Data is the lifeblood of our marketing lives.
It allows us to see trends, come up with informed strategies, and confidently take action to meet (or even exceed) our marketing goals. Of course, we aren’t limited to just our own brand’s data. On social media, platforms have tools that allow us to keep tabs on our competitors.
For those in the B2B space – especially on LinkedIn and Facebook – monitoring your competition can be useful, so long as it doesn’t turn into a distraction or zero next steps.
Here are some thoughts on using competitor analytic tools effectively:
This past November, LinkedIn added new competitor analytic tools that allow you to see total followers, new followers, engagement, and the total number of posts. Facebook offers similar monitoring functions in Business Suite’s Insights, which is available for Instagram as well.
What’s interesting about LinkedIn’s new tool is that you can compare performance with other accounts going as far back as 12 months. Facebook, on the other hand, only allows you to see data from the last seven days.
Twitter, a popular platform in B2B, doesn’t have any in-app tools to track competitors; however, it recently rolled out a new feature that allows the public to see how many “views” a tweet has. Perhaps competitor tools are not far behind.
If you want to go even further in monitoring your competitors, another valuable tool is to see what ads they are currently running on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram .
Unfortunately, the feature to do something similar on Twitter is no longer available.
There are pros and cons to the data offered on each platform.
For starters, it’s good to see how you compare to the competition. Seeing any indicator of how your strategy compares to others can be useful in helping you improve, optimize, and set new goals.
While the information these tools offer is basic, it is definitely useful. Reviewing engagement generated by competitors’ pages can tell you a lot about the quality of their content, especially compared with their posting frequency. Impressive numbers might prompt you to check out their page and see their recent activity. It might lead to some content ideas of your own.\ \ If analytic tools offered on a platform just aren’t enough for you, there are a number of third-party tools that offer free social media analytics . Other tools offer deeper dives into social data for a monthly or annual charge.
Before going beyond what LinkedIn and Meta offer in terms of competitor analytics, ask yourself a few questions. First, do you know what you are looking at? Sometimes analytics can be misleading, and you want to make sure you don’t garner the wrong impression and thus inaccurately change or modify your own social strategy.
For example, you might look at the raw numbers of a competitor’s post and see really really high engagement. What you won't see is if the post was geo-targeted. A restricted post like that will have lower impressions which means a few clicks or likes will make it seem like the engagement is high when in reality the raw numbers tell the true story.
Second, how well do you know your own analytics? Before you start looking at what the competition is doing on any platform, you should understand your own metrics. We wrote about 3 LinkedIn Metrics You Should Start Tracking a while back, which might be worth a read.
Finally, what exactly are you hoping to accomplish? This is the most critical question of all. Are you trying to learn something specific about your competitor so you can adjust your own strategy, or do you just think keeping an eye on a peer is worth exploring? Knowing the answer to this will help you decide whether the platform-provided data is enough, or if you need to explore more robust tools.
When diving into a competitor's analytics, it’s a good idea to proceed with caution. Make sure you know exactly why you are going down this road. It’s easy to get sucked into a black hole of data while trying to figure out what your competition is doing, but it will be a waste of time and resources unless you go in with something specific to accomplish.
Remember: the best defense is a good offense. Formulate your own strategy and work on implementing it rather than obsessing over what the competition is doing. Be proactive in your social media strategy, not simply reacting to what everyone else is doing. Now might be a great time to read our recent blog post on what B2B social media marketers can expect in 2023 .
Data may be the lifeblood of marketing, but it will overwhelm you if you aren’t careful. Come up with a plan and stick to it. You’ve got this!
Do you pay close attention to what the competition is doing in the B2B space? Let us know in the comments!