6 Things to Learn from Competitors for Social Marketing
Every brand should look to other brands in their niche for actionable advice into social media marketing efforts. As you look at competitors in your industry, as well as non-competitors in other industries looking to reach the same audience as you, you’ll see the strategies they do well and the feats they do poorly.
When monitoring what the competition is doing on social, this gives valuable insight into testing your own social posts, how to interact with others, and much more.
Now, learn how to read between the lines and leverage their results in ways that are effective for your own company. Of course, you aren’t going to write posts and updates that are word-for-word, but look at their results as an extension of your own.
This social knowledge can greatly benefit your social media efforts for your company and there are plenty of tools to easily monitor competitors. But for now, we’ll dive into the six things to look for when learning from competitors’ social media efforts.
How Your Audience Will Respond
Is your audience shocked, horrified, upset, angry, moved, or inspired by a specific subject? Brands don’t always know exactly how their audience will feel about specific content, but here’s where you get to be a fly on the wall and find out. Pay special attention to shocking headlines, controversial subjects, personal, or emotionally-driven content to see how the audience responded to it.
Gauging those reactions, the number of comments or social shares will tell you if that type of content is something to try or to avoid altogether.
How to Get More Attention
Look at which posts are getting the most comments, likes, and shares from competitors. Is it self-promotional posts? Curated posts? Success stories? Third-party content from specific resources? Look at the CTAs used and which ones seem to be most effective.
Whatever is getting the most attention in the right way – these are the types of posts you want to start adding to your own page and rebranded and repurposed for your company, because you know that they resonate with your target audience. Use other brands to do more testing on what works for your audience and what doesn’t. This will drastically cut the time spent trying to pinpoint the target audience’s needs.
You can also check tools like Buzzsumo to see how many social shares a specific content piece got or which posts had the most engagement. This can be useful for content needs at your company to boost social engagement and traffic.
Audience-Specific Best Practices
Look at what companies are doing via their social networks and emulate the behavior that you believe is best for your company reputation and audience. Every company might have a different or unique approach to social media management, but it can certainly spark inspiration and ideas for your own.
Are other companies replying within the hour to complaints and questions on their social page or website?
Look at the tone of voice used and how consumers are responding in turn. Look at companies with high engagement rates and see if they respond to most comments on a post or do the lofty approach of rarely reacting to the public. Now, look at a brand or two with low engagement levels and see what they are doing differently.
Examples of Consistent Branding
Look at how a brand creates a cohesive profile with content, commentary, and images all in line with the brand. Your competitors may do this well or they may not.
Do they use stock images? Do they make comments before they post an article? Do they get other employees involved in social sharing to boost visibility? Look at what kind of content they are posting to strengthen their branding and what they might be doing that makes the company seem inconsistent.
This can be the perfect insight you need for your company’s efforts or to adjust how your company approaches their social media handles.
Best Timing for Your Audience
Is there a certain time of day when a competitor is getting a lot of engagement on a regular basis? Look at key points of the day, like lunchtime or evening browsing before bed, to see if you can find a pattern. You want your content to be fresh in the newsfeeds when your audience is out there browsing and actively looking for content.
Of course, the timing that works for competitors is no guarantee for it to work as well for you, but it gives more options to test.
Prime Posting Frequency
Look at how often your competition is posting to grow your followers. It is important to see what your audience might consider spam and what they would consider lax (not posting enough). You don’t want to be annoying with frequent posting, but you also don’t want to be outdone by your competition each day.
The frequency also varies from social platforms, so make sure what you apply to Twitter, for example, is not something you apply on LinkedIn. Each platform and social feed is different, so even though monitoring competitors is useful, make sure to understand the etiquette of each social outlet.
The hardest part of all of this is to realize you are in your own box of thinking. Every post may have a variety of reasons it does or does not evoke an audience response. These reasons can include the time of day, branding consistency, image use, wording, the frequency of other posts, weak content choices, and more.
It will take time and effort, but the more you look at your competition, the more you will start to see the picture of what works and what doesn’t.
Even though the above six points are important for learning, remember that copying directly is not guaranteed to deliver results for you. What works for one company may not work for you. Instead, take these points as a way to educate, test, and then focus your social efforts on what gives you the best results after testing.