Be honest, you’re always keeping at least a little side eye on your competition. The stealth Facebook search once a week and quick scroll of their wall. Hovering the cursor over the follow button for their Twitter page. Curiosity is a great thing, especially when searching for ways to spice up your social media routine.
But can you really learn anything from following your competition on social media? Absolutely.
For starters, it’s another way to find out and keep tabs on the what’s what of your industry. Your competition could be addressing questions and concerns you hadn’t yet heard of. Or they could be a little bit more established in the industry and have insight not only useful to customers but also yourself.
In this blog, we offer tips on how to study their strategy to benefit your business, along with sharing our favorite five things we’ve learned by following our competition on social media.
Study Session or Strategy Session?
By the time you’ve read this sentence, chances are three more social media platforms have been developed and launched. A touch of hyperbole, yes, but the social media world is growing very, very rapidly. And with that growth comes the old standbys such as Facebook and Twitter adding tools for their users – marketers and businesses included – to add efficiency to their daily lives.
Both of these platforms offer tools for following your competitors that can immediately be put to use. Twitter lists can be public or private and help you follow competitor accounts more succinctly. Facebook’s ‘Who to Watch’ suggestions for a business page curate four to five similar businesses to your own in an updating chart. The chart, found under Insights, shows total likes, how many posts they’ve had in the last week and engagement for the week.
So how can you use the information you’ve found so far? Look for what posts are getting the most reaction and engagement, but don’t discount the outliers and posts that only carry the sound of crickets.
What Can You Learn
What you can learn will only be hindered by how much time and effort you want to put into it. If 20 minutes a week works for you, great! Others may fall down the rabbit hole and emerge a few hours later with a legal pad full of inspiration and ideas. While we’ve learned more than we ever imagined by following our competition, these are our favorite five that can apply to anyone.
How Their Customer Base Responds to Content
Your bases and personas may be very, very similar. But for some reason, you know their notifications are blowing up while you get the weekly notification Aunt Bev hit the like button again. It’s widely known and understood that social media is very public so use this to your benefit. By spending a few minutes browsing their timelines, you can quickly see what kind of content is gaining the most engagement.
How to Be Different
The easy way would be to jot down a few notes and start formulating your posts to mirror theirs. Except people will see right through the canned and copied content. Think about the posts you’ve recently browsed through. Maybe you came across a post or two that didn’t have as much engagement as the majority of the others. Did you immediately spot a weakness with an idea to improve it? Go wild with improving that post and customizing it to your own business.
New Content Ideas
As marketers and business people, we spend hours each week reading and writing about any and everything related to our industries. Sometimes, the redundancy leaves us stuck in a content rut. Like with social media posts and improving on a low engagement one, your blogging efforts can get a little spark here and there. A topic may form or in the matter of minutes you may have a month’s worth of content ideas from gazing through your competition’s social media.
How They Handle Feedback, Whether Positive or Negative
We can’t stress the public part of social media enough, especially when it comes to how a business responds to online reviews. It’s a subject we have written about previously and likely will continue to do so as digital marketing evolves. Very likely your competitors remember the golden rule from elementary school or before – do unto others as you’d have done to you. Tact and civility go a long way and can affect a business reputation among customers and competitors alike.
Where Are They and Where Aren’t They
With so many social media platforms out there, are your competitors diving into all of them or only a few staples? This could be a subtle reflection of the strength of their social media campaign. Being nearly inactive on many platforms may signal a half thought out social strategy while having a consistent following on Facebook and Twitter with regular engagements means they’ve figured out something that works.
- Check out our blog: “Why LinkedIn Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy“
Elevare Can Follow Your Competition for You
From creating engaging Facebook campaigns to interacting with your followers in a Twitter chat, we are proficient in social media management. Whether your business needs a helping hand with weekly posts or starting a social media presence from scratch, Elevare can help you achieve your social marketing goals!
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