In social media management, competitive benchmarking is a goldmine of insights.
Brands are competing for growth, reach, engagement, conversions—all from the same target audience.
Speaking of, do you know who your competitors are?
Will you be the first to know when their growth shoots up rapidly, or when it plummets?
And it’s not all about the “big moments,” even though they do present opportunities for you to catch onto the same wave of growth or capture your competitors’ lost audience.
Anything unusual that happens to your competitors can show you what might be coming for your brand. It can show what to leverage to leave your competitors’ growth rate in the dust.
Others hold this view. The Business News Daily reports that competitive benchmarking in general can increase the effectiveness of strategies by 80%.
What would an 80% increase in growth rate mean for your brand and your sales?
So, how do you tap into this goldmine of data that could very well supercharge the strategies you use to drive your own growth rate?
How do you check your competitors’ growth rate on social media?
This article will lay it out for you in simple, clearly illustrated steps. Our tool of choice is our own Sociality.io. We think you’ll see why.
Alright then, on to the steps. But first, just one thing for you to know.
Quick Note: This Method Applies to All Social Media Networks
Our walkthrough will show different social networks. That’s because these steps are applicable to all of them. Whichever network you’re running your social media marketing campaigns on, you can track your competitors’ growth rate with this guide.
That’s thanks to Sociality.io’s unified and orderly dashboard, that makes it seamless for you to manage not just multiple accounts, but multiple accounts on different networks.
And if, like Angela, you’re yet to identify your competitors, make sure to read this helpful guide on finding out who your competitors are.
All competitors on one report
No more spending hours for competitor analysis, no more taking wrong decisions due to missed out information.
Step 1: Go to the Report Module
We take off at the report module.
On Sociality.io, the report module is where you’ll get all this information. Specifically, under Competitors.
Choose all the relevant competitors whose follower growth you’d like to track. You can focus on one whose target audience intersects heavily with yours, but that won’t give you the full picture. Try to go for a few.
Step 2: Pick a Social Network
Now you need to pick the relevant social network: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.
You can always return to this step if you’re interested in checking your competitors’ follower growth across different social networks.
One social network at a time just makes for neater presentation and easier analysis.
Step 3: Set the Time Frame
Next, pick the period over which you want to track your competitors’ growth.
Choose a short one if you’re only interested in how your competitors’ following has grown recently. If you’re interested in seeing how it has grown over a long span of time, simply set the starting point farther back.
You can set the exact dates you want. But the preset options to the left are quick and handy if you’d like data on the past seven days, the past 30 days, the previous month, or the beginning of the year until now.
Step 4: Generate the Report (🏆)
After picking all the right filters and options to give you relevant results, you simply need to hit “Create” to start seeing the report.
This is where the fun begins.
Let’s go through all the data you’ll receive at this point, and how it reveals your competitors’ growth rate.
For example purposes, we’ll be using relatable brands like Starbucks, Burger King, Tacobell, etc. You’ll know to substitute these with your actual direct and indirect competitors, no doubt.
And remember, if we’re just trying to figure out growth rate and the dynamics of our competitors’ following, these methods work just the same—regardless of the exact target audience.
Okay, let’s start.
Chart #1: Total Followers
If you’re going to be checking your competitors’ growth rate, it’s probably best to know how large their following is right now.
This is crucial. Without it, you won’t be able to tell what, say, an average follower growth rate of 400 users means in the context of the brand. If the brand has a few dozen followers, that’s a lot. If it has several thousand, it’s not as big a deal.
You’ll also get a lot of perspective from this if you’re analyzing multiple competitors at once. It will give you a clear idea of how your competitors stack up against each other.
Chart #2: Followers
The Followers chart will show you how your competitors’ total following has changed over time.
In the example:
You can tell that there’s a sharp drop-off between February 28 and March 2, then a rapid recovery and a steady decline since.
Sure, this is an idea of the brand’s growth rate, but the data’s not immediately obvious. Knowing your competitors’ follower fluctuations is certainly important for other types of analysis. But when we’re specifically looking at growth rate, we pay it a passing glance.
Chart #3: Growth of Followers (🏆)
This is where you’ll want to pay most of your attention.
There’s a convenient line there (color schemes are changeable in settings), that helps you quickly separate between negative and positive growth.
Yet more, you can observe your competitors’ growth from day to day.
In our example, something interesting happened between the 28th of February and the 2nd of March.
(We can tell investigate what happened by using the Listen module)
From the 5th of March onwards, the growth is just beneath or at the zero mark, never above it.
We can infer that Starbucks has a slightly low negative growth rate. And since the lowest monthly growth is near -38k while the peak is under 20k, the brand only recovered less than half of the followers it lost during the first drop.
Interestingly, we find that other brands’ growth rate followed the same trend, on exactly the same days.
And, if we switch to weekly view:
Of course, Starbucks shows the most dramatic shifts because it has the largest following. But we see a pattern start to emerge from the 8th of March.
All the brands are registering growth, then it falls sharply. For Starbucks and Burger King, it falls into the negative. Tacobell manages to stay afloat, but just barely.
If your brand is in the food and beverages industry, this is probably something you remember experiencing on your social media accounts.
Either way, these are pretty useful insights.
In short, the Growth of Followers chart is great for zooming in on interesting and significant periods, which can point to industry-wide trends.
Next comes the Growth Rate Summary Bar, which allows us to zoom out again and get a detailed snapshot.
Growth Rate Summary Bar
Look, now we can see Starbucks’:
- Fan growth
- Max. Daily Growth of Fans (your competitor’s best day)
- Min. Daily Growth of Fans (your competitor’s worst day)
- Daily Average of Growth of Fans
We can tell what all the data we’ve seen upward is adding up to.
As you see, Starbucks regained less than half of its competitors after whatever happened on the 1st of March. But now we know how many fans they lost precisely: 36, 469 users.
And how many they gained: 16, 413 users, just 45% of the previous days’ losses.
At the far left, you see the Daily Average of Growth of Fans: negative 929 users.
That’s probably the most essential number if you just want to understand the general course your competitors’ growth rate is taking.
Of course, there are numerous factors that influence average growth rate on social media. Because we’ve been following this “competitor” closely, we understand that the low average is the result of that turbulence earlier in the month.
As for the other brands:
It would be interesting to investigate if Taco Bell adapted its social media strategy to achieve a daily average of 215 new followers.
Despite experiencing the same rough patch, they’ve maintained growth. Their peak isn’t particularly high. So it has to be sustained growth.
Apply to Your Own Competitors
Those are all the steps. That’s how you check your competitors’ growth rate on social media. Now apply this to your own competitors, using the
Swap out Starbucks and Tacobell and Burger King for your own competitors.
The process is exactly the same.
And it’s the same regardless of your industry or target audience.
Bonus Tip: Export Your Reports
Apart from needing to refer to these reports later, you’ll have to show your findings to colleagues on your social media team. Or maybe you’re an agency with clients, in which case, you’ll want to demonstrate your client’s position relative to competitors.
The point is that it’s handy to have your report nearby.
With Sociality.io, you can export it in your preferred format: PDF, Excel, or PPT.
Extra Bonus Tip: Check Competitors’ Growth Rate on Social Media Automatically
You can keep track of your competitors’ growth rate after only following these steps once.
Just go back to the top and click the schedule icon.
You’ll then be able to schedule reports to be sent to your inbox automatically.
And at whatever frequency you like.
According to a report by the Content Marketing Institute, 52% of marketing teams are short on time. We understand.
Automatic reports keep you efficient without breaking a sweat.
It’s as easy as just fetching your fully detailed report in your email.
That’s all, folks…
That’s all you’ll need to do to check your competitors’ growth rate on social media. Just follow these four steps, with particular attention to the fourth, and you’re good to go!
We’ve got other guides on competitor analysis for you to check out:
- What is Social Media Competitor Analysis (recommended if you’re just getting started)
- 7 Competitive Benchmarking Tactics to Measure Your Social Media Performance
- Top 6 Social Media Competitor Audit Tools that are Worth Your Time
- How to Track Competitors’ Promoted Instagram Posts
- Instagram Spy Tools: Social Media Competitor Analysis & Research
And if you’d like to know more about the competitor analysis module, there’s more info in this FAQ.
You’ve got competitors whose growth rate you can figure out now, so we’ll leave you to it. Come back for more of our guides and insights.