The invention of the internet brought about the upsurge in websites creation and social networking sites in the twenty first century. Almost every start up company and existing businesses must have a website, not only to relay relevant information about their products and services in the public domain but also as an essential marketing tool. Companies are always seeking to build worldwide brand and the only way to do that is to gain insights by attracting to their websites or using analytics capabilities of social networks like twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn among others. Using these platforms have proved to be successful in plenty of cases as social network are increasingly becoming an essential marketing and competition investigation tool for companies.
The SWOT analysis of any company or business venture must is simply a model that looks into the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats to every business process and function. Deceptively simple and with immense impact in creating value, most companies will always opt for this business model. In the past business used to use sales people and paper work questionnaire in order to get feedback about their products. The communication process was very long and in case they got hold of the completely and partially filled questionnaire, they had to employ staff to do the data entry work in various software, an obvious being Microsoft Excel, in order to perform predictive analytics. The emergence of well-known survey websites like Survey monkey has greatly reduced the door to door tasks of getting feedback and also conducting data analysis.

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Furthermore, SWOT analysis in social media use basically covers completion and consumer engagement. Aggressive competition requires ambitious marketing. But a well driven marketing makes you one step ahead of your competitors. Gaining insightful information from your current consumer base is the first step to creating opportunities of growing your business. In fact 92% of businesses in the US have integrated social media into their marketing strategy. The success on social media can lead to massive success for a brand, since word-of –mouth is an outstanding marketing element and cannot be tamed because it is very easy for users and followers to give recommendation for a trending brand.

An important aspect of the SWOT analysis is benchmarking. Benchmarking is a measure of quality of institutions policies, products, strategies or programs. The main goal for the benchmarking process is to help a company determine where and what improvements are needed and to help them analyze how other organization realize high performance levels. As a result, companies try to implement the obtained facts into concrete strategies to improve their performance. Benchmarking is cyclical in nature; in a way the described action and discovered statistics are repeatedly used to till real success is achieved. After that the company can say they have a competitive advantage in comparison to others.

The process begins by investigating interaction of the users and static numbers like fans in twitter and Facebook pages. Then next step involves selecting a suitable competitor to use as a benchmark. It is very important to pick a competitor in the same market segment and most likely selling similar or substitute products as your business. This how one gains invaluable insights and eventually constructs viable strategies and develop existing ones. And the benchmarking cycle begins again. Employing innovative web marketers is prudent to creating new and workable strategies that strengthen consumer engagement. Imitating the strategies of your competitors can cause negative impact to your business, for example being seen as a company with inadequate knowledge and worse off having a bad image.

Looking into social media, the trick and magic lies in using the popular sites like Facebook, twitter and YouTube for advertising. A good company will not focus entirely on analyzing their weakness, strengths, threats and opportunities. A good company will seek to identify elements on their competitor’s appearance on the market and look for overlays and differences. The numerical data will always prove the insights are correct looking at the table below for three companies’ social media insight:

This are tables showing numeric data of consumer traffic across two social media sites Facebook and YouTube. These are three popular and global fashion brands. From the data in the tables above one can see that American eagle has little traffic on YouTube despite posting several videos. What can this imply? Considering they get a considerable number of traffic in Facebook. This is an example of company that can employ a SWOT analysis in their social media strategy. It is quite evident that H & M is the strongest competitor of the three and so doing a peer analysis will of much help for the companies. ZARA is also a strong company because they have good number of consumers on Facebook but is not that much aggressive on YouTube advertising. Referring to bench marking American eagle will have to create best practices that will differentiate their position in the market and also stand to gain a portion of their competitors’ consumers. This is majorly done by coming up with creative content and engaging their clients in idea making process.