How to Research Your Competition on Instagram


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Any entrepreneur who has used Instagram would know that the app isn’t just a free social media platform for sharing amazing photos and interesting videos. Instagram has grown into a must-have tool for every business person who wants to connect with their customers and build a solid brand-customer relationship.
With over 1.074 billion users on the platform, you can be sure that your target audience isn’t the only ones using Instagram; your competitors are too. And if you’re looking for a brilliant marketing strategy that’ll help grow your startup on Instagram, you need to know what your competitors are up to.

And that’s what we’re going to be covering in this article.

Let’s begin by understanding what competitive research is and why you need it to succeed on Instagram.

What is Competitive Research?

Competitive research happens when entrepreneurs strategically focus on gathering as much information as they can about their competitors.

Understand that not researching your competitors is like pushing your startup—blindfolded—into a boxing ring against an established—wide-eyed—competitor.

Now, competitively researching your rivals frequently on Instagram will open your eyes to their brand’s behavior, marketing strategy, and how your business can improve on these and stay ahead of the game, so you won’t walk into the market blind.

Why you Need to Research your Competition

One of the worst things that could happen to any business is to be taken completely unaware by their competitor. Most businesses like Blockbuster, Blackberry, and Yahoo died because their competitors suddenly unveiled a new product or service, and they didn’t know how to respond in time.

You need to know what businesses that offer the same products or services as yours are doing.  Also, keep an eye on businesses that offer products that could replace yours and potential businesses that are new in your industry.

This would keep you in the loop on what your competitors are doing on Instagram and how that can affect your business. It’d also help you know:

  • Your content performance when compared with similar brands
  • The kind of content your target audience loves
  • The best time to post content
  • How often you should post
  • The best hashtags to use
  • If your audience loves video stories or image stories
  • How to generate 10X content for your business
  • And also saves your business time and money

What to Consider When Researching Your Competition on Instagram

When researching your competition on Instagram, pay attention to these:

  • Followers: It shows you how strong their customer base is
  • Posts: It shows the steps your competitors are taking to engage with their audience
  • Likes: It tells how well customers received their posts
  • Comments: It shows how engaging their posts are to customers
  • Engagement: It shows how much reaction your competitors are receiving
  • Top hashtags: It shows what hashtags your competitors are fond of using

Here’s How to Research your Competition on Instagram

Follow these steps to research your competitors effectively on Instagram.

1. Get a Great Competitor Research Tool

The first key to effectively researching your competitors is finding them. It’d be impossible to research a competitor you know nothing about, and that’s why you need a powerful Instagram research platform to help you identify your competitors. Trust us, finding your competitors is an extremely time-consuming process if done manually.

That’s why using a powerful Instagram research platform makes it a lot easier to search for your competitors by either using a few hashtags that are related to your business, a specific location, influencers, number of posts, number of followers, or even commenters.

It’s worth noting that Instagram also has an in-app search by interest, but it isn’t as effective as using a research platform, not to mention that it isn’t yet available in many countries.

2. Understand their Brand

The easiest path to understanding your competitor’s brand is to take a careful look at their brand name because every brand’s name embodies the essence of their business and communicates this essence to their target audience.

Take the time to understand the meaning behind the names of your competitors, the promise it makes, the emotions it evokes in their target audience, and how they use their brand’s name to connect with their customers.  

Customers love brands with strong names and tend to avoid those with weak names. So get yourself a strong business name that connects with your audience emotionally, and the best way to do this is by brainstorming or using a powerful business name generator.

3. Identify Trending Topics and Hashtags

Hashtags have made a massive impact on Instagram, so much impact that a study by HubSpot showed that the average Instagram post contained 10.7 hashtags. So, to research your competitors, you need to know exactly what’s happening in your niche by researching key hashtags related to your business.

By monitoring trending topics and hashtags, you get a clear view of the growing, fading, and disruptive ideas in your industry.

This way, you’d know exactly what’s going on in the market, what your target audience is excited about, and how your business can quickly adopt these rising market trends before your competitors do. 

Remember to focus only on your actual competitors. Pay attention to competitors in the same environment, with the same target audience, products, services, and customer base. Don’t beat yourself to a pulp because your startup isn’t getting as much engagement as Starbucks or McDonald’s.

4. Analyze their Instagram Posting Technique

While researching, you also need to understand the posting techniques your competitors employ. Keep an eye on their Instagram activity. Pay attention to the kinds of posts your competitors put out, how many times they post per day, and how much engagement these posts receive because it’ll reveal precisely what your audience loves.

But don’t stop there; find out why their most successful content succeeded, what they’re doing well, who their top influencers are, and how they’re attaining high engagement rates because your business needs this information if it must succeed.

5. Analyze their Engagement Metrics

The next step is to analyze their content because it will help you understand how to create messages that would engage your target audience. Take the time to understand their best topics, the times they post, and how often they do so because this would give you a clear insight into which days and times are best for reaching a certain demographic.

Analyze every aspect of your competitor’s activities on Instagram, and understand how each post is structured to evoke specific emotional reactions from their audience.

Take Note on Areas to Improve

A detailed Instagram competitive research will help you fine-tune your brand’s social media marketing strategy and also reveal what you need to do to increase the engagement you receive from your target audience.

But all your research would be a wasted effort if you don’t turn your analysis into action by applying them in your business.

Grant Polachek is the head of branding for, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients such as Nestle, Dell, Nuskin, and AutoNation.

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