Most likely, as a kid, you were often told not to eavesdrop.

You are a grown-up now. And you know the truth. The “no-eavesdropping” rule does not work when it comes to analyzing your competition. Because that is what you should do in the first place if you do not want to let your competitors gain an advantage. In fact, 61% of businesses used social listening in 2022. Importantly, competitive analysis was one of the primary focus areas.

💡 Read Social Listening Guide: Proven Hacks, Strategies, and Tools

What marketing strategies are your competitors using right now on social media? How are they interacting with their customers?

You can easily worm that out, discover their secret weapons, and spot their weaknesses. Social media listening is virtually a launchpad for a successful competitive analysis. Read below why and then grab the best social listening tips for your competitor research.

How Social Listening Can Help You Analyze Competitors

Social media listening, aka social listening, is a gold mine of insights about your competition.

It helps you gather and analyze social media data to do the following:

  • Understand how your competitors use social media to build influence
  • Evaluate their online reputation
  • Predict what you might also need to do and what to steer away from when going social
  • Spot the gaps in the market and identify your potential to innovate
  • Improve your content strategy for social media marketing by adjusting it accordingly
  • Outperform your competitors and stand out from the crowd

So, you can stay ahead of the competition with media monitoring and active listening. And there are some proven ways to make the most out of it.

5 Best Social Listening Tactics for Competitor Analysis

Learn how to use social media listening to spy on your competitors. Here are five tips to follow.

1. Define the top three competitors

How do you find and identify your business rivals?

Consider the following tips from Eric Mills, Owner of Lightning Card Collection:

“You can notice active competitors in your niche by performing market research. It is also advisable to pick strategic keywords and check the search engine results page (SERP).

Another helpful method is to track what customers say about your competitors in social media groups and community forums. In our case, we monitor Pokémon communities and subreddits like r/PokemonTCG or r/Pokemoncards.”

If you take the beauty and cosmetics sector, the top three competitors in this market may be L’Oreal, Maybelline, and Estée Lauder.

Eric Mills shares a couple of handy tools to help you monitor competitors in your industry:

  • SpyFu
  • WooRank
  • Semrush
  • Ahrefs
  • BuzzSumo
  • SE Ranking

If you have done that already, great! Now move on to the next tactic.

Read How to Do Market Research With a Media Monitoring Tool

2. Leverage social listening tools

Have you prepared your eavesdropping device to do social listening for competitor analysis? Not yet?

Here’s a list of the top ten social listening tools to help you out:

  • Determ
  • Sprout Social
  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Brand24
  • Keyhole
  • Brandwatch
  • Social Blade
  • Followerwonk
  • LikeAlyzer

Competitor mapping is one of the most common use cases for tracking social media with Determ. The software allows you to see the share of voice by location or the number of mentions, for instance. Besides, you can easily see where your competitor has the biggest engagement rate.

Share of voice in Determ

3. Keep track of relevant social media channels

“Aiming at effective social monitoring for competitor analysis, you should listen in the right places and choose social media platforms relevant to the business niche and business model you share with your competitors,” recommends Coty Perry, CMO at Anglers.

At Anglers, for example, we prioritize Instagram. This photo-sharing app is superb for fishing professionals because it focuses on pictures and reels. Visually compelling images of fishing get a good response on this platform,” he explains.

What about the business model, then? Is there any difference in social media listening practices for B2C vs B2B competitive analysis?

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok are go-to marketing spots online for B2C companies. If it’s B2B marketing, the greatest places for social listening are: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Check what your competitors are doing on the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram.

Read How to Conduct a B2B Competitive Analysis


For monitoring your competitors on Twitter, you should track specific competitors’ hashtags, mentions, and impressions on the platform. For example, take a look at this Twitter competitor analysis of McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and KFC performed by Determ.

KFC has the smallest share of impressions – less than 1%. On the contrary, McDonald’s stands out with 81%. This clearly indicates that KFC has to make some changes in the brand’s strategy on Twitter.


Why not try hashtag analytics on Facebook?

It helps you keep an eye on the hashtags your competitors use on the platform to make their posts more searchable and reach the right audiences.

Yup, Facebook hashtags still work for businesses. Have a look at this hashtag used by healthcare and pharma brands in over 130K posts.


Let’s take Illumina.

Once you open their business page on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that the company benefits from polls. It’s one of the greatest LinkedIn post engagement ideas for business. The brand gathers thousands of votes and engages users effectively on the platform.


By tracking mentions, likes, or comments on TikTok, you can see the type of content that helped your competitors achieve virality on this video-sharing app.


Popl collaborated with Arev Davtian (@endicci), a TikTok influencer with 1.6M followers, and went viral instantly. The video generated 80.2M views, 4.2M likes, and 10.3K comments.

Perhaps your competitors also take advantage of TikTok influencer partnerships. You can find content creators that form their pool of influencers and see who brings the biggest engagement to your competitor’s business page on TikTok.


Supposedly, your company belongs to the books selling industry. You might need to apply your social listening skills to learn what bookstagram hashtags your competitors use for marketing books. Below you can see the top posts with the hashtag #booksforkids, for example.

By the way, you can also track Instagram with Determ.

4. Hear two voices

When you turn to social media listening in the competition research, you should lend your ear to two voices. The first one is coming from your competitors’ customers, while another one – from their employees.

The voice of customers

There are certain social listening metrics to catch and analyze the voices of customers:

  • Mentions
  • Likes/dislikes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Follows
  • Reviews, etc.

Do customers talk about your competitor’s brand negatively, positively, or neutrally? How can you decipher that?

You should perform social media sentiment analysis to gain a deeper insight into what you have heard.

The voice of employees

You would definitely want to know how reputable your rivals are as employers. And employee treatment is one of the main factors affecting and defining corporate reputation.

How do people feel about working for your competitor? Are they appreciated and satisfied?

For instance, one of the workplace activism stories features Apple’s employees who openly voice their dissatisfaction with the employer. They speak up in the #AppleToo movement. The activists share stories about sexism, harassment, discrimination, etc., and seek to address these problems in the workplace.

5. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes

Social listening can also lay out where your competitors stumbled and fell and teach you a lesson. For example, you can observe how they face and manage a PR crisis on social sites.

Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of Engineering at Clario, provides an example from the network security industry:

“In today’s digital era, a cybersecurity PR crisis is by far the most common issue for companies and, at the same time, the most valuable lesson to learn from. Meta (Facebook), Uber, Amazon, and other world-famous brands have experienced such crises already. Analyzing their responses can help you avoid making the same mistakes that result in reputational damage.

For that, you may focus on some key points.

  • Number two: what message the company prepared for social media
  • And number three: how the audience reacted to it.”

Just recently, Twitter faced a data leakage that exposed the private info of 200M+ users. One of the Twitter users is now suing the brand for $5M. The company is also accused of covering it up and denying the hacker’s attack.

You can explore the crisis communications plans of your competitors and learn from social media crises that could have been prevented.

Uncover Competitors’ Strategies Through Social Listening

Social media listening is essential for leveraging competitor information. By peering into social “nooks”, you can see what your competitors are up to there. It will allow you to make better business decisions, refine your strategies, and outsmart the competition.

It can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started with social listening. Try Determ and monitor your competitors with ease. Check it out yourself – book a demo today and see what it can do for you.

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