Facebook isn’t just a place where brands share content and connect with their audiences, it is also an excellent source for social media analytics. With most businesses having a Facebook page, it becomes much easier to monitor their efforts and set the right benchmarks for your brand’s Facebook strategy. But this also implies a strong competitor base targeting the same set of audience as you. And while it is true that there is no shortcut to success on social media, competitor analysis can be that turbo boost you need for your marketing efforts.
In this guide, we’ll go over the step-by-step process of conducting a competitor analysis on Facebook. But before we dive deep into each of these steps, let’s get through some basics of social media competitor analysis:
- What is social media competitor analysis?
- Why conduct social media competitive analysis?
- Competitor analysis on Facebook without purchasing any software
- Automate Facebook competitors report via Sociality.io
What is social media competitor analysis?
Social media competitor analysis is the process of analyzing your competitors’ brand and marketing efforts on social media down to bits, to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. It helps you benchmark your social media marketing results with that of your competitors, so you can know how well you are doing, identify growth opportunities and even build a better social media strategy for your business.
Related article: Facebook Insights for competitor analysis
Why conduct social media competitive analysis?
It helps you understand your audience: A business is considered a competitor when you both offer similar products or services and that would mean you are targeting the same audience. Through competitor analysis, you can analyze how your competitors communicate with your audience, the tone, and frequency of communication.
Understanding what sort of content drives engagements amongst your audience, helps you recognize their needs and desires. This is so important because if you don’t understand the wants and needs of your audience as it concerns your product or service, there is little chance your content would get the desired response.
It allows you to benchmark your results against competitors: An increase in the number of followers or an average number of comments per post is great but how great are those numbers compared to that of your competitors. You can only know this through social media competitor analysis.
Benchmarking your results against that of your competitors helps you to put your social media progress and success into perspective, so you know how well you are doing in your industry and if your progress is in line with your social media goals.
You avoid making the same mistakes as your competitors: Social media marketing sometimes requires you to be daring and take risks. But sometimes things don’t go as planned on paper and this applies to your competitors as well. There are gaps in their strategies and mistakes they’ve made which you can avoid just by monitoring their social media activities.
Notice which campaign or content didn’t match up to expectations; those that they had to stop or tweak to suit your audience and avoid repeating the same cycle. When you do this, you can satisfy your audience more and take more informed risks, whenever you need to.
It helps you build a more holistic content strategy: Although you won’t have all the details of your competitors’ social media content strategy, competitor analysis, when done right, can give you most of the vital information you need. From content type, content distribution methods, content frequency to content consistency. You can get all of this information ethically from their social media pages.
When you capture your competitors’ strategy, you can then evaluate it using the audience’s response to their content. You can then use this information to create a more holistic social media strategy better suited to your audience.
🧁 Bonus article: Learn from top-performing Facebook pages on how to boost engagement
Competitor analysis on Facebook without purchasing any software
Step 1: Choose competitors for your analysis
You probably already have an old drive document collecting virtual dust somewhere in the “Marketing” folder. Bring it back to life and update it according to new changes happening in the market.
Note that Facebook competitors differ from your regular, business ones. As here, we are fighting for audiences’ attention.
Facebook competitors are categorized as direct and indirect.
Direct competitors offer a similar product or service. For example, all tea producers are direct competitors to each other. That’s easy.
Indirect competitors produce a product that can replace yours. For example, coffee or cocoa producers are indirect competitors for the tea industry. However, on top of that, bloggers and celebrities whose audience share similar demographic characteristics with your audience are your Facebook competitors, too.
Why? Here is how it works. Bloggers, celebrities, tea/cacao/coffee producers are competing inside audiences’ Newsfeed top position. Your content that outperformed other tea producers still crushes through the wall of bloggers who benefit from the Facebook algorithm. (since they are not business profiles)
So, taking the above advice, update your old competitors’ documents.
Step 2: Start from collecting simple metrics and gather them in one spreadsheet
Go to each competitor’s Facebook page and collect data. Copy-paste the number of people who like the brand or follow it. What is the difference between these two metrics? In contrast to page followers, people who liked the page aren’t going to see the page’s post in their feed.
If you use only the data from Facebook, you can track alone the following metrics:
- Facebook Link
- % of Followers
- Avg. Engagement Rate on Recent 3-12 Posts
- Links to Unicorn Posts
Step 3: How to measure Facebook competitors’ engagement rates?
Since it would be tough to gather and calculate engagement data manually, we suggest using only the recent 3-12 posts to measure engagement rates. It will give you a fresh insight into how brands are doing on social media in the present moment.
Note: Don’t use posts that were very recently posted, like an hour or a day ago. Use posts that have been posted at least two days ago.
Gather the number of total reactions and comments a post got, and use the formula below to calculate the engagement of each position separately.
The result will show the percentage of their entire following that engaged with that specific post.
Pro tip: since Facebook has both Likes and Followers, we recommend going with the followers of the Facebook page rather than Likes.
Step 4: What is a unicorn Facebook post?
Unicorn post is content that outperforms by showing higher than average engagement rates. You can manually analyze it by comparing likes, shares, comments, and reactions from post to post.
Understanding what content drives results is essential to your brand’s successful Facebook marketing strategy. However, alone you won’t be able to test all different hypotheses and experiments. Your competitors are already doing their best to reach a similar audience to your audience. Why not learn about their successes and failures?
Related article: How to find your unicorn content?
Step 5: Analyze competitors’ overall Facebook content strategy
This step is prone to subjective conclusions. Unless you have access to competitors’ documents that state content strategy, you can only intelligently guess what is happening behind closed doors.
Here is a list of questions you should answer:
- How often do your competitors post on Facebook?
- What time do they post on Facebook?
- What content do they post the most? (Links to more information, Images/graphics, video, text/status, photos)
- Determine posts that your competitors have boosted or used for ads. (Posts that show great spikes in engagement are boosted by competitors.)
- Do they answer users’ comments? How long is the responsive time?
- Do they post user-generated content? And what strategies do they use to encourage users to post such content?
- What hashtag strategy do they use? Do they have branded hashtags?
- Do they create giveaways or other contests?
- What emoji do your competitors commonly use?
Save time with automatically generated competitor analysis reports.
If you don’t want to go with the manual method, you can use a social media management tool like Sociality.io to create a Competitor Report for Facebook.
There are quite a number of software companies that provide the Competitor analysis feature. You can compare pricing in the following folder by clicking on “Competitor analysis” in the left menu. It is a resource that compares 150+ social media management software pricing. Learn more here: https://socialmediatoolscomparison.com/
Automate Facebook competitors report via Sociality.io
Inside Facebook Competitors Report, you get different metrics that can help you better understand your competitor’s presence on Facebook and their results. No manual labor!
The Report consists of three sections: fans, page posts, and engagement.
The Fans report helps you understand how effective your competitors are, compared to you, in growing their audience on Facebook. It can help you adjust your goals to make them realistic for your market.
Total Fans graph shows the comparison of the number of likes.
The growth of Fans shows the number of acquired likes either on a monthly or weekly basis.
Page posts reports show the activity level of each competitor. What time of content do they share the most: images, videos, or text-only posts. The data from the Report will help you better adjust your social media content strategy to the competition.
Page Posts shows how many posts each competitor is posting either on a weekly or monthly basis.
Post Types shows how much media the specific competitor is using in their Facebook posts.
Post Days and Post Hours are quite self-explanatory, but make sure to take a close look at these metrics as well to see if there are any patterns. Make sure to examine things like if they post any holiday messages and how they time promotional posts.
The 3rd part of the Report showcases how much engagement your competitors receive for their Facebook posts. Other than the self-explanatory Engagement Rate monthly or weekly graph, you can also dive deeper and see Interaction Types which shows what kind of engagement they receive the most: reactions, shares, or comments.
In Reactions, you can see the total number of reactions that the competitor got in the selected time, and Reaction Types shows you the types of responses a specific competitor is receiving the most. Comments and Shares show the number of the respective engagement the competitors received in the selected period either on a weekly or monthly basis.
Sociality.io gathers competitors’ content in one place so that it can be defined by your needs.
With the help of competitors’ content strategies you can go behind the obvious metrics you collected at the beginning of the guide to more sophisticated ones.
- What content generated the highest/lowest number of reactions?
- What content generated the highest/lowest number of comments?
- What content generated the highest/lowest number of shares?
- What content generated the highest/lowest engagement rate?
- What content generated the highest/lowest of total interactions?
To wrap it all up,
The following of your competitors should help you in understanding how popular your offering is on Facebook. Use this data in setting SMART goals for your social media following. But do keep in mind to compare yourself with a competitor that is close to your current level, i.e. if you’re a sneaker brand that is just starting, comparing yourself to the industry giants like Nike or Adidas, won’t be realistic in the short term.
Also, take the time to dive deeper into their audience and see which demographic is the most prominent. This can also help you in your Buyer Persona development in case you haven’t done so already or are looking to improve it.
The more you know about your competitors, the better you are prepared to navigate the market. So make sure you always monitor your competitors, especially on social media for better-targeted campaigns.