How to Discover Social Media Insights About Your Competitors


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.

#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 Ahref’s 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 least 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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Social Media Examiner


How to Use your Competitor’s Private Blog Network For Your Own Gain


So, you’re competitor is using private blog networks to rank their site! So, what are your options?

Well, you could report them to Google, that’s true. The likely result of such an approach is Google seems to ignore it or Google does something about it but months down the line and you lose out on lots of potential revenue in the meantime.

But what if there was another way? What about using their PBN to rank your site through winning some awesome links along the way and cut out the power from his network when doing so?

Sounds a little off the cuff doesn’t it? Well, it’s a simple reality and you can not only rank above your competitor but also gain the powerful links going directly to their PBN and not directly to their site.

Step 1 – Finding the PBNs

Recommended for YouWebcast: Build a Powerful Network and Accelerate your Growth

Performing a little backlink research we should be able to uncover some private blog networks. The most important thing to do here is to use a variety of different tools to find how your competitor is ranking their sites.

Using all of these should allow you to find your competitors full link profile and also determine whether or not they’re using a private blog network to rank their site.

How-to-Set-Up-a-Private-Blog-NetworkSome sites will use bot blockers to prevent their PBNs being blocked. However, many forget to block OpenLinkProfiler, meaning it can potentially be a very lucrative tool in your arsenal and make finding PBNs a lot easier.

Download all of these and then compile a list of the prospects you believe to be part of their PBN.

Step 2 – How to Determine a PBN

SEOs would like you to believe that private blog networks have become increasingly sophisticated, however most are still quite basic blog roll like sites and a quick manual check can determine this. Here are some tips for determining.

Look at the site – does it have:

  • contact details
  • terms and conditions
  • social presence
  • Images of real people
  • Does it look like a blog roll page or fake site
  • Check if suspicious and compare previous and modern incarnations of the website

There are a whole host of ways to determine whether a site is real or not, but these tend to be among the most common.

Step – 3 Make a List of Sites

So, now you should have a list of sites that you assume are private blog networks. If the PBN owner is savvy he should have some nice sites, with some good metrics and some great links.

Putting these sites through the four aforementioned backlink checkers allows you to see the links to the PBNs. This will take some manual work and you can do it yourself or have an assistant to do so. Check out these profiles and make a list of the great backlinks going to the PBNs. Each of these backlinks provides a great chance to win a link to your own website and cut the power going to your competitor’s PBN in a completely white hat manner.

Step 4 – Finding your Link Prospects

When you look through the backlinks you’ve compiled you’ll most likely find that many were going to a quality resource on the PBN domain when it was a real site. In most cases, it’s unlikely that the PBN owner will have created this quality resource and probably 301’d back to the home page.

This in turn means that the linking site most likely isn’t linking to the original resource they want to. And even though it won’t show up as a 404 error or broken link, it in many ways is a broken link in everything but code, as the link is of no real use.

This is where the opportunity for you lies. Some PBNs have links from many of the most powerful resources on the planet and many are links in the aforementioned manner.

All you have to do is go through the PBNs, find these links and contact the linking webmaster to tell them the link is now going to a PBN or useless resource. You then simply state that you are delighted to offer them an even better resource in exchange. You can use Buzzstream or manual outreach to perform this outreach. It’s essentially the same as broken link building, but with a slightly different take.

Here’s a template

Step 5 – Create a Great Resource

Using can be very useful as it will show you the original linked to resource and allow you to use it for inspiration for your new quality resource. Additionally, hire someone to help you create kick ass content that’s going to not only win links in this instance but that you can also use for other link building too.

Needless to say, not every webmaster is going to want to take you up on the offer, but many will. The double benefit of this effort is that not only are you gaining links for your site, but you’re also slowly demolishing your competitor’s PBN.

PBNs have some great links and great links should go to great resources. Finding these opportunities and creating great content allows you to win on the double. And, that’s how you can use your competitor’s own black hat technique against him for your gain.

These blogs will all then link to the target site, in various ways, with various anchor text. This is where the black hat scheme comes in. What’s happening is essentially pirating the domain authority and SEO power of a site that no longer exists, and using that to funnel as much value to a monetized site as possible before things are discovered and collapse.

Done properly, a PBN is virtually undetectable. However, all it takes is a single slip to put the blip on Google’s radar and cause the whole thing to disappear, often over night.

As mentioned, done properly, it’s difficult or impossible to detect a PBN. However, there are a few signs you can look for if you’re concerned.

Hosting. Investigate the host of the blogs in question and see if it’s the same. You can use tools like BuiltWith to see if the sites were all created on the same framework or host.

Domains. The key to a successful – and fast – PBN is buying expired domains. Check into the history of the domain and see when the site was released in its current form. Check if the sites were all redesigned in the same week. You can use the Wayback Machine for these kinds of lookups.

WHOIS. The WHOIS database is the contact information for the owner of the sites. Having hidden WHOIS data is a red flag. If all of the site owners are the same, it’s obvious the blogs are connected.

Content. This is a big one; how much content is there on the site? More importantly, how much content is there on the sites linking to that site? The sites in the PBN often have very few posts. The money site will typically have more.

Backlink Profile. Run the site through a public backlink scan, like Ahrefs. If the PBN owner bought the domain, it will very likely have a large number of broken links. The PBN owner doesn’t have the desire to fill all possible previous pages with content; it’s more work than it’s worth.

Images and Videos. Multimedia content is harder to create uniquely than textual content. If the site uses nothing but stock images, or shares images between multiple sites, it’s possible they’re part of a PBN. This is even more obvious with video.

In essence, the more two sites have in common, the more likely it is they’re part of some low-effort PBN. On the other hand, a site that has avoided all of the common pitfalls is going to escape the notice of the Google anti-spam bots, and is thus that much harder to detect. PBNs are largely a relic of the past, today. Running one well enough to not get caught is an investment above and beyond what most people want to make.

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