We recently looked at what can be learned about your business competitors from their Facebook profiles, predominantly how they utilise Facebook for their marketing strategy and who they are marketing to. There is much more to be found, however, and Facebook for business can be an educational tool as much as it is a marketing tool.
Here’s the second installment…
Competition is a healthy thing. It pushes us to strive harder and to resolve to set and achieve more defined goals. In the business world, competition can be fierce and it takes hard work and savvy to become a stand-out leader among the throng.
Your competitors’ profiles and business accounts can also offer many Facebook insights beyond “spying” on the competition and how they operate, and there is much that one can learn, not just about them, but also from them. Lessons in content marketing and how to use social media to its greatest benefit are the most obvious of these.
What can you learn from your competitors’ Facebook profiles?
- How to use social media to its greatest advantage
Social media for business, when used well, achieves not just ultimate growth in sales, but also gathering information about both current customers but also consumer prospects. Do your competitors on Facebook run surveys and polls? Do they ask for opinions, likes and comments on specific products? These questions and activities are not just about audience engagement; they also offer valuable insight into the target audience.
- How to drive traffic to your business website
The end game for social media marketing and using Facebook for business is to generate more sales; this is only achieved if traffic is driven to your business website. How do other companies and brands achieve this using Facebook? Do they induce page followers and visitors to click through to their webpage? How do they do this? Some methods include appealing product images and descriptions with direct links attached, as well as offering time-sensitive discounts and special deals.
- How to grow your follower base
On social media, it’s all about getting more followers. Of all your direct competitors on Facebook, who has the highest number of followers? Whose content generates the greatest number of likes, comments and shares? What are they obviously doing that puts them at the pinnacle of the competitor group?
- Lead generation
Social media is the perfect place to affect lead generation. With its potentially global reach, new leads are only ever a click away and the potential for exponential growth of your customer base is outstanding. What clever ways do your competitors create new leads? For example, do they offer opt-in forms on their profile page to grow their email lists? Do they run competitions that require clicking through to their website?
- Customer service via social media
Social media is becoming ever more a base for customer service. Rather than phoning or emailing with a query, request or complaint, many consumers find it more convenient and faster to post these directly on to a brand’s Facebook wall (or, ideally, via private message). For many business owners, too, social media is a convenient place to provide initial support to customers. Do your competitors do this? Or do they ignore comments and complaints from customers? How do they manage the various types of consumer interaction when it is carried out in such a public forum? There is much to be learned from how they deal with all manner of customer feedback – and there can be as many lessons shown regarding what not to do as there are to follow. A brand’s reputation depends greatly on its customer service – and on social media at least, many business fall short.
- The importance of engagement
“Social” is the operative word in social media and engagement is critical. Social media platforms are not a place to broadcast or preach without inviting response. Successful social media activity relies on consistent interaction with the audience; this includes both regular (but not too frequent) updating of status as well as response to commentary on you profile wall by your followers. Those business profiles that interact and engage with their follower base regularly will invariably achieve better results than those who do not.
- Distinguishing oneself from the pack
Regardless of what else you do on social media, you need to distinguish yourself from your competitors in some way. How do they do this? Take inspiration from an array of Facebook profiles and use this inspiration to create your own unique position.
- Post frequency
Look at the pages of your competitors that have the most positive engagement. How often are they posting? The optimum post frequency varies greatly by industry and target audience. When the frequency of posts is ideal, engagement will be high and positive in its nature. Posting too often will result in follower fatigue and interaction with the page by the audience will drop off.
- Great content and its value
Content is key. What do your most successful competitors post? What generates most engagement? Content is your ticket to defining your personality and this is appealing to an audience. Consumers respond much better when engaging with a real person as opposed to some virtual entity, so avoid scripted responses and boring, generic content.
Additionally, your competitors can help you identify gaps in content – what are they omitting that consumers want to see? Is this something you can offer instead?
Define your target audience and post with them in mind. How do your competitors do this? Look at the language and content (both written and graphic) they are sharing and its level of engagement, and take some features of these and revamp them to use for your own purposes but with your own unique twist.
- Maintenance of effective branding
Facebook is another place to define your brand. This will help to distinguish your business from its competitors. Ensure you showcase all distinctive aspects of your product, service and brand, and clearly display your logo and mission statement. Be consistent at all times – a successful brand is presented in such a way that despite the passing of time, consumers know what to expect.
- Social Media for SEO
When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), social media is too often a missing part of the puzzle. Any incredibly successful business in the search engines will most likely have a premium social media strategy. Look at how your competitors who are high in the search engine rankings are using Facebook and take some hints from their use of social media and tweak them for your own unique use.
- Use of paid advertising
Social media platforms, including Facebook, offer paid advertising and this is utilised to great effect by many businesses. Facebook adverts can drive traffic to both Facebook pages for business as well as external websites. If you see advertising from your Facebook competitors on the platform, look at what they are doing, how they are using it, and what strategies might be working for them.
You can learn a lot from others about how to run your business more effectively, and also what to avoid. Embrace the competitive nature of the business and use every resource at your disposal – including Facebook and other social media platforms. Rather than ignoring or avoiding them, seek out the pages of your competitors, use Facebook insights, and learn what you can from them to use in your own Facebook for business strategy. And don’t be fooled – if they are business savvy too, they will be doing the same.
Did you read the first post in this two-part series?
In PART 1 of this two-part series we looked at what your competition gets up to on Facebook, how you can stalk them effectively in stealth mode and what lessons you can learn from them so you don’t make mistakes. Check it out here…
If Facebook isn’t your preferred social media platform, have you considered LinkedIn?
Social media a great tool for raising awareness, generating leads and boosting your bottom line. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, check out our free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform for your business.
More on social media – MY MUST READS!
BLOG 2: How to succeed as a social media professional – walk and talk like a pro and gain all the rewards too
BLOG 3: Social media etiquette for business owners – just like everything there are rules when it comes to social media