Boost Your Own Social Media Efforts by Analyzing Your Competition’s
One the best ways to give your own business a boost is to check out your competition. Even if your business is bigger or more popular, your competition can give you a lot of insight about your audience and how you might improve to make your business even more profitable. One way to do that is to analyze your competition’s social media efforts. Here’s how.
- Follow Them on All Social Media Accounts — See how they are using each social media account to share information with their audience and watch how they are trying to get more followers/build their audience. Does it appear that they are using automation software? What sort of offers are they making?
- Sign Up for Their Email List — Email lists are a really good way to check out your competition and see how they’re using their email in conjunction with social media to market their products and services. At first I was a little shy about this. I was afraid I might get “caught.” The reality is that most businesses are too big to care. You’re not plagiarizing their stuff, just checking to see what they’re doing.
- Read Their Blog Often — Set up their blog on an RSS feed (I use feedly.com) so that you can keep track of the type of information they’re sharing with their audience and the offers they’re making. Do they ask their audience to share blog posts? Do they make it easy to share?
- What Do They Share Using Social Media? — What does their goal seem to be using social media? Do they try to lead you back to their email list, blog, other social media accounts, or something else? How can you adapt what they’re doing to your business in a way that is congruent with who you are?
- How Do They Get People to Like or Follow Them? — Did they incentivize their audience to like or follow them on multiple social media accounts? Are they running contests? Offering downloadable guides or checklists? If so, are they giving new or the same information on each account?
- How Often Do They Send Out Updates? — Track how often your competition sends out updates. Does it seem too infrequent or too often to you? What could you learn from what they’re doing?
- Track What Time Your Competition Sends Updates — What time is the most common time that your competition sends out updates? Do you want to schedule your content to be shared at a time when they aren’t posting, or do you want to jump into the fray?
- What Is the Reaction of the Audience? — Is the audience engaging with your competition based on their updates? If so, why do you think so? If not, why aren’t they? What do you think you could learn from the competition?
As you ask these questions, you will need to keep track of the answers. Some good ways to do so are to:
- Create a Spreadsheet — Enter the information you collect into a spreadsheet in order to keep track of the questions you have about how each of your competition uses social media. This one is the most comprehensive but also the most time consuming. I wouldn’t start out here because you’re likely to get bogged down in the spreadsheet. On the other hand, it’s probably the most effective way of maintaining the big picture.
- Use Evernote — This is a great way to keep track of different things that you would like to try that your competition is doing. Make a note of it, and then put it into practice on your own. This is what I do.
- Write a Report — Taking each of your competition separately, write a report with the information so that you can easily look at it for future reference. I’ve never done this but I know some folks who work for bigger companies that do. If you’re reporting to someone else, this might be the best way to present the information.
Tracking what your competition is doing, as well as how your audience responds to the competition, will help you know what to do more of in your own social media marketing efforts. We can always learn, and we can learn just as much from our competition as from our own experience. Be mindful of what you’re competition is doing that doesn’t seem to be working and you can save yourself a ton of wasted energy and frustration.
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