Clever use of social media for your business requires some research and, more specifically, social media competitive analysis – or analysis of what your competitors are doing on social media.
Social media is rather unique in that it provides a level playing field for business marketing; no matter the size or nature of your business, you have access to this effective platform for communication with and service of consumers.
Yet not all businesses use social media to its full advantage – and this is to their detriment.
Some businesses enjoy far greater levels of success on social media, and if they are your competitors this can be unendingly frustrating. There are, however, things you can do to learn how they are succeeding – and this is achieved via social media analysis.
You want your content to stand out.
No matter how great your content is, you need to monitor your competition – to reveal new opportunities, illustrate their failures (or understand yours), and gain valuable insights into what works on social media for your niche and what doesn’t.
When you know what others are doing, you can more effectively track your performance against that of your competitors.
First and foremost, you will need to:
- Do some research
- Understand your niche
- Mimic what works – but in a better, unique way
- Provide value
- Learn and grow
Ways to use social media for competitive analysis
B2B marketers as well as B2C marketers can benefit enormously from using social media to monitor the activities of their competition.
Some ways to achieve this include:
- Create alerts
Create custom news feeds with competitor alerts to monitor the activities of your competition. You can do this by using private Twitter lists, Tweetdeck, Facebook Pages to Watch, or by subscribing to RSS feeds through a Feedly account.
You’ll gain information about which platforms your competition uses, and how they use them – including level of post engagement, post frequency, and other factors which can help you create a targeted approach for your own social media activities.
- Track influencers
Who are the major influencers in your industry? What type of content achieves most shares?
By understanding and analysing your competitors’ use of social media, you can speed up your own testing process and sooner implement your own unique but targeted social media strategy.
- Keep an eye on trends
Trending topics can be a boon for your business – as long as there is relevance to your business, industry, or niche.
B2B marketers in particular should use created news feeds to track the best performing content of their competitors and monitoring trends as they arise.
Trending topics can allow you to eliminate some of your research for content development because you’ll already be able to see and understand what consumers are interested in and what you should deliver.
- Monitor keywords
Any business that is engaged in content marketing should have an SEO strategy, and this will include targeting of relevant and specific keywords to rank in search engine results.
Are your competitors vying for ranks on the same keywords as you are? Are their keywords more effective than yours?
There are tools for monitoring keywords, including SpuFu, SEMRush, and BuzzSumo. These help you identify content that performs best for specific keywords – hence helping you identify who your biggest competition is.
You can also see the position of your content and how it compares with that of others. Information such as number of social shares on specific content, as well as content alert is available.
The key is to monitor only relevant keywords for your niche or industry.
SEO ranking tools like AccuRanker are also effective for tracking your progress against competitors. You may find valuable tips on your competitors’ pages and in their content to inspire you to improve your own.
- Monitor content that gets most shares
Tools like BuzzSumo allow you to search online for the content that is most shared by topic; simple enter a subject or keyword and you will receive a list of content by popularity.
Are your competitors performing well? Are there competitors you’d not previously been aware of? Which of their content performs best?
Knowing all of this can help you create and fine tune your own approach to content marketing.
- Monitor backlinks
Backlinks are another factor that impacts on the ranks of a page. Backlinks are simply links to your content from other sources – and they effectively disperse valuable content.
The key to backlinking success is authority.
If the source of the backlinked information is seen by search engines as being legitimate and an authority on the content, the search engine will prioritise sharing it as such.
Monitoring the backlinks of your competitors can help you to understand why their business appeals to your target consumers.
Use opportunities for link building. Network within your industry, and also provide your own unique and valuable content (a blog linked to your website and social media is extremely effective).
- Use RSS feeds
What are your competitors talking about? What are their followers talking about?
Knowledge is power, so keep abreast of what they have to say. Do this by setting up RSS feeds (for example via Hootsuite’s Syndicator Pro), which will monitor and compile a list of relevant posts for you to read. You want to focus on relevant blog posts, product releases, promotions, and announcements.
In a nutshell…
Observation of your competition can help you learn a lot from their social media content, and the insights gained from social media analysis are invaluable.
Used alongside a long-term and carefully considered social media marketing strategy, you can only improve your own performance when you understand and gain inspiration from those you are up against.
You can see how they use social media, what they perceive as valuable to share, how often they post, and how they interact on social channels with their fans and customers.
The easiest and most affordable way to get started is to create lists on Twitter and Facebook; like and follow the pages of your competitors (from a personal profile rather than a business one might be a good idea – all the better to “spy” on them with!).
Take notice of their newsletters and blog articles.
Be inspired by what you like and take heed of where you see them slip up. Identify what you can do better.
By regularly analysing the activities of your competition, you will be better positioned to remain abreast of what is trending in your industry, and to ultimately create content that is ahead of the rest.
When you are committed to the creation and delivery of content that is of high quality, targeted and strategic, and consistently engaged with your audience, you are almost guaranteed to grow.
One sure-fire way you can do this is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the social media platform of choice for professionals, corporates and businesses.
This year LinkedIn is stepping up and making changes on its platform and to how it works for you.
To stay abreast of what’s happening on LinkedIn and to make the most of it to convert your followers into leads and sales, why not try our free LinkedIn eCourse?
4 Week LinkedIn Optimisation Course: Not only do we share a bunch of valuable, relative and useful info on our blogs, but we’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of this platform especially for B2B enterprises. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, take a look at this course to raise your profile, generate leads and boost your business – so LinkedIn can start working for you.
While we are talking about LinkedIn, here are some of best blogs on our favourite platform!
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There are numerous ways to create a LinkedIn marketing strategy, and in this article we’ll look at some simple tips and explain how to use LinkedIn for business and create a marketing plan for measureable results.
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