Successful professionals often promote the importance of focusing on your own company’s marketing efforts rather than those of your competitors. Sure, this is true to an extent, but–in order to stay relevant and remain successful, you should be keeping tabs on what other brands in your industry are doing. This week at #SproutChat, we discussed how to analyze your competitors and shared our tactics on how to be the business your audience chooses.

Use Smart Research to Find Your Competitors

For established industries with large brands that hold most of the market share, determining who your competitors are might not be necessary. But, for many small to medium sized businesses, smart research is crucial. Use keyword search tools and quantitative measurements on social to see who your customers are considering alongside your product or service.

Make private lists on Twitter or Facebook to easily reference what type of product updates and content your competitors are posting. Since social content is constantly updating, establishing a system to check in frequently is key. Gain insights for your own brand by noting which competitor campaigns outperform others.

Don’t Invest in Every Network Your Competitor Is On

Just because your competition has embraced a specific social network, doesn’t necessarily mean you should invest in it too. Consider your team’s bandwidth and budget before pursuing an active presence on a new social channel. Look at your existing audience’s demographics and habits to determine if the network your competitor is on would be a good fit for your company.

Find the Value in the Data

Establish an internal workflow and pull as much data around your competitors as you can. Tools like BuzzSumo and Sprout Social can provide analytics and help provide benchmarks for your own social communities. When running any competitive analysis, go beyond vanity metrics to get a better grasp on how engaged your competitor’s customers and community really are.

Sprout’s ultimate guide on competitive analysis and Seer Interactive’s IFTTT recipes are great resources and can help your brand get started.

Join us every Wednesday for #SproutChat to discuss social media marketing and community building topics. Stay posted on weekly topics and discussion questions via our Facebook community. See you next time!