March 17, 2015 / Melissa Faudree

You know how people say keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer? This kind of mindset can be applied to your competitors on social media. Your business should always keep a watchful eye on everything they do, especially on social media. Their tactics and strategies should not be ignored because you can learn a lot from them. You can learn what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and ways you can improve to be better. It is a great way to spark ideas so that you can learn how create better tweets and Facebook posts, create better ads, and come up with better strategies for attracting and obtaining customers. Here are 10 things you can learn from your competition on social media.

Aspects of your competitor’s social media to consider

1. Customer Service: How do your competitors interact with their customers and audience? Are they only responding to positive replies on their social accounts? Do they ignore any negativity or complaints? You should also look at how they handle feedback on their accounts. Do they create and conduct surveys or polls? Are there incentives with their research? Social media is a great place to help build your brand’s reputation and good customer service is a necessity for success.

2. Lead Generation: How are your competitors generating leads? Are they using incentives such as offering freebies or discounts, hosting fan only contests, charities to support, or hosting exclusive events? Sharing content and using social ads are also great ways to increase lead generation.

3. Engagement: How much are they engaging with customers? Your competitors should be interacting daily with customers. The goal should be to make every experience memorable for your followers because engagement helps build relationships. You should also pay attention to the use of testimonials on their accounts. One way to encourage engagement is by using real people with the product or service the brand offers.

4. Timing: When are they posting on social media? You should pay attention to not only when but also how often they post. Do they post daily around 9am? Make note if there is consistency in their posts. Many successful accounts are posting multiple times throughout the week. However, it has been noted that every business is different in terms of timing and frequency on social media. It doesn’t hurt to complete your research though. Who knows what you could find!

5. Social Networks: What other social accounts are your competitors utilizing? You should consider expanding your online presence with other social networks if your competition is already there. Pay close attention to see if your competition created an account but is lacking posts or interactions. This could be your chance to really take over the market on that network. However, you should never join a social network just because. You should always research to make sure your target market is using that network. This could save you lot of time and money!

6. Following: If you look at your competition’s followers, are they fake accounts? You should research to find out if the followers are real. Sometimes brands will pay to build a following with an online service. Many of these services produce fake accounts. Social media isn’t a competition to see how many followers you have. You want to use social media to build your brand’s reputation and expand your clientele.

7. Content: Are they posting information that gives them authority in the field? How are their customers responding to the content they post? You should pay attention to the types of content your competitors are posting and how people respond. The content distributed and shared on social media should always be of good quality. Does the content they share include links to only THEIR content? You should also look at the types of visuals your competition posts such as videos, images, GIFs, and infographics.

8. Products/Services: How do they promote new products and services on social media? You should look the visuals and how they craft their persuasive language. Are they solely using social media to promote their products?

9. Hashtags: Hashtags are a great way to increase brand awareness and engagement. Did your competitors create hashtags for their brand on the appropriate social networks? Did they use trending hashtags in their posts? You should research some of the popular hashtags for your industry and niche.

10. Genuine and Real: Sharing videos or pictures of behind the scenes helps customers connect with brands. What kinds of things do your competitors post for behind the scenes of their company (if any)? Do you get a sense that they are real and not just trying to sell products/services or have an online presence?

There are hundreds of tools available for researching your competition on social media. We have selected a few that your brand could consider utilizing for your research.

Tools for Spying on your Competition

SocialMention is a free platform and search engine that searches user-generated content on social media. Social Mention monitors content on 100+ networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Digg. It includes content such as blogs, comments, videos, news, bookmarks, and events. You can create alerts for your competitors and be informed of any mention on the web or social media.

Fanpage Karma is another tool for monitoring social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. However, Fanpage Karma is the best tool for Facebook insights. Users can monitor an unlimited number of pages or profiles and receive analytics for any of those pages in terms of engagement. Fanpage Karma offers both a free and paid version.

Other tools worth mentioning:

Researching your competition on social media is fully worth your time and effort. If you decide to investigate your competition, it is not cheating or stealing. You are simply looking at their strategies for ideas and ways to improve your brand. Your brand should always stay ahead of the industry and niche while also creating new ways to stand out.

Have you researched other successful brands in your industry? What tools did you use to research your competition?

Posted In: Blog, Social Media