The value of competitor social media analysis

By Doug Wilber

Social media for banks is a necessity. That’s a given. You meet customers where they are, and today, that’s online. But customers (and potential customers) are not just engaging and interacting with one bank’s website, apps and social accounts. They are seeing competitors’ accounts, too. Bank marketers must leverage social media analytics to understand what works for their competitors—and figure out how to do it better.

A competitive analysis of social media data in the banking industry can help guide your strategy by quantifying the successes and failures of your rivals. This is especially true of community banks, which may feel they are fighting an uphill digital battle against the resources of fintech companies and enterprise financial institutions. Thankfully, lots of competitor data is publicly available. Plenty of successes and blunders are out there for any savvy bank marketer to learn from. With the right social media analytics tool, this data could be the key to keeping up in today’s fast-paced environment.

There’s a lot of powerful data on social media, and banks can leverage this to their advantage. Analytics and competitive insights empower bank marketers—even at smaller institutions—to be smart and efficient with both their time and dollars. You cannot differentiate your institution unless you know and understand the stories your competitors are telling.

You also need to be aware of the quality of your competitors’ ads, calls to action and websites. If your marketing materials are not comparable you could lose customers. It is more than just optimizing a landing page—there needs to be a quality experience at every possible touchpoint. To start understanding competitors, consider these three tips when analyzing social media for banks:

1. Benchmark your strategy. Benchmarking is the foundation of any competitive marketing strategy because it shows how measuring your competitors’ performance can help you step up your bank’s marketing game.

With social listening tools that enable tracking competitors’ social media activity, leaders can see the organization’s performance benchmarked against competitors and get a clear picture of where social needs more investment to stay competitive.

For instance, if you’re working to understand how often your team should be posting to social media channels, look at how often a competitor is posting. Or if you’re aiming for 50 percent audience growth and see everyone else has 5 percent month-over-month, you know to adjust expectations to be more achievable.

2. Understand what is resonating. When financial institutions embrace social listening, they gain clear insight into how other brands are producing engagement on social channels and resonating with customers. One bank finding resonance could be an outlier, but if multiple competitors are using the same technique, your brand can use those trend insights to craft even more relevant messaging and maintain an advantage against the competition.

Track which trends and are getting high engagement for your competitors. Which topics that drive the most engagement? Certain aspects of storytelling? Or maybe specific kinds of posts, such as short-form videos, resonate best. Understanding what works for your competitors will teach you what works for you. Conversely, if they have posts that are driving little to no engagement, learn from their mistakes and avoid spending your time and dollars doing the same thing.

3. Identify proactive opportunities. Monitoring competitors on social media can provide unique insights and offer proactive opportunities for your institution to pick up a customer. For better or worse, social media gives us all a view into a brand’s dirty laundry. If you notice a competitor getting social media complaints on a particular service or product, this could be an opportunity for you to target that audience and tell them how you do it better.

Are people posting messages on your competitors’ pages about how hard it is to reach a customer service representative with them? Grab the opportunity and design a targeted paid campaign that emphasizes your institution’s excellent customer service.

These moments may not come often or easily, so stay vigilant to make the most of them.

Competitor social media analysis is a vital tool to help smaller financial institutions remain competitive. It keeps your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry while identifying what’s working—and what’s not—for the bigger players.

Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a social media management software company that provides tools to empower marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.