a content plan at the start of the strategy launch.
After auditing your competitors ‘content strategy, you should understand who your business’s target audience is and what its differences are in different social media.
Also, by studying the communities of competitors, we will find the most effective engaging mechanics. All this will help you develop your content strategy.
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