Looking for competitive edge was never simpler with Social Media serving as an effective Marketing Hack that reveals much of what your competitors are up to. Using Social Media and various available tools to monitor your competitors not only reveals their strategy but also the reaction from their audience/customers to the same.
Once you have such insights it indeed allows you to permute/manipulate the gathered data to offer better strategy and drive home results.
Monitoring Competition on Social Media
With the right approach and tools that are available Monitoring Competition on Social Media is not difficult at all with inherently giving anybody an access to lot of information available on the social platforms. The best part is that you also get know how users are actually reacting to different type of gimmicks/strategies being run with.
Monitoring on Facebook
Facebook – With over 500 Million Fans to connect with, the potential here is huge and that indeed makes Facebook one of the top social networks for businesses. It also makes it easiest to find out a lot of information on about your competitors’ strategy and fan interactions.
Finding your competitors on Facebook is as easy as visiting their websites and clicking on the link to their Facebook Fan Page. The same is displayed with much passion making it most convenient for you to track. However, if not available than head either to Google Search or Facebook Search which gladly will reveal the competition’s presence on the Facebook.
You can also use the Browse All Pages directory on Facebook to find companies in your industry that are using the search or the category types listed, such as products, services, restaurants and more.
What you can Learn?
There are lot of strategic elements that are exposed when you are looking at the Page however to dig deeper you may have to first Like their page and become fan with your personal profile.
Once you are a fan, you’ll be able to see all sections of their profile. You will be able to find out if they’re using their Facebook page as lead generation through gathering email addresses, feeding other social media accounts or blog posts through their page, gathering and using customer reviews, creating & running contests, releasing Fan only offers, or if using additional premium applications like Involver or North Social.
You also want to check out as to how they use their wall for fan interactions. Are they posting their latest offers, discounts, videos, blog posts, relevant industry news, photos or other items?
Why is this valuable?
Because not only will you see their activity, but you’ll also see how it is running with their customers.
However digging deeper is little tedious to see the fan response or lack of it you would require to go through individual items on your competitor’s wall. However it does give you great insights and so is a great way to measure what fans in your industry like the most. From contest to discounts to random status updates to photos or is it videos etc. and what type are these.
The above 2 images do indicate that how users tend to interact more when it comes to Contests or Deals that are offered via brands on the Social Media Channels.
Visiting multiple Fan Pages within your niche can so give you lot of insights to work upon and get head-on advantage over your competitors as you would know what’s not working while they learned the same by first executing it.
Does being Early Bird really Matters:-?
Since Facebook fan page owners can also add other fan pages as their favorites it is important to go through your competitors’ additional pages through Favorite Pages or brand name searches.
This is a key area to check out, as it may lead you to find more competitors’ fan pages, revealing more of their overall Facebook strategy.
Monitoring on Twitter
Finding your competitors on Twitter is easy, the best would be to visit their website and look for a Twitter icon mostly in a header, footer or most recently and commonly in the sidebar. Alternatively, you can Google the company name and Twitter to find the account.
What you can learn?
Looking at competitor’s tweets one will be able to make out their strategy (at present). You would know if their strategy includes promoting discounts/special offers; engaging followers using contests and deals, driving traffic to their Facebook pages and engage there, handling customer queries and complaints, direct replies to their followers, or sharing articles, fun facts or other kinds of tweets.
You can judge the success of their strategy simply by looking at their follower counts (not really though, we will cover that separately). However for now, a better judgment of their success on twitter can be measured using a tool called Klout.
The scores range from 1 to 100 and higher the score more is the influence that does indicate effective strategy as compared to one with lower score.
So in example above 2 competitors have huge gap in their influence clearly indicating that one has a better engagement strategy in comparison to other.
Getting to study Twitter Followers is almost like seeing your competitors’ clients (prospects) list and Twitter allows you to do so by simply clicking on the twitter handle of the followers, even better with new Twitter design which displays the follower’s short bio, recent tweets, location, and followers/following counts.
Clicking on a name of any followers reveal his/her bio, location, followers-following count which is great to judge what kind of users are they interacting with. It also offers you access to relevant people and start following them immediately to begin with 🙂
Alternatively, you can get an overview of a user’s followers by using Twitter Tool like Tweepi, which allows you to see every follower details all on one screen in tabular format that includes short bio information, location, number of followers and following, number of updates and when they last tweeted (active/inactive).
On Twitter number of Followers or one sided Tweets (from competitor’s account) does not reveal how their customers are reacting to them. For this you need to head straight to http://search.twitter.com.
Here all you have to do is type “@yourcompetitor’s twitter handle” in the search box and you will get as results what customers have to say about your competitors.
So in an example, you get to know that their customers are facing much issues with refund and deliveries and if in same niche you would want to find and pitch solution for the same.
Continuous Tracking is Easy!
Twitter is great at this essentially because it allows users to create their own Lists by putting other users into groups and access a stream only from them. You can cleverly use this as a hack to make a private List of all your competitors and have one click access to all their streams.
socialmention*: A powerful & Real-Time Social Media Search Engine is another easy way to find your competitors on multiple social networks and view mentions about them by social media users.
SocialMention goes much beyond Facebook & twitter to dig you relevant information about competition that includes mention for your competitors on linkedin, youtube, blogs, questions, mentions, bookmarks, audio, images and more.
As we understand that Forums are very strong and focused community of members continuously talking about products and services hence it is important to extend research to include this data. The fantastic tool to research within forums is boardreader that allows you to find your competitors and any talk about them on forums and message boards throughout the web.
Have you used Social Media to research your Competitors???
– Please share more tips, tricks you engage to research your competitors below and your important learnings…