“Know your audience,” say the experts, “It’s key to any social media marketing success!”
I can get behind that.
But what if you want more than just success in your industry? What if you want to be the best in your industry?
You’re going to need a plan for domination. It’s time to start spying on your competition by keeping tabs on their social media profiles.
This is an awesome way to gather valuable competition intelligence – the stuff you can use to improve your social media presence and overall marketing strategy.
Need more reasons? We’ve got 5:
1. You deserve an ego boost
Think your industry is cramped with social media hot shots? Think again:
“The reality is that most of your competitors aren’t likely doing a very good job with social media (most companies aren’t), which gives you the chance to stand out,” says Forbes contributor Stephanie Chandler.
But you won’t know where the gaps in your industry are until you look for them.
Search for the competition across social media platforms to determine exactly what you’re dealing with. You might be surprised to discover that you run the game!
2. It beats trash talking
Sure, go post a negative Yelp review about your top competitor, or hurl a string of insults across their Twitter page. Feel better now?
Probably not, I’ll bet. And your customers won’t be impressed when they find out, either. Oh yes. There’s nowhere to hide online.
As the experts at Conduit remind us, “in the viral world of social media, [talking trash] can come back to bite you in a bad way.”
Take the high road and gain an edge on your competition by gathering totally public, totally guilt-free intelligence from their social media profiles.
You can’t improve your social media strategy by posting nasty comments to your competitor’s Facebook page. Spying is much, much more sustainable.
3. Their customers need you
Customer service has shifted to social media in a big way . Now more than ever, social users connect with companies on Twitter and Facebook to offer feedback and ask questions.
For one reason or another, your competitors might be ignoring these communications. That’s where you come in.
Monitor your competitors’ social profiles, and note when a question or comment goes neglected. If you can provide a solution, it’s fair game.
At this point, winning the customer is all about the approach.
As social media expert Kristi Hines suggests, instead of spamming users with blatant sales pitches, “simply offering a helpful suggestion about how to choose the right product and then leaving it up to them to make the decision is a lot more likely to pay off.”
4. It’s easy to be a Spy
With social media, you don’t need James-Bond-style espionage to crack the competition’s marketing strategies. In the time it takes to perform a dozen Google searches and build an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll have everything you need to get started.
Keeping a record of each competitor’s presence across social platforms will help you determine trends in effectiveness and popularity. If you monitor how often each competitor makes updates, you’ll have a strong idea of who to pay attention to over the long-term.
To keep things organized and efficient on Twitter, create a private Twitter list and add your competitor’s profiles to that list. This is only visible to you. Stealthy!
5. Free learning opportunities rule
No matter how much or little social media content abounds amongst your competitors online, you are sure to learn something about what your company can do to improve and stand out from the rest. And it won’t cost you a dime.
Valuable insights from competitors include:
- Number of followers per profile
- Number of “Likes” per Facebook post (type, date, time)
- Number of retweets per tweet (type, date, time)
- Number of updates per week
- Tone, style, and content shares
- Frequency of communication with other users
These can all help you strategize where and how your company fits in the field online. You can also learn from your competitor’s mistakes – the Facebook posts that flop versus the posts people love, for instance – and hone your strategy to accommodate what appeals to your audience.
With competitive intelligence in your marketing arsenal, you’re prepared to amp up your presence and increase traffic back to your website.
Success is sweet, and it’s even sweeter when you feel like James Bond.