INFO 3. Building your Edge over Competitors in Your Niche
Building your Edge over Competitors in your Niche
With 800 million users, there’s no arguing Instagram is crowded. While this presents benefits like the ability to get in front of the masses, it presents a somewhat larger obstacle, how to make your profile and presence pop in a sea of people. No matter how creative you are, it is nearly impossible to do something no one has done before when Instagram has 800 million users.
Already having other people on Instagram in your niche is unavoidable and it is not a bad thing, it is actually to your advantage. Here’s how:
No Instagram niche is truly oversaturated
Instagram grows by millions of people every day so not one niche is truly oversaturated (yet! So now is the time to grow an account). Instagram is so huge and growing so exponentially, that there is a great chance you and your competitors will not ever even have to share a considerable number of followers at all.
This means if you see something someone is doing that’s working, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Take it, put your own spin on it, and go!
Take good aspects from a few quality accounts in your niche and put them together to make your own quality account. Being able to see what other successful accounts in your themed niche are currently doing and replicating what they are doing while adding some of your own unique personality and value will allow for speedy growth.
It’s important to keep in mind that doing an Instagram competitive analysis isn’t for you to copy exactly what everyone is doing. Instead, it will guide you toward getting started on the right foot.
Here is how to perform an Instagram competitive analysis
Comparing yourself to competitors in your niche serves a very important purpose.
The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your niche on Instagram. Determining these strengths and weaknesses will provide you with the insight you need to develop a strategy that will give you a distinct advantage, and you can improve upon any weaknesses that may be common among your competitors.
A lot of brands measure success based on their own growth. Your followers increased 20%, great! You’re averaging 10% more comments per post, awesome!
Or is it?
While all those numbers are great, how do they stack up against similar sized accounts in your niche? Doing some competitor analysis allows you to benchmark your metrics against others to see how you stack up.
Here’s how to do an Instagram competitive analysis in 4 simple steps:
1. Identify your social media competitors:
First, identify the top 5 influencers in your niche and identify 5 influencers in your niche with a similar following size and content quality. Hopefully, you already have a general idea of your main competitors.
But if not, the easiest way to find your competition is in popular hashtags in your niche. For example, if you are a fashion blogger, search #fashionblogger or #outfitoftheday and see who has made it in the top 9 posts. If you are a makeup artist, search #makeuplook or #mua and view the top 9 posts.
2. Gather Data
After you’ve narrowed down your competitors, the next step is to gather data. You can manually calculate this data in a spreadsheet by following the growth of your competitors over 2 - 4 weeks, since Instagram really does not have a lot of public data available about your competition. However, if you are a business account, Instagram offers business insights that can be easily used to identify this data.
a) Audience Growth: Are your competitors growing their audience quicker than you?
b) Media Count: Get a sense of how frequently your competitors are publishing. You may find you’re not posting enough to keep your audience engaged.
c) Engagement: See how many likes and comments your competitors are getting on their content.
d) Hashtags: Find your competitors’ most frequently used hashtags. You may be able to use the same ones in your posts if they’re relevant, and get exposure to more people.
e) Top Posts: Take a look at your competitor’s most popular posts. Try to get an idea of why these posts are performing well. Are they product photos? Do they use certain colors? Find out what these posts have that your content doesn’t and use the info to improve your images and videos.
3. Analyze Competitor’s Activity
You’ve gathered the numbers, but you also need to look at how your competitors use Instagram. This requires a manual review. The first thing you want to look at is how active is the competition.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- When was last time they posted?
- Are there long spans of time between each post?
- Do they respond to comments?
It’s fairly easy to gauge how active brands are by answering these three questions. They should post at least once every couple of days to be considered active.
Next, look at the type of content your competitors publish. Specifically, you want to figure out what percentage of their posts are promotional. Look at each competitor’s last 10 posts and calculate what percentage of them are promotional out of 10.
Promotional posts include links to a product, a sale or a contest. For retail brands, it’s a little tricky to decipher between promotional and non-promotional posts. A good rule of thumb is if the posts has a call to action in the caption to make a purchase, it’s promotional.
Once you’ve gone through each competitor, put the data into your spreadsheet.
4. Use the Data
Now that you’ve compiled all of this data, you need to put it to use. Using your brand’s own social media analytics, you’ll be able to compare your profiles to the competition.
For example, maybe your analysis shows most of the competition only publishes promotional posts 10% of the time. You probably would not want to ever go too far over that, or else you risk turning off your audience.
Or maybe, you’ve found that the competitors that post twice a day grow faster month to month than the competitors that only post once, or every other day. This kind of analytical insight will allow you to make decisions that will ultimately make your Instagram marketing strategy successful.