Social Media Savvy: The competitive portion of your social media audit | SierraSun.com

Social Media Savvy: The competitive portion of your social media audit

Lindsey Sanford
Out & About Marketing

After completing the first part of your organization's Social Media Audit, the next step is crucial.

This portion of the audit is the competitive audit, and 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.

The competitive portion to your Social Media Audit is used for two purposes:

1. Understanding how your competitors are utilizing the space; how you can do it differently to distinguish your account; and

2. 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.

Let's make sure we're picking the right competitors. We're all apt to compare our businesses to the "leaders" in our industry, and it's not wrong to identify one competitor within that realm.

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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 (sometimes best practices) let's identify more realistic presences to keep our social media expectations grounded. Identify between 2-3 competitors for first portion of the competitive audit. Look at each competitor's social presence and identify the following:

1. Number of followers

2. Posts per week

3. Average number of engagements per post

4. Creative design

5. Strategic differences: are they using hashtags, are they responding to fans, what does their about section say, and the objective of their page.

This shows 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."

The second part of the social media audit's competitive portion is building a list of your competitors that will give you continuous content ideas. (Each social network provides for different "listing" capabilities.)

Lists don't have to include competitors. They could include other companies that just do social well. Since you won't be monitoring them in the detailed sense, add as many as you want for inspiration. For this portion, look at:

1. What kind of content your competitors are investing in

2. Custom creative they have made

3. What kind of contests they are running

4. What kind of content is engaging their fan base (and the fan base you want to have)

For information on building social network lists, check out these resources for Facebook and Twitter.

Lindsey Sanford is a freelance social media analyst for Out & About Marketing, an Incline Village-based digital marketing and social media consulting firm. She can be reached for comment at lindsey@outandaboutmarketing.com. Portions of this column first appeared at the company's website, http://www.outandaboutmarketing.com.