Let’s say you have a great business model. You offer a product or service that’s highly valuable to your customers.
And you also consistently outdo the competition when it comes to price, value, and branding.
So, your business is doing quite well. But does that mean there’s no room for improvement?
Not necessarily. That’s where a SWOT analysis comes in to help you improve your business in every aspect. That includes your online presence and reputation.
In this blog, you’ll learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis to increase your growth, revenue, and profitability.
What Is a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a framework that helps you audit your business and identify what’s working and what isn’t.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — a reality check for brands, if you will.
Think of it as a map that shows where you are and where you could go. It’s about spotting your hidden gems (strengths) and fixing the cracks (weaknesses). Plus, it’s a heads-up on what’s around the corner — the good (opportunities) and the not-so-good (threats).
Using SWOT is like having a strategic ace up your sleeve. It’s about making smart moves, like boosting what you’re good at and fixing the gaps. It’s also about staying sharp and ready for what’s next, always keeping an eye out for chances to shine and dodging those unexpected bumps.
Key Components Of a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis focuses on internal and external factors that affect the success of your business. Let’s look at them more closely.
These are the factors that come from within your company. The first question you need to ask yourself here is – what’s going on inside your organization?
Your strengths are the things you do really well as a business. What makes your organization stand out from the pack?
For example – your customer service is extraordinary. They have an NPS score of 90, whereas your competitors have 70.
Your weaknesses represent the different areas where your business might be falling short or could use improvement.
For example – your online visibility is rather low. This happens because you don’t have a marketing budget which leads to increasing the number of visitors online.
External factors refer to things that happen externally. What’s going on outside your organization?
Opportunities are the external factors you can capitalize on to improve your online presence and brand reputation.
For example, you can decide to increase brand visibility through ads on Facebook and YouTube.
Threats are external factors that can potentially harm your brand.
This can, for example be a new competitor that threatens to take a part of your online visitors.
Why Conduct a SWOT Analysis Of Your Brand Reputation?
One of the biggest reasons to conduct a SWOT analysis of your online brand reputation is to set SMART goals.
Creating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals requires a clear picture of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
You can see things more clearly when you can zero in on your current situation.
This allows you to set goals that capitalize on strengths, fix weaknesses, identify opportunities for improvement, and mitigate threats.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis Step-by-Step
Follow these five simple steps to create a SWOT analysis to learn how you stack up against the competition.
1. Identify Your Goal
Setting a goal will help you choose what’s most relevant for your analysis.
For example, one goal might be to evaluate your social media performance to determine if you need to change your strategy.
Let’s look at an example of Tailor Brands. Some of their strengths include:
- Consistent branding: Tailor Brands excels at maintaining a consistent and visually appealing brand presence on Instagram. It effectively showcases strong design capabilities through original content, reinforcing its core service.
- Engaging content: Tailor Brands leverages visually appealing graphics, design inspiration, and client success stories to captivate its audience and foster engagement.
- Educational content: Tailor Brands provides valuable design and branding tips to its followers, positioning the company as an authority in the branding industry.
Or, maybe you want to understand the risks and benefits of re-branding your company to improve your brand reputation. Re-branding could involve several threats for a company like Clean Origin:
- Loss of brand recognition: Clean Origin, known for its lab-grown diamonds, risks losing its established brand recognition. A significant change could confuse long-time customers and dilute the brand identity it’s built over the years.
- Customer resistance: Customers often develop a sense of loyalty to a brand’s current image. A re-brand might lead to resistance among the existing customer base, who might not resonate with the new look or feel.
- Misalignment with core values: In re-branding, there’s a risk of deviating from the company’s core values and message. This misalignment could alienate existing customers drawn to the original brand ethos.
The bottom line is that you want to conduct a SWOT analysis before making any major decisions. Identifying a goal will help guide your analysis. This is part of strategic planning, which ensures you’re making informed business decisions.
2. Collect Data for Your SWOT Analysis
To conduct a successful SWOT analysis, use a variety of data collection methods with different sources. Data will help you uncover how your business is performing in certain areas.
Use Social Media Platform Analytics
A part of your online presence is your company’s social media accounts.
How well is your business performing on social media? Are you attracting new customers from social platforms?
Is social media driving more traffic to your website?
You can answer these questions by using the built-in analytics tools on each social media platform you’re active on. However, gathering data from different platforms and sources can be daunting.
It’s best to use a media monitoring tool that helps you monitor, measure, and create reports about your online reach and reputation.
Determ provides you with comprehensive, data-driven reports for more informed decision-making.
The types of metrics you look at will depend on your goal. For example, if you want to see how well your audience engages with your business or determine your ROI, consider these metrics:
- Engagement rate
- Video views
- Video completion rate
- Audience growth rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Conversion rate
- Cost-per-click (CPC)
- Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
Looking to determine the effectiveness of your customer service on social media? Here are some metrics to pay attention to:
- Average response time
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
- Net promoter score (NPS)
Leverage Google Analytics
Another important part of your online presence and brand reputation is your website. You’ll be able to gain deeper insights into website traffic sources, traffic demographics, and user behavior.
Keeping an eye on this data will help you discover opportunities in untapped audience segments or platforms currently generating interest.
Consider Social Listening Tools
A key way to gauge your brand’s reputation is through social listening. What are people saying about your brand? Your competitors?
Certain social media metrics like social share of voice (SSoV) and social sentiment can help you determine how much of the social conversation in your industry is about you, as well as the feelings and attitudes behind the conversation.
Stay Up to Date on Industry News
Keeping up with the latest industry reports and trends can help you seek opportunities and identify threats to your business.
- Set up Google Alerts on relevant topics in your industry.
- Regularly visit industry websites and read trade publications.
- Listen to industry podcasts.
- Follow relevant hashtags on social media.
- Use news aggregator apps like Feedly or Flipboard.
- Attend webinars and virtual events.
Analyze Customer Feedback and Reviews
Surveys, reviews, and comments on social media platforms can help you track how your customers and followers perceive your brand.
Gather insights from different sources (e.g., Amazon reviews, Google reviews, social media comments, etc.) and look for common trends.
3. Identify Your Internal Factors
From the data you’ve gathered, you’ll be able to identify your strongest assets and areas where you excel. These are your internal strengths.
They’re the things that set your business apart from the competition. For example, maybe you manufacture sustainable products or create engaging high-quality web content.
Look at your core competencies, brand reputation, customer satisfaction rates (i.e., feedback, surveys, reviews, etc.), and brand values and culture to uncover some of your strengths.
Key question: What do you do well?
On the other hand, your internal weaknesses are the aspects of your business where you fall short. Maybe you have some negative online reviews, low engagement rates on social media, or a poorly optimized website.
Let’s look at some ways to identify some of your weaknesses. Along with the data you’ve gathered from social media, web analytics, and other sources:
- Conduct an internal audit
- Seek employee/customer feedback
- Examine technology and infrastructure
- Assess market presence
- Analyze skill gaps
Key question: What can you improve?
4. Identify External Factors
Now, it’s time to look for external opportunities to improve your business. What can you do to boost your online presence and brand reputation? What are some opportunities you can capitalize on to improve?
Maybe there’s an emerging social media platform that you aren’t using but has strong potential to boost brand awareness and attract more customers. Or there are some different SEO practices you haven’t tried that could bring in more website traffic.
Key question: What emerging trends can you take advantage of?
The next thing to look at is external threats. These are outside factors that could harm your online reputation.
Has competition increased? Has there been a change in search engine algorithms that could affect your online visibility?
Identifying potential threats allows for proactive strategic planning that helps mitigate damage to your online sentiment.
Key question: How can your weaknesses leave you vulnerable?
Once you’ve identified your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, write them down. Consider using a SWOT analysis template to make things easier.
It should look something like this:
5. Create an Action Plan
Once you’ve created your SWOT analysis, prioritize the ideas in each category. What’s most important to you? What are the items on your list that you want to tackle first?
If you’re unsure what to do first, consider items you can complete easily.
After prioritizing your SWOT findings, start taking action. You might identify overlapping areas. For example, you may be able to use some of your strengths to open up new opportunities. Maybe you can use those opportunities to eliminate some of your weaknesses.
Here’s an example:
A retail brand identifies its main strengths as a strong brand identity, sustainable manufacturing practices, and an emphasis on the employee experience.
The company’s weaknesses are its limited product range and higher manufacturing costs.
There are potential opportunities for expanding product lines, a growing consumer focus on sustainability, and eCommerce expansion.
The threats require the company to keep a close eye on its largest competitors, supply chain disruptions, and changing consumer preferences in the rapidly evolving retail landscape.
The retailer can create a business strategy to add more products, sell online, and boost employee satisfaction, focusing on its strong brand reputation and eco-friendly practices while staying aware of competition and customer trends.
Any business looking to constantly improve and grow should conduct a SWOT analysis. Doing so will help inform your business decisions and allow you to gain a competitive advantage among market trends.
This is also critical in PR when a crisis strikes, and you need to monitor your brand’s online presence and reputation.
Are you ready to boost your business performance online? Start with a SWOT analysis today.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Britney is a freelance writer with 5+ years of experience. She has written for a variety of industries, including marketing, technology, business, finance, healthcare, wellness, and fitness. If she’s not spending her time chasing after three little humans and two four-legged friends, you can almost always find her glued to a book or awesome TV series.