social media how toWant to raise the bar on your social media?

Are you monitoring your competitors?

Knowing what works for the competition helps improve your own social media marketing.

In this article you’ll discover six ways to reveal insights about your competitors’ social media marketing.

discover social media insights about your competitors

Find out how to discover social media insights about your competitors.

Listen to this article:

#1: Analyze Your Competitor’s Content Share Rates

Ahrefs is a handy tool for SEO, but it has some excellent social metrics as well. If you want to look at more than just social sharing numbers, it has some stats that will give you a peek at how your competitors’ content is performing socially.

Open Ahrefs Content Explorer. Then type in your competitors domain, and click Search. You’ll see a spread of your competitors content, along with a snapshot of share stats in table form.

competitor's content shares in ahrefs

View the results of your competitor’s shared content.

To drill down into the shares for specific pieces of content, click the down arrow located in the far-right cell. You can instantly see how the article is distributed on social media.

competitor's content distribution in ahrefs

Find out how a competitor’s article was distributed.

This chart provides you with information about the sharing velocity of the content and the most popular platforms.

You can access this information for every article ever published. This helps you understand how, why and when your competitor’s content is getting distributed.

Note: Ahrefs requires a trial sign-up or paid membership.

#2: Find Out Who Shares Your Competitor’s Content on Twitter

It’s crucial to know who loves your competition. If an audience loves your competitors, there’s a good chance that they’ll love you, too.

Go to and type in a competitors Twitter handle and when you see the results, click Live to see Twitter users who are promoting your competitors content.

competitor's content shared in tweets

Find out which Twitter users are sharing your competitor’s content.

These people, for whatever reason, may follow your competitor on Twitter. They at least liked your competitor’s content so much that they shared it.

What should you do about it? You may want to reach out and follow these users yourself, share their content or favorite their tweets. Doing this will get you on their radar.

#3: Identify Top Influencers Who Share Your Competitor’s Content

Every industry has those people who are actively sharing great content. Chances are, your competitors are benefitting from the social sharing of these individuals. How would you like to have these people sharing on your behalf?

You can use BuzzSumo here, but if you don’t have a paid account, you can carry this technique only so far. BuzzSumo imposes a daily limit on non-users, so you may have to wait a day to try this one out. (Or just buy an account; it’s worth it.)

Go ahead and enter a competitors website so you can identify their top-shared content again. Now, click View Sharers. The list you’ll see shows you who is sharing this content and why it’s so popular.

competitor's top content sharers

Click View Sharers to find out who is sharing your competitor’s content. Look at the top-ranked influencers.

The information is roughly organized according to the top-ranked influencers. The people who are at the top are big on social media. They usually have lots of followers. If they have a website, you can also see that web address.

One of the best features of this tool is the ability to filter results. Say you want to find only the social sharers who have a blog. No problem. Filter the results to show only bloggers.

buzzsumo results filtering feature

Filter your search results to see only bloggers.

Now you can target the people who might be open to sharing your content on their blog, or who could be open to guest-posting opportunities.

What should you do with this information on social influencers?

  • Connect with them on their preferred social media network.
  • Get to know them.
  • Reach out to them and request retweets.
  • Inquire about guest posting on their blog.

#4: Discover Your Competitor’s Most Popular Content

What are the most popular articles your competitors are producing? What content has the most shares?

Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find out. You don’t need to sign up for an account to use the limited version.

Enter the domain URL of the site your competitor uses to post content. If they use a blog subdomain, for example, be sure to check that domain as well.

You can learn a ton of information from this quick overview when you analyze the results.

buzzsumo top shared content report

Look at your competitor’s top shared content.

For example, you can find answers to the following questions:

  • What is their top shared content?
  • Why is it so popular?
  • Is there a general theme or topic that characterizes the top-shared content?
  • What social media sites generate the most social shares?
  • What social media sites generate the fewest social shares?

What should you do with this information? Take things a step further and use what you learn to adjust your marketing. Here are a few options:

  • Share the content yourself. Why not? It’s popular. Doing so might give you a few extra followers, friends and likes on your own social media profile.
  • Produce similar content. The content is popular for a reason. Part of that reason may have to do with the style and subject matter. Write something similar, share it in your social outlets and see what happens.
  • Engage on the platforms where your competitors are gaining the most shares. If they have a huge Pinterest share ratio, for example, and you’ve been absent from Pinterest, you may want to get active on that channel. Clearly, they’re gaining some traction by using it. Why not you, too?

#5: Uncover Your Competitor’s Associations on Twitter

You can easily discover your competitor’s connections by using Twitter’s search functionality. This is important information for scoping out business owners, possible competitors and up-and-comers in the social scene.

Again, go to and type in a competitors Twitter handle. When the search results populate, you’ll see the accounts that are associated with that name.

twitter search results

Search Twitter for a competitor’s username to find related accounts.

Click View All to see all of the Twitter accounts that could be related to your competitor.

connected accounts on twitter

Click View All to see all of the Twitter accounts in your search results.

Each of these accounts is somehow related to the business or brand whose account you’re researching. Keep these accounts on your radar.

#6: Check Out Your Competitor’s Tweet Frequency

It’s easy to find out how often your competitors are tweeting, but getting that information in chart form is much easier than scrolling through their Twitter profile timelines. Often, Twitter velocity is a good indication of a business’s social agility and popularity.

You can use a free account on Topsy. Click Tweets, and then enter your competitors Twitter handle.

You’ll see how often they tweet, plus whos mentioning them in tweets.

tweet quantity report in topsy

Find out how often your competitor tweets.

Topsy also allows you to compare several Twitter accounts so you can see how your Twitter reply count stacks up against your competitor’s. Use the Social Analytics tab in Topsy to get this information.

The chart below compares @copyblogger, @cmicontent and @buffer to see how the number of mentions compares.

tweet account comparision in topsy

Compare Twitter handles.

Getting this level of comparison is helpful for telling you how ahead or behind you are in terms of Twitter popularity, and what you need to do to gain more traction.


Analyzing your competitors’ social media efforts is ethical and powerful. It’s nothing more than doing careful research. There are dozens of ways to do this, beyond what’s outlined in this post.

Although you certainly shouldn’t obsess over your competition, you should nonetheless be aware. The more you know about your industry, including your competition, the better you can expect to conduct your social media marketing.

What do you think? What tools do you use to research your competitors on social media? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

how to discover social media insights about your competitors

Tips for discovering social media insights about your competitors.

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  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Wow. it was useful, Is there any tool where we obtain all the insights together?
    Is the Twitter search more effective?

  • Awesome. Knowing what you’re up against is huge. Buzzsumo is an awesome tool! Great idea about running my competitor through the tool to get incites on their content. Thanks for sharing.

  • Great tips Neil! Giving our marketers a heads up on knowing the strategy of their competitors. Knowing their competitors’ content is important. They will be able to get some ideas on what kind of posts their competitors are posting. And try to create their own content that will win off their competitors audiences/ readers. Thank you for sharing this article Neil.

  • Vitalii

    Thanks for post.
    And I want to open for yoг good service for monitoring changes om web pages. It’s NeoWatcher. You can watch your competitors)

  • You should always remember that the point of researching your competitors isn’t all about copying them completely. It’s about taking the best of their examples and combining them with your tactics and methods!

  • Thanh Thao

    Great post! I always use Buzzsumo to manage social media. But I just explored some strategies from your article!

  • I enjoyed reading. When you discover all data about your competitors, you should try to be different, have a unique style which will separate you from them and make you more visible.

  • Mohammed M. Shaaban

    Might sound like a silly question , but why is Topsy directing me to apple support ? Do I have to be logging through a Mac or something ?

  • Krista Giannak

    Excellent article. I’m curious: when do you think it is, or is not, OK to reach out to influencers requesting retweets? Thanks.

  • I prefer using the tools each platform provides — they are more in-depth.

  • Ryan, glad you found it helpful. If you have any other use cases would love to hear.

  • Barbara, glad you found it helpful. I think it’s important to know where you stand amongst your competitors so you can find new ways to stay atop.

  • Vitalii, thanks for the heads up!

  • I agree — it’s about staying competitive and finding what works best for you.

  • Thanh, glad to help — keep us posted on progress 🙂

  • Dan, glad to help. Best of luck!

  • Dan, it’s all about finding new ways to compete and as you mentioned staying unique.

  • Elias, thanks for helping out here.

  • Krista, as long as you have a value proposition and are honest — it’s always ok.