Identifying what makes a business stand out is the key to knowing how to effectively market that business on social media. However, finding what sets a business apart isn’t always a simple task. For many businesses, this requires the careful generation of a SWOT analysis.
What is a SWOT?
A SWOT analysis, standing for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats,” is a tool commonly used by social media managers. This tool appears as two columns and two rows, with the rows labeled “Opportunties” and “Threats,” and the columns labeled “Strengths and Weaknesses.” The opportunity and threat items are considered “outside forces” while the threats and weaknesses are considered internal forces, easily controlled by the company. Additionally, the strengths and opportunity items are the positive forces, and things that the company can play into for better marketing. On the other hand, the weaknesses and threat items are negative forces that, if unaddresses internally, can negatively impact both the company and their marketing forces.
SWOT analyses are useful because they help guide strategy for a brand’s messaging, content marketing, social media, customer service, and more. When used in conjunction with consumer profiles, social analytics, and other consumer journey analytics, they help to paint a full picture of how to successfully market a brand. According to a recent report (Status.net, 2019), the benefits of using a SWOT as part of a brand’s marketing research include:
- It can be applied to any company and situation
- One tool can tell four stories
- Comprehensive data integration
- Low cost to build
- Simple to generate
- Helps companies play offense and defense
How to Generate a SWOT for a Brand
Once the SWOT columns and rows have been drawn, it’s time to fill them in. It’s important to have representatives from different key parts of the brand helping to fill in the items of a SWOT, so that the analysis doesn’t miss any important details. Consider starting out with asking questions like “Where does your brand have the advantage over your competitor?” or “What could they do better with?” to get the conversation moving, (Christine White, 2019).
First, focus on your strengths. These are internal factors that set you apart. For example, a strong social media following, positive customer testimonials, and a short response time would all be considered strengths.
Once you’ve established strengths, move onto weaknesses. What could the company address to improve its brand? Things like a broken website, inconsistent social calendar, and poor product photos could all be included here. You may want to consider using a social listening tool to help with this step, to fully understand what your target consumers are saying about the brand. This consists of monitoring your brand’s ative social networks to discover “what is being said about your brand, your competitors, and topics relevant to your business,” (Mindy Weinstein, 2018).
Next, move onto your opportunities. Consider the outside forces that you may not be taking full advantage of yet. Things in this section include a growing market for your product and a strong economy.
Finally, tackle your threats. What outside forces may be dragging down the business? This could include things like a lack of knowledge about the product market from the general public or possibly a decrease in the amount of luxury item spending.
To help demonstrate what a SWOT analysis might look like for a social media platform, here’s an example of a completed SWOT for 2013 Facebook, (Pestle Analysis, 2015):
- Allows integration with many websites and applications
- Has more than a billion active users
- The user experience is excellent
- Understands what the users need and want
- Weak click-through-rate of advertisements
- Lacks of some features like video chats, group chats, dislike buttons, etc.
- Advertisements on Facebook is the only major source of revenues
- Attitude towards users’ privacy creates a negative image
- Lack of website customization
- Weak protection of users’ information
- Number of Facebook users who access the social media via mobile devices are increasing
- Expansion to China
- Add more sources of revenue
- Open Facebook marketplace
- Increasing number of mobile internet users
- Users have ad-block extensions
- Online marketing’s slow growth rate
- Privacy issues like identity theft
- Weak business model
How to Use a SWOT Analysis for Social Media Planning
Once the SWOT analysis has been generated for a brand, it’s time to put it to use. A social media manager should take time to understand which elements of the SWOT are applicable to their social media strategy, and how these elements work in conjunction with their target audience’s needs and consumer habits. One sample of a good marketing plan to apply a brand’s SWOT analysis, (Marina Zouaghi, 2018), included the following:
- Take a close look at the items you have written and pull out things that you should be doing or changing to help your success.
- Organize these items in “living documents” that you can refer to in the future.
- Break them down into tasks.
- Schedule those tasks in your social media planner.
- Review your progress and assign a future date to revisit and revise your SWOT to further reach your goals.
It’s also essential that a social media manager considers how these plans and SWOT elements may change depending on a thorough understanding of their target audience. According to a recent analysis, (Atherton, 2019), “[An Audience] is arguably the most important element, as your success in social will be dependent on your understanding, relationship and responsiveness towards your audience. It is important to remember that a brand’s social media audiences can be very different from the traditional audiences found on your customer database or shopping in your store.” Therefore, it’s not enough to complete a SWOT analysis and be done with your market research. You must also identify and research your audiences, and adjust your social media strategy based on this research.