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Social Media Marketing Blog

How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis (+ Free Template)

Updated on September 28, 2023
4 minute read

Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer.

Published September 28, 2023

If you're a brand or social media manager looking to get a leg up on your competition, it's time to run a competitor analysis.

With it, you can identify what other brands in your industry are doing on social media, spot opportunities, and make more informed decisions about your own online presence.

We’re sharing everything you need to know about conducting a competitor analysis — plus a free template you can start using today.

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What Is a Social Media Competitive Analysis?

Typically, a competitor analysis includes a thorough investigation of your competitors' accounts on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook, as well as an analysis of their social media campaigns.

competitive analysis - Later

By tracking key stats like their posting frequency, engagement, key messaging, and more, you’ll gain valuable insights into what’s working (and not working) for them — and how you compare.

Why Should You Run a Social Media Competitive Analysis? 

Running a competitor analysis can be incredibly valuable for any business looking to gain a competitive edge. 

By analyzing your competitors, you can identify what they’re doing right and where they’re falling short. 

This helps you spot areas of opportunity for your own business, while also providing a benchmark you can measure your growth against. 

Plus, you'll be able to spot industry trends and emerging opportunities with ease, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve.

Join over 7M social media managers, brands, and creators who use Later's social media management tools to plan, optimize, and analyze their content. Create an account today — for free.

How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis

Ready to run your own competitor analysis? Here’s how to do it in four simple steps:

  1. Identify Your Competitors

  2. Conduct Research

  3. Analyze Your Findings

  4. Use a Competition Analysis Template to Report and Review

Step #1: Identify Your Competitors

Before any good investigation can begin, you’ll first need to scope out the competition — after all, you can't beat 'em if you don't know who they are. 

Start by looking at businesses within your industry or niche, and consider both direct competitors (those who offer similar products or services) and indirect competitors (those who offer substitute products or services). 

Once you've identified your competitors, you can begin to analyze their social media presence and develop a strategy to set yourself apart.

Step #2: Conduct Research

Now that you know who your competitors are, it’s time to learn what they’re all about.

This involves delving into your competitors' social media activity to understand what they're doing well and focusing on.

This might involve analyzing their posting cadence, identifying which posts receive the most engagement, and monitoring their followers to understand their target audience. 

TIP: Download our free ready-to-use template to keep track of your competitor findings and research.

Step #3: Analyze Your Findings

Time to put all that research to good use.

Make note of high-performing social media posts, their captions, the visuals they used, and any hashtags (or keywords) added.

Are there common themes you can identify as potential content pillars

competitive analysis - Later notes

You can also take it a step further by conducting a quick SWOT analysis: make a list of your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

But remember, you’re also using this info to compare against your own brand — so be sure to jot down your strengths and gaps too. 

With a clear understanding of your competitors, you can then tailor your content strategy to meet your audience's needs and stand out in the crowded social media space.

Step #4: Use a Competitor Analysis Template to Report and Review

To make your competitor analysis easier (and more organized), use Later’s free template. With it, you’ll:

  • Get an overview of your competitors' content and online presence

  • Analyze competitors’ activity and make informed decisions about your own strategy

  • Spot industry trends and opportunities with ease

  • Share with your manager and team for visibility

So there you have it — creating a competitive analysis doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you follow these four steps.

P. S. Plan, schedule, and analyze your social media posts with Later's social media management tools. Get started today — for free!

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