You now what its like. You get literally 5 minutes to grab a brew, you pick up your phone and jump onto Social to see how your posts are doing. Maybe you haven’t posted for a couple of days so you find something on your camera roll and ping out a post that came into in your head over the weekend. You check your notifications, like someone else’s post…job done.

So you didn’t think to take a look at what your competitors are doing?

For small businesses, competitor analysis, or “benchmarking” is crucial. Competition is often confined to a relatively small number of identifiable operators in the same sector or location – the restaurant round the corner, the solicitor’s firm across town, the only other manufacturer in your niche down South. A competitor’s ability to gain an edge through working smarter or doing something better is therefore often substantial. It’s the same in Social Media.

Social Media benchmarking can not tell you how competitors are positioning their offering and it can also act as a window on how important Social Media is in their marketing mix. For example it will show you which channels, content styles, posting times and rates are proving effective. So whilst you may think you’re doing well (or your agency is telling you your doing well!), it’s really only by comparing your performance with your competition that you’ll get a clear indication of whether you’re winning in Social.

Here’s just a couple of key areas you need to be across to really know how you’re faring versus your competitors in Social. If you don’t measure up its reasonable to assume they’re winning more business, generating more leads or driving a greater return on investment from Social than you:

  • Engagements per post. If a competitor is consistently getting higher engagement rates per post than you, you need to understand why, because right now your prospects (and maybe even some of your existing customers) may be more interested in what they have to say than what you’re saying!
  • Posting rates. Effort alone isn’t everything, but if a competitor’s posting rate is way higher than yours it may be because they’re also getting better results than you. Are they just “busy fools” or are they getting more leads from Social than you and scaling up activity as a result?
  • Posting times. If you post when you’re audience is most likely to be active on Social, your “early engagement” is likely to be higher. All Social Media platforms (but especially Instagram and LinkedIn), reward early engagement additional reach. So if you see that a competitor is posting more on the weekends than during the week (for example), ask yourself why? Is this when their audience (and therefore your customer) is most likely to be on Social? Are you posting during working hours (when you get the chance to grab a brew) because that works for you, whilst your competitors are recognising that timing should be dictated by audience behaviour?

They say the truth hurts, but if you can understand better than anyone in your specific sector, location or niche what’s working and what’s not and use this to get smarter on Social, you’ll get ahead and stay ahead of the game. Then it wont be you that’s hurting!

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