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Marketers know the importance of social media monitoring tools for business objectives like competitive analysis – but what about non-marketers, or those new to the game? Smaller brands in particular may find marketing becomes the concern of the CEO/Founder, or another department manager.

For them, and anyone who needs to understand Marketing’s role, we’ve broken down what different social media competitive analysis tools do, and why you need them. If you’re more advanced, feel free to skip right to the section that matters most to you.

Now let’s get to the tools!

Share of voice – and how to get yours

You may think you aren’t vying for the same audience as your competitors – wanting to be different as well as better. The problem is, their audience will contribute to drowning out your messaging if their share of voice is greater. And some of their fans may well prefer your brand if you broke through the noise.

So how are your competitors being heard, and how can you ensure your brand is heard as well? You’ve got to know what approach entices their audience, then tweak to fit your own brand. Do they have amazingly vocal influencers? Are they running fantastic campaigns? You need tools that answer these questions. Here are a few:

1. Klout

Screencap from Klout website

Klout continues to offer a great yardstick for understanding your own place in the social landscape. The Klout Score is a measure of influence based on the accumulation of all social efforts – from reactions and retweets to listings on places like Bing and Wikipedia. You can’t directly compare yourself to a brand of your choosing, but Klout now offers a weekly Social Impact Ranking of the top scoring brands in a number of categories – so you can see where your brand falls.

Price: Free

2. Mention

Screencap from the Mention website

One way to increase share of voice on social is through influencers – regular consumers, and sometimes celebrities, who love your brand and products and talk about them online. Mention helps identify the most valuable social users talking about your brand, so you can engage and inspire them to continue. You can also track the influencers your competitors use.

Price: Starts at $29 per month for a solo plan, through custom pricing for enterprises

3. Mondovo

Screencap from the Mondovo website

Mondovo focuses on assessing competitive search terms and pages to inform on your search volume and ranking against competitors, along with how your website and links are performing for your brand. They also offer Facebook Competition and Twitter Competition – tools to let you specifically measure against five competitor accounts on these major social networks.

Price: $20 per month to custom for enterprises, after a 7-day free trial

Using sentiment to best the competition – before they best you

Share of voice is an important metric, but social data without context isn’t actionable. Sentiment is the puzzle piece that offers context – the “why” behind consumers’ behaviors. To beat competitors you must know what consumers love about them – and hate.

You have to spot opportunities to overtake competitors’ leads – and know where you should be upping your game before being overtaken yourself. These tools let you do that.

4. NetBase

Sentiment is a complex recipe. It isn’t simply about identifying whether emotions are positive or negative – it’s understanding the intensity of those emotions and how to leverage the most passionate social users to understand your competitors’ strategies. The ingredients include ability to analyze all human languages – like slang, netspeak, and pop culture references – as well as understanding how things like sarcasm and emojis change the tone of the conversation. NetBase delivers on all that and more.

Price: Reach out for a customized quote.

5. Critical Mention

Screencap from the Critical Mention website

Critical Mentions lets you visualize mentions by topic, with density maps and word clouds representing sentiment for more complete social data. Search quickly, create customized reports, and share with stakeholders easily so streamline decision-making.

Price: Request a demo

6. Semantria for Excel

Screencap from the Semantria website

Every theme, entity and category is assigned a sentiment score in this handy tool that integrates with Excel. Understand what people feel and why for a number of keywords and topics as you easily configure data within Excel – a great example of integration with a tool you’re (probably) already using

Price: Schedule a demo

How audience segmenting helps you differentiate

Competitive analysis isn’t about duplicating what your competitors are doing – it’s about understanding why their tactics are working (or not) and applying these insights to your own audience. Part of that requires segmenting consumers into feel-alike segments you can target based on shared passions. This is just one of the many features NetBase offers.

Forget about “same age,” “same gender,” “same city.” Focus on “same interests” and see how everything changes for the better. Segmenting relies on sentiment – an example of the importance of comprehensive tools versus one-trick ponies.

7. Audiense

Screencap from the Audiense website

The more personalized the audience segment, the better. With Audiense, there’s no segment too small or specific – which is exactly how you make your messaging feel individual. Combine filters to easily view several key metrics at once – like user profiles, affinities, demographics and job roles. Create segments of consumers who wish your competitors did X, Y, Z and tell them how you solve that problem.

Price: Starts at $299 per month

8. Segment

Screencap from the Segment website

Integration with others tools is a key feature of Segment, and something modern social analytics tools providers must offer (we do). In Segment’s case, data is collected from mobile, web, server and cloud apps to be used for a variety of purposes – from email to analytics, customer care and more.

Pricing: Free for single developers, to custom pricing for larger teams

9. Snitcher

Screencap from the Snitcher website

If you’re performing competitive analysis, you can bet your competitors are doing the same. Snitcher lets you find out who’s poking around the website, so you know where to target efforts in return. You can then segment leads (or lurkers) for taking targeted follow-up actions.

Price: Starts at $24 per month

Using competitors to find the perfect content

Engaging your audience means speaking to them in ways they crave – and content is a big part of that. What content is favored by your competitors’ audiences? Use social analytics to unearth this info to make new friends of your own.

10. InfiniGraph

Screencap from the InfiniGraph website

InfiniGraph’s Kraken tool uses machine learning to understand which content gets the most clicks, letting audience behavior influence brand content choices. The cool thing is it works with videos as well as images.

Price: Request a demo

11. iSpionage

 

View your competitors’ most effective ad content to see which ads are working for them on which search engines. You can also view keywords, and competitors in the PPC and SEO realms. The Campaign Watch feature clues you in to competitors’ landing page strategy as well.

Price: Starts at $29 per month

12. Simply Measured

Screencap from the Simply Measured website

The Content Share Tracking Funnel lets you measure social traffic, but also private messaging apps, so you know when your audience is most active, and what content motivates their behaviors. Learn which campaign posts drove the most traffic, or find out what web content they share most – whether yours or your competitors’.

Price: Request a demo

Tracking trends, threats, and other competitive analysis benefits

There’s no end to the ways competitive analysis benefits your brand. Want to know what trends have consumers excited? Or which potential threats lurk for your brand? This information is available in real-time with tools like these.

13. Google Trends

Screencap from the Google Trends website

Explore any topic in Google’s trend engine to gain deeper insights into what has the Internet a-buzz, and what connected themes are emerging within that conversation. Search on any brand to see who is talking about what, or search your own.

Price: Free

14. The Viral Video Chart

Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart gives you all the ammunition you need to be in the know with the trendiest viral videos of the moment – which lets you connect with the members of your fan base who’d find them most appealing. You get to look hip and in-the-know while engaging your audience in a non-salesy way.

Price: Free

15. Meltwater

Meltwater offers a number of features that let you understand how your brand is doing, including tracking keywords, trends and themes to let you know what competitors are up to on all fronts. Their mobile app offers trend alerts so you know right away when sudden shifts of interest occur.

Price: Request a demo

Competitive analysis isn’t confined to a single pursuit

Marketers know competitive analysis isn’t limited to campaigns or engagement. It’s an all-encompassing affair that every department of your business should make a part of everyday operations.

Some of the tools above do a few things well, but the best do everything you need – and then some. Competitive analysis should happen in conjunction with campaign strategy, customer care, research and development, sales, and everything else you do to keep your brand on top.

Social media monitoring tools that streamline the analytics process, and integrate with other business intelligence tools, should be your first choice if you have the budget. If not, start where you are and upgrade as you can. You’ll quickly see how your investment pays off. The alternative is handing your audience to the competition. You don’t have to be a marketer to know that’s not an option.

Our social media competitive analytics tools cover all bases. Get in touch and let us show you how!

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