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Social Media Competitive Analysis: A Lesson from the Fashion Industry

cormier-jason
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You can obtain insights across an industry to establish competitive benchmarks and inform best practices for content marketing within Facebook and Twitter.

Although the references contained in the following post are specific to the fashion industry, they can help influence your own framework with respect to competitive awareness, goals, and associated tactics for content.

Awareness Leads to Growth

Just a quick story before we jump into this. I'll never forget a meeting I had several years ago with the head of marketing for the Travel Channel. My agency had been working with them for over a year, and at the time we were proudly presenting all the increases in social media fan counts and interactions.

This was the relatively early days of social media (2008) – and as we waited to receive our kudos after the presentation, the client leaned back and said, "well guys, I honestly don't know whether to congratulate you or fire you right here on the spot."

This single statement simultaneously acknowledged the clear success in beating our past numbers, and ultimate failure in demonstrating our performance against other relevant television networks.

Yes, we all have to start somewhere – and nothing's wrong with trying to beat your own past performance. But not having certain levels of awareness about your competition and industry can keep you from going where you already should be.

4 Elements of Benchmarking Facebook and Twitter Engagement

Now let's look at how you can quickly establish a reference or target for your own marketing goals, based on what you can observe from your competition and/or industry. As an example, I'm using a recent report that you can download, called "The World's Top 50 Fashion Brands in Social Media".

worlds-top-50-fashion-brands-social-media

The following are four key elements to consider for creating a similar report for your own industry or competition:

  • Segment: Industry insights are often broad, so the more you can segment an industry according to commonly shared traits across each segment, the more relevant your benchmarks will be. In the referenced fashion report, for example, the top fifty brands were segmented into three categories (High Fashion, Fast Fashion and Mass Market)
  • Use the tools: There's no substitute for the benefits of manual, qualitative research. However, certain tools can automate the efficient collection and organization of data like few others. The fashion report leveraged InfiniGraph to quickly gain Facebook and Twitter insights on the:
    • Average fan count per brand
    • Average engagement levels (interactions) per post
    • Content types that create the most engagement (link, offer, photo, status, video)
    • Most common days and time-of-day to post content types
  • Do the analysis to identify benchmarks: As with any research tool, the data is only as good as what you actually do with it. Below, you can see how the data was organized from the fashion report. Understanding how it applies in your real-world scenario is what can help you set competitive goals:

fashion-engagement-per-post

When you look at data like the above, it's helpful to apply a narrative that can assist in articulating your own goals based on the benchmarks. For example, one way of stating what we see above is:

A Facebook page for a fashion brand with 100,000 Likes should see 150 interactions on average for every post. Similarly, a fashion brand with 100,000 Twitter followers should expect to see eight interactions on average for every post.

  • Dig deeper for content insights: Although the tools can show you what the top most engaging posts were for an industry (or industry segment), you can take this a step further by segmenting the content by topic/category. This could be done using other tools, or in the case of the fashion report, via a manual review of the top 100 most engaging posts:

fashion-100-engaging-posts-content-pie

fashion-content-categories

Conclusion

There are a range of other competitive analysis methods and practices for digital marketing in general (from keyword analysis to social media scorecards). Having a defined approach, along with an understanding of tools that inform goals and actions to follow can prove very helpful.


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