Social media monitoring can be used to perform various tasks in the advancement of your own brand. Generating leads, finding influencers and identifying key sites are just a few that could be mentioned. 


However, what is often overlooked is how these tools can be used to analyze competitors. By keeping track of your competition you can become the leader in your chosen area of expertise. 

This article is aimed at explaining the methods that can be put in place to track competitors through social media monitoring (smm) and what benefits this could have for your company.

Why companies should follow the competition

There are several key reasons why brands should monitor the online output of their opposition. 

Firstly, monitoring competitors allows you to understand their marketing strategy. 

Where is their main presence online, are they interacting with customers regularly, who is their target audience? 

By understanding your competition, you can identify any failings in your own approach and highlight any key areas they are failing in. 

By developing a clear picture of your competitors in your marketplace, it will become easier to navigate. It is essential to be aware of what other businesses are doing and to grow alongside them, learn from their mistakes and understand how to outsmart them. 

Once established a competitor query or search can be used to monitor ongoing activity from an opposing brand. This could highlight daily opportunities to interact with potential clients or can be used for monthly reports on the activity within your chosen marketplace.

How to monitor competitors 

Social media monitoring tools look at a vast amount of information so it can create some interesting data that will help businesses to target key areas for development. When analyzing the activity of your opposition there are several areas which should be checked regularly. 

Share of Voice

This is the measurement of the amount of activity surrounding your business and your competitors online. 

By comparing the presence of other companies within the relevant marketplace a business will possess a better understanding of the success of their own marketing activities.

If the competition has a greater share of the voice it may be time to reevaluate your online presence.


By evaluating the sentiment of the comments surrounding brands through SMM, businesses can focus on any negative points brought forward by consumers.

It could be that a competitor is not acknowledging the complaints of their clients which will create an opportunity for your business to demonstrate your product. 

Also by knowing what are the main points of aggravation for a consumer within the industry a company can learn to avoid these mistakes in their own business practices. 

Top Sites and Page Types

There are several advantages of knowing where competitors are active online.

Firstly, it can highlight key sites or forums where an opposing brand has a dominating presence that your business may not currently be aware of. This information could then influence whether you also want to be active on this platform to generate new leads. 

Another benefit of knowing where competitors are operating is being aware of where they have no activity at all. It may be because the sites are either not useful or it could be a new opportunity which has not yet been discovered by the competition. 


Social media monitoring can also bring to light influential authors who are frequently discussing a competitor, marketplace or your own brand. 

It could expose particular influencers who are commentating on your product or that of a competitor. This creates opportunities for brands to make contact with key influencers and demonstrate why their product is superior to those offered by competitors. 


Another component available in SMM tools is that of topics or trends. This allows businesses to monitor the online conversation occurring around their brand and that of any competitors.

By analysing the topics discussed by the competition you become aware of any emerging trends within the industry surrounding a competitor.

Looking at trends or topics can also show which campaigns within the industry are successful. 

Audience Type 

By analyzing those who are discussing your brand and your competitors you will have a better understanding of their potential target audience. For example it could show that males are more engaged with a product or campaign than females.

This information could change your current marketing strategy or influence future campaigns. 

What do you want to achieve?

Finding out information about an opposing brand is only useful if you know how to use the data effectively. It is important to consider what you wish to achieve from this information and how you would implement any changes to your current strategy. 

  • Start by planning who you wish to monitor and why.
  • What information are you most interested in finding out?
  • How can you use the data to create changes to your current strategies. 

It is important to remember that brands are constantly adapting. Therefore, you must update your search campaigns on a regular basis to ensure that you are up to date on any changes within your industry.

Competitor analysis is only one of the benefits that social media monitoring offers a business. There are many more ways that you can use social listening to improve your practices. Stick around for more insight on the subject. 

Joel Windels

Published 4 December, 2013 by Joel Windels

Joel is Marketing Manager EMEA at Brandwatch and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin.

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Comments (10)

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i really think the best indicator of why you should always monitor your competition is to see what works and what doesn't. as simple as that

over 4 years ago


Joe Rizzo

This is a "what" article, not a "how" article. Got any "how tos?"

over 4 years ago


leslie nuccio

This is a great overview article! Joe, I actually wrote a book on social listening with lots of how-tos:

I'm also hosting a webinar tomorrow:

The biggest how-to is: use a really good tool. You're probably super awesome, but you're not superhuman - and being superhuman is what it would take to cut through the noise of billions of simultaneous conversations. (Yes, you can still wear a cape.) ;)

over 4 years ago


Tony Nguyen

thank Joel Windels, your post is very inforamtive. It also useful for my business. I agree that one of the most business strategies is analysing our competitors. but I have no right tool to do this. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more helpful information from you. Have a nice day

over 4 years ago



Thank you Joel for this interesting and very informative article. I really liked it

over 4 years ago



Hi Joel Windels

Thank you for posting very informative ideas

Social media monitoring has become a vital a part of understanding ... emerging markets through however people are discussing a particular topic or brand online.

arete additionally here to share our offshore software development services and online Management software services

over 4 years ago


Explore this Rock

Great article.

Social media monitoring is a great way to keep a head of industry news, I can't be monitoring all the news sources etc so anything I miss I usually can spot through a competitor posting, and they do the same, they use our social media channels to get the latest news.

Also if they post something new its good to see the reaction from there followers. If it doesn't go down to well, we don't follow it up, if its successful we do some more research and produce our own articles.

over 4 years ago

Philip Storey

Philip Storey, Founder & Principal Consultant at Enchant Agency

Hi Joel.

What tools were used in your examples?

over 4 years ago

Joel Windels

Joel Windels, Marketing Manager for EMEA at Brandwatch

Thank you all for your comments!

@JoeRizzo Hi Joe, We've tried to make this post brand agnostic, but if you would like to know how you can set up a more in-depth competitor analysis, here's an article that might interest you using our analytics tool:

@LeslieNuccio Thanks for sending us an invite to your webinar. We agree, it's important to use a really good monitoring tool to cut through all the noise.

@TonyNguyen Glad you find the post useful Tony! We have a list of different types of social media monitoring tools, one of which might be of use to you:

@PhilipStorey Thanks for your comment Philip! We've used our all-in-one tool, Brandwatch Analytics, which we find great to track competitors. Here's a bit more information on the tool if you're interested:

over 4 years ago


Irina Kovalyova, Marketing manager at Allo

and how would you track competitors' prices?

over 3 years ago

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