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How to Spy on Your Competition’s Social Media

How to Spy on Your Competition’s Social Media

Last Updated:  
June 6, 2023

Although companies have been using the Internet to promote their brands since its inception, the rise of social media platforms has shifted the marketing strategies of the world’s best-performing brands. A robust social media presence has become a vital requirement for any company or individual with a brand to promote. 

Whether you manage business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or any other prominent social media platform, it is critical to monitor what your competition is doing on the same platforms. Learn what information you can gain with advanced metrics tools and how these insights can help you boost your business and gain an edge over others in your industry.

What Spying Means in the Social Media Sphere

Monitoring the competition’s social media accounts to gain insights into their strategies is a form of competitive analysis and is a common element of today’s marketing strategies. 

Although visiting your competitors’ social media accounts is just one of the first steps of a more comprehensive competitive analysis, it can help you get the following insights:

  • Which of your competitors use social media?
  • Which social media platforms do they use, and which ones are they most active on? For example, a particular brand may have accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook but only use the latter regularly.
  • What type of content they post, and how they engage with their audience, e.g., customer support, sharing memes to create engagement, or building a brand community?
  • How much attention their posts get with views, plays, likes, replies, and retweets.
  • At what times of the day they post the most often? This helps determine when your customers will most likely be online and using social media.

Spying on the competition’s social media accounts helps determine current marketing and customer engagement trends. It can also help you identify opportunities that competing brands haven’t yet tried, which social media strategies work better than others, and what problems and solutions your audience and potential customers respond to.

Although the ideal frequency at which you should conduct social media competitive analysis varies depending on factors such as your business sector, the number of competitors, and the age of your social media accounts, finding a regular pace is crucial. Regularly conducting social media analysis, whether monthly or quarterly, is critical to refresh your insights and ensure your information on your competition is up-to-date.

Build a Social Listening Strategy

Social listening involves searching for keywords relevant to a business, such as brand names, product names, and hashtags on social media platforms. 

The purpose of a social media listening strategy is to collect data, analyze posts and conversations about your brand or products, and determine overall sentiments and opinions about your business.

Focusing a social listening strategy on your brand has many benefits. You can do the same with competitors to gain valuable insights into how customers feel about them and their products.

The following questions answered by a social listening strategy include:

  • How well do your competitors’ posts fare? How many mentions, reactions, likes, etc., do they get compared to yours? 
  • Are your competitors being mentioned by reputable news outlets? If so, why and how?
  • What is the audience’s general sentiment? What is the tone of mentions and reactions to your competitors’ posts? Are they getting a significant number of positive or negative reactions?

Take Advantage of Social Monitoring Tools

Every business with a social media presence competes for the same objective: funnel traffic toward their websites and products. 

While there are many ways to improve your traffic, knowing how well your competitors are doing is equally critical. The most efficient method is to use social media monitoring tools.

Social media monitoring tools track and analyze the content of a company’s social media posts, providing quantitative and qualitative insights. As with social listening, you can use analytics tools on your accounts and your competitors’ to obtain the following:

  • Social media share of voice: What percentage of conversations are about your company or brands vs. your competitors?
  • Social return on investment: Social ROI calculators can help you determine the financial effectiveness of your social media strategy and compare it with the competition.
  • SEO and keyword tools: Analyzing which keywords your competitors are focusing on can help you plan for the future and make changes to your own social media campaign.
  • Social media trend analysis: Know what your audience is currently interested in (e.g., popular memes, conversation topics, current events, etc.) and whether your competition is capitalizing on these trends. 

Additional Methods to Understand Competitor Strategies

Besides social listening and monitoring tools, a few additional ways to look into how your competitors use social media to boost their brand awareness, traffic, engagement, and sales.

Track Your Competitors’ Favorite Platforms

Establish a list of your competitors and research which social media platforms they use and how active each account is. Besides staples such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may want to know whether competing businesses are highly active on other platforms such as Snapchat, LinkedIn, or TikTok.

Broaden your definition of a social media platform and check whether competitors use other websites with social elements, such as YouTube, Pinterest, WhatsApp, or Telegram.

Analyze Their Followers

Besides knowing how many they have, paying attention to who your competitors’ followers are can provide valuable insights:

  • What audience is your competition targeting (age, gender, background)?
  • Which geographic regions do they come from?
  • What brought them to follow the brand?

Check Their Social Media Ads

To complete your social media comparative analysis, check whether your competitors are running ads on social media platforms. Most prominent platforms allow companies to purchase ad space and increase their presence.

If your competition does use ads, analyze every detail and ask the following questions: 

  • What type of ads are your competitors using? 
  • Which social platforms did they choose to run them? 
  • Should you change your ad strategy on these platforms?

You can also use social listening techniques to determine whether your audience is talking about competitor ads and their reactions and general sentiments.

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