by Blair Kaplan Venables
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to light a preverbal fire under you. With the increase of businesses moving online during this COVID era, you need to make sure that your business stands out online. If you’re one of the 1% of entrepreneurs who managed to create a business with no direct competitors, congratulations! If you’re like 99% of the rest of us, it’s time to do some homework. Stat. It’s important to know who your competition is, what they are selling, how they are selling it, where they are marketing and what they are doing right. If you know this information, you are able to work on a strategy to potentially capture their clients and grow your business.
A good place to start your investigation is by performing a social media competitor analysis. By scoping out your competition, you will be able to see where their weaknesses may lie, which is information that you can use to you advantage. For example, if you see that your competition isn’t on a specific social media network and you know that your target demographic is spending time on that social media network, you may want to build up a presence there.
Identify Your Competitions
What other companies are competing for the business that you seek to obtain? You should be able to identify at least five companies that are your competition. You can do this by Googling key words, asking friends and doing your own research.
The best place to start finding out information about their social media presence is via their website, where these links should be posted. It’s also helpful to go into each social media platform and search their name because sometimes websites aren’t up to date with social links.
Document Your Findings
Creating a competition chart is the best way to record your findings. Open up your favorite spreadsheet program (I’m an Excel or Google Sheets gal, myself), open a new document and make rows listing your competitor’s names. Then create columns for the following four key pieces of information about your competitor’s online presence:
- Where are they on social media? Don’t forget about LinkedIn, TikTok and other surprising places they may be.
- What type of content are they creating? Is it instructional or do they share personal stories?
- How many followers they have on each social media network?
- Any notes you may want to reference later.
Determine Key Opportunities
We aren’t just cruising social media to be a lookie-loo. We now need to analyze the stats that we have found. Once your chart is filled in, you will be able to see what your competition’s social media strengths are (which may be places you don’t want to compete with them) and where their weaknesses lay (which may create opportunities for you to lead the pack).
Keep in mind you’re not trying to replicate someone else’s strategy. Your social media approach should be unique. But you are looking for opportunities. You may also find content ideas that your top competition isn’t executing yet, which is fantastic news. Learn what they are doing and you can figure out how to do it better or differently. There are always opportunities on social media to create great content and grow your brand’s presence.
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. As a pioneer in the industry, she brings more than a decade of experience to her clients, which include global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. Blair has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards and more. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including CBC Radio and Thrive Global. Blair is also the author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “I Am Resilient Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.