Social Media Audit: Part II
After completing the first part of your organization’s Social Media Audit, starting the next step is crucial. This portion of the audit, the competitive audit, is often the most insightful portion of the entire audit. Knowing what the landscape is, how your competitors are managing, and where you can glean from their successes (or even failures) can save you time, money, and resources in the long run. Often, competitive audits are where we jump to, because it’s easy to put a price on our competitors – and even easier to justify our presence if our competitors are investing in that space as well.
The competitive portion to your Social Media Audit is used for two purposes:
- Understanding how your competitors are utilizing the space, and how you can do it differently to distinguish your account and;
- Utilizing your competitor’s presence to inspire content for your own presence, making it easier to curate and create unique content for your organization’s social presence.
Before getting started into your competitive landscape on Social Media, let’s make sure we’re picking the right competitors. I know we are all apt to compare our businesses to the “leaders” in our industry, and it’s not wrong to identify one competitor within that realm. But where we often miss the mark is looking within our industry for those who are more, “true” competitors. Meaning, they have the same kind of marketing budget, resources, and purpose as our organization. By picking only industry leaders, with vastly more budget than our organization, we put ourselves at a disadvantage by comparing content ideas and optimizations with organizations that have much more support than we do. While they are great for inspiration, and sometimes best practices, let’s identify more realistic presences to keep our expectations for social media grounded.
For the first portion of the competitive audit, identify between 2-3 competitors. When looking at their social presence, identify the following for each competitor:
- Number of followers
- Posts per week
- Average number of engagements per post
- Creative design
- Strategic differences: are they using hashtags, are they responding to fans, what does their about section say, and the objective of their page
This portion can be used to show your competitive advantage, or disadvantage for your leadership team. While number of fans doesn’t tell the whole story, it does allow for some context when your management is trying to wrap their heads around what it means to be “social”.
But the second, and far more advantageous part of the competitive portion of your social audit is building competitive “lists”. Each social network provides for different “listing” capabilities. Building a list of your competitors will give you continuous content ideas. These lists don’t have to be just your close competitors, they can be companies that do social well, that have great ideas, that have been nominated for their social presence, and your direct competitors. Since you won’t be monitoring them in the detailed sense, you can add as many as you want for inspiration. For this portion, look at:
- What kind of content your competitors are investing in
- Custom creative they have made
- What kind of contests they are running
- What kind of content is engaging their fan base (and the fan base you want to have)