If you’re a marketer today, anything that helps you refine
your social media goals is a plus.
Because the opportunities and marketing channels available to
brands today are staggering. Simply put, social
media marketing today is about creating goals that solve
challenges, not simply investing in social “just because.”
Not sure what your next move should be? Second-guessing whether
or not a campaign is actually going to pay off?
Good questions! A SWOT analysis can point you toward the answers
In this guide, we’ll break down the principles of social media
SWOT analysis and how performing one can result in a more
actionable social strategy.
What is SWOT in marketing, though?
“Oh great, another new marketing acronym.”
Hey, don’t roll your eyes just yet! The SWOT technique for
planning is actually an old-school concept that you might have
encountered in Marketing 101.
The idea behind SWOT is simple: for every campaign or project,
marketers analyze their strategies based on four specific quadrants
opportunities and threats).
Here’s a snapshot of what each quadrant represents as it
pertains to social media:
Strengths: What are you doing well? What
advantages or strengths does your brand boast? (“We have a
definitive brand voice and active community”)
Weakness: Where might your business be
lacking? What internal factors could hold you back from reaching
your goals? (“We have a reduced marketing budget from last
quarter; fewer resources and employees”)
Opportunities: What’s the incentive of your
campaign or marketing push? What do you have to gain and what’s
possible? (New leads, brand
awareness and so on)
Threats: What outside forces could hinder
your marketing efforts? (Competitors, the condition of the economy
and so on)
SWOT analysis is unique in that it requires you to really dig
into both qualitative
and quantitative metrics. This means not only measuring hard
numbers associated with your brand and business but also feelings
sentiment (think: feelings and emotions associated with your
Why do a SWOT analysis on social media?
Listen: we understand that your time is valuable and you’re
probably already paying attention to your performance data.
However, taking the time to conduct a social media SWOT analysis
is totally worth it. Below is a breakdown of the benefits.
Set SMART-er social media goals
We can’t stress enough the importance of setting SMART
social media goals for the sake of accountability.
And in case you need a refresher, SMART goals
are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic
That said, brands can struggle with figuring out what’s
“realistic” and what isn’t. By conducting a SWOT analysis,
you can better understand where you might struggle and what avoid
putting yourself in a situation where you can’t meet your
Additionally, SWOT encourages you to explore new opportunities
and further define the “why” of your social presence.
SWOT encourages you to dig into your social data
This is another big one!
We’re obviously all about data here at Sprout. SWOT requires
you to assess your business objectively and based on hard numbers.
This means being able to prove what’s working, what’s not and
where you can do better.
Anything that encourages you to take a data-driven approach to
social is a plus, especially in an era where marketers are being
held accountable by their bosses. Regular reporting and SWOT
analysis represent another layer of strategizing and analyzing your
social data in pursuit of better ROI.
The data from SWOT extends beyond social media
Finally, note that as social media SWOT analysis can highlight
your marketings’ strengths, weaknesses and opportunities beyond
You can apply the principles of SWOT to email and SEO, for
example. By making the SWOT framework a regular part of your
marketing analysis, you can better align your social media
marketing efforts as part of your larger funnel.
What do you need to conduct a social media SWOT analysis?
Okay, so let’s say you’re interested in conducting a SWOT
analysis for your next campaign or marketing push.
The good news? You don’t need anything special to get started
(although access to your native analytics or tools like Sprout can
Here’s our breakdown for figuring out the specifics of each
quadrant for a social media SWOT analysis.
First things first: what are you doing well? Based on analytics
and your own experience working with your audience, assess the
- Which social platforms are you most active on? Where is your
community most active?
- What engages your community? Which posts are you
- What creative edges set you apart from your competition (think:
brand voice, creatives and so on)?
Let’s start with your quantitative data. The question of your
best content and most active communities can be found by looking at
your native analytics (or compiled with the help of a tool like
Sprout Social). Having these numbers handy can help you determine
where you should be focusing your energy in terms of platforms and
Beyond data, start looking at what sets your social media
strategy apart from the crowd. Is it your unique visuals? Voice and
captions? For example, brands like Skullcandy have carved
out a niche for themselves with colorful content themes and
Figuring out your creative strengths isn’t a matter of black
and white, but looking at your top performing posts can give you
some ideas. You can likewise monitor your mentions and understand
what it is that customers love about your product, service or
Okay, now for the not-so-fun part.
Determining your weaknesses is a crucial piece of looking at
your social presence objectively and figuring out where you can
improve. Start with the following:
- Which platforms are you struggling with in terms of engagement
- Which past social media initiatives resulted in a loss in terms
of your time and/or resources? What happened?
- What are your competitors’ strengths? What’s causing them
to get positive shout-outs and what’s fueling your negative
Again, analytics can be a huge help here. For example,
Sprout’s platform allows you to assess your performance data
versus your competitors’ on any given platform.
Additionally, hashtag monitoring and social listening can clue
you in conversations that result in praise or criticism from your
audience. If you want to know how your customers feel about you and
your competitors, keyword
tracking is a solid place to start.
To figure out whether or not a campaign is worth it, you need to
assess the rewards against the risks.
You also need to hone in on indicators from customers that
signal you could be doing more with your presence. For
- Read comments and questions for customers regarding products
and promotions they’re interested in.
- Look at competitors and other industry players to see which
platforms and marketing channels they’re exploring.
- Assess your lead generation and current ROI from social media:
what specific metrics do you want to improve?
These answers can point you toward what’s next, ultimately
helping your social presence from growing stale.
Threats can be difficult to pin down, especially considering
that assessing threats prior to a campaign can be a game of “what
Regardless, some threats to keep in the back of your mind while
you conduct social media SWOT analysis include:
- Changes to the various social
- New initiatives and marketing push on behalf of your
competitors that could eat into your target market
- The current condition of your market or customer base
You can’t put too much stock into your threats before they
actually make themselves apparent. Heck, a lot of them are beyond
your control. That said, acknowledging them can help you keep your
With these four quadrants spelled out, you can clearly identify
whether or not you should move forward with your campaign or make
adjustments to your strategy.
What are some scenarios for social media SWOT analysis?
To wrap things up, let’s look into some sample scenarios where
SWOT analysis would be particularly useful.
Running a new social media ad campaign
social advertising is becoming more and more of an expectation
rather than an exception to the rule. That said, figuring out
whether the initial investment makes sense requires some serious
Let’s look at an example of how SWOT helps marketers decide
whether they should move forward with social ads on Facebook.
Strengths: “We have a variety of successful
Facebook posts which can be converted to ads; our Facebook
community has been consistently engaged over the past three
Weaknesses: “Since we have never run a
Facebook campaign before, we have no baseline ad performance data;
quarterly budget for social marketing is also tight.”
Opportunities: “New leads; remarketing to
former customers; increased brand awareness.”
Threats: “Smaller quarterly budget for
social media means that money may run out before we can see an
actual ROI; competitors are ramping up their ad spend.”
Investing in a new social platform
Taking on an entirely new social platform is a risk in terms of
your time and resources. That said, the boom of LinkedIn and
emerging networks like TikTok
require brands to do some soul-searching to figure out where their
time and money is best spent.
Here’s a sample SWOT analysis as it pertains to exploring a
new network (for this example, we’ll use TikTok).
Strengths: “We already have an existing
Instagram community and a repository of visual content via Stories;
that content performs well and can be rolled out on TikTok.”
Weaknesses: “We’re not 100% sure of the
potential ROI of TikTok; we don’t want to spread our resources
Opportunities: “New followers; an
opportunity to reach a
younger demographic and squeeze more out of our video marketing
Threats: “Given that none of our current
competitors are on TikTok, there are no external threats associated
with getting started on the platform.”
Increasing your overall social spend
According to the 2019 Sprout Social Index, approximately
one-third of marketers struggle with securing the necessary
budget for their campaigns
If you’re interested in upping your overall social spend,
you’ll need to highlight where your ROI is going to come from and
emphasize what you’re doing right. Here’s what that analysis
might look like via SWOT for someone trying to convince their boss
that more funds make sense.
Strengths: “We’re currently seeing a
steady growth of social traffic and leads coming from
Weaknesses: “Our paid and organic presence
on Facebook is longer producing much of an ROI; same rings true for
Opportunities: “Refocus efforts on
B2B-friendly channels like LinkedIn and Twitter; prioritize lead
generation and customer nurturing versus brand awareness.”
Threats: “Our immediate competitors appear
to be investing in Instagram where we have very little
And with that, we wrap up our guide to SWOT!
Ready to conduct a social media SWOT analysis yourself?
SWOT might seem complicated on the surface, but the idea is
straightforward: look at your strengths, weaknesses and
opportunities in detail before pushing toward a new campaign.
Anything you can do to set better goals and give your social
presence more purpose is a plus. SWOT analysis does exactly
If you’re looking to conduct a social media SWOT analysis,
your head is in the right place. With the steps outlined above and
media audit template, you can get started on your analysis
This post Social
media SWOT analysis: what it is and how to do it originally
appeared on Sprout
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Social media SWOT analysis: what it is and how to do it