If you want to find out more about your competition, so that you can use that information to make your business better, social media is the perfect place to start.
Well, according to Ofcom, the Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, 72% of online adults use social media sites and you can bet your bottom dollar your competitors do too!
Here are 10 easy ways to find out more about your competition using social media, which you can use to help you be better than the competition.
1. Social Media Channels
First, find out what social media channels your main competitors use.
If you’re not sure, check out their websites as they’ll probably list all the social media channels they are active on there. They might even have a link directly to them to make your life nice and easy.
Identify what social media channels the majority of your competitors use on a frequent basis. The chances are, these are the social media channels you should be on too.
Take note though!
If they’re using lots of social media channels and you’re only using a couple, are they devoting enough time and effort to each social media channel to make it worthwhile?
Think about it.
Social media takes time. It takes resources. If your main competitor wants his Twitter account to bring people to his website so that they sign up for his mailing list, he’s going to need to work hard to make that happen. Has he spread himself too thin if he’s got a social presence on every social media channel in town? This could be to your advantage.
2. Company Bio Section
What sort of information have they added in about their company in each social media channel?
Do they change the style for each social media channel or is it just plain old boilerplate copy?
Have they added in anything that you haven’t added in yet, but would work well for you too?
Now ask yourself, "Can I make my company bio sections stand out more?"
3. Hashtags #
Hashtags are used widely on Twitter and they are being used more and more on other social networking sites.
If used correctly, they can help your posts get found by the right people.
So how can you use hashtags to be better than the competition?
Check out what hashtags your competitors use.
Are these the same hashtags you use? If not, try them out to see if you get a better response with theirs than yours.
You could also always check out how popular their chosen hashtags are first on a website like Hashtagify.
Or have they created any of their own hashtags? If they have, how popular are they?
Are they using them in all their promotional material?
How about if you were to create your own hashtag to compete with theirs?
If you haven’t created a hashtag before, it’s easy to do. Just decide what you want your hashtag to be, check if it’s free in the search bar and then off you go. Just in case you didn’t know, you can use letters and numbers, but no punctuation.
Then encourage more people to use your own hashtag by adding it to all your promotional material and asking people to use it on social media.
4. Customer Interaction
Next, scrutinise how your competitors interact with their customers on social media.
Let me give you some examples.
Are they quick to respond? Perhaps they haven’t set up their social media alerts. Have you?
What tone of language do they use in their posts? Does it seem to work? Or would another tone of voice be more effective? No one knows your customers better than you.
5. Posting Times
When do they post? Is there a pattern?
Try posting at the same times to see if your response rates go up.
Or if you’re already posting at the same times, why not try posting at completely different times to see if you get a better response rate that way?
Check out your Google Analytics account first to see where the majority of your customers are. That way you can make sure you’re not sending your tweets in the middle of their night when the majority of your customers are tucked up in bed!
6. Popular Content
What type of content is the most popular? Does it vary from social media channel to social media channel?
For example, what sort of content gets the most retweets on Twitter?
These might be perfect areas for you to cover and expand on in your posts.
If you’re looking for fresh content around a particular topic, you could set up a Google Alerts account or use ContentGems as a source of ideas. You’ll become an authority in your field in no time at all!
Do they get any complaints from customers? If so, how do they deal with them? Do they just ignore them?
If they do respond to them, how quickly do they respond?
How does this compare with how you deal with complaints.
If these complaints keep appearing, could you use them to your advantage?
What do I mean?
Well, for example, if people keep complaining about their poor customer service, become the John Lewis of your niche. Excel at customer care. Become known for your outstanding customer care.
You'll have your competitors' customers eating out of your hand before you know it.
Look at who follows them. Some of these people could be perfect customers for you. Check them all out.
Is there anyone you want to connect with straight away?
Time is of the essence as they say. You never know, they may be thinking about using your competitor that very minute. Make sure you get in front of them straight away.
On a similar note, look at who they are following. These could be their customers again. No harm done following these people too.
Or they could be influencers who could spread the word about your business and what you have to offer. Yes you read that right.
Follow them to your heart’s content!
10. Follow Your Competitors
Finally, remember to follow your competitors. Some may block you from following them, but if they don’t you’ll be able to get all their posts as they come in. How more up-to-date can you be than that?
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. Competitor analysis is an essential part of any business' marketing. It can’t just be done once and then ticked as completed.
OK, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time for that. I’m running a business.
Here’s the good news! Contact us and we’ll do it for you.
Go ahead and contact us now by phoning 0131 629 5117 or dropping us an email at email@example.com.
You can also find out more about what we can do to help your business grow by visiting our Marketing Services page.