As social media is out there for all to see, keeping tabs on your competitor’s social media campaigns is a perfectly ethical way to use their efforts as inspiration for ideas to use in your online marketing efforts.
When it comes to running a business, keeping an eye on what the competition is doing has always been a go-to strategy for maintaining a competitive edge. If your competitors are working within similar demographics, ‘spying’ on them is an excellent way to gain market intelligence which you can then implement in your campaigns.
If you’re wondering how you can get a handle on another business’s social media campaigns, here are a few tips to get you started.
Analyze What Your Competition Does
To get the answer to these questions, you’re first going to have to start following all of your competitors’ social media accounts. Don’t overwhelm yourself all at once but start slow, following just one competitor and a couple of their accounts.
Once you are following their accounts, ask yourself the following questions about how they are implementing their social media marketing strategy.
What is the Audience’s reaction? As you scroll through the social media updates, take note of the engagement levels of the audience. Do they love it? Do they hate it? Are they even bothering to engage?
Are they updating regularly? Keep tabs on how often the competition is sending out updates. It may also be interesting to observe how their publishing rate is also affecting the growth rate of new followers.
What time are they posting? The timing of posts is important to get the most eyeballs on your content. If your competition has been around longer than you, then they would have experimented with this metric a great deal. Why waste time reinventing the wheel when someone has done it for you.
What is their strategy for getting likes and follows? Are they using incentivized posts to elicit a like or follow? Are they using each social media account to promote their other presences, and do they post the same information on each, or do they vary it up?
What type of information are they sharing? There’s a ton of ways to engage the audience through social media. Some examples are: ask questions, create contests, post competitions, and give out free information that has value to your tribe. Each post has a specific goal so what’s the goal of your competition? Are they trying for website hits, newsletter signups, or are they aiming to educate and inform?
If you have a Facebook Page, you can go to Insights, then scroll down to “Pages To Watch” to Add Pages of your Competitors to compare the performance of your Page to their Page(s) on Facebook.
Be a regular visitor to the competition’s blog. Setup an RSS feed, so you receive timely updates about what the competition is posting on their blog. How are they getting the audience to engage with the blog? Do they try to attract commentors and are they making it easy for readers to share their information?
Have you thought about signing up for their email newsletter? This is one of the easiest ways to see how your competition is building their business and will give you excellent insight into how they are increasing their social media influence.
Tracking Your Findings
Keep track of everything using the free note keeping program Evernote. Evernote is an online version of the old school pen and paper method. It’s like a notepad on steroids that allows you to keep all of your notes organized (which includes website snippets, audio recordings, and attachments) into separate and searchable documents, and it can all be kept safely in the cloud to be accessed from there.
A spreadsheet is also an excellent tool you probably already have at your disposal. Spreadsheets can help you organize your findings into different tabs, and then you enter the information you want to keep track of in the rows and tables. With a Google Sheet, you can access your information from anywhere you have internet access.