Tuesday 04 March, 2014
It may seem counter intuitive, but one of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition on social media is to follow them. Sure, that means giving them one more follower (you), but by following your competition, you can learn from them, steal their ideas and maybe even steal their audience. This is helpful if you’re just getting started building your followers because they have a readymade audience you can plug into.
Identify Thought Leaders
The first step is to find thought leaders to follow. A good way to do this is through searching within social media sites. For example, choose keywords in your niche and search using Facebook’s people search. The companies with the most followers will show up on top.
You can also find popular websites in your niche and follow them using their social media buttons. Then, monitor each company you follow to see which has the most engagement. There are websites out there that, although popular, don’t have a huge social media following.
Track Your Competitors
Another way to follow your competitors in a more indirect way is to sign up for alerts and track them. Sign up for alerts for your competitors’ names. Whenever someone is talking about them on social media, you’ll get a notification. This provides valuable insights on how your competitors’ customers feel about them, which is great stuff to know. You can identify how your competitors aren’t meeting the market’s needs. You may also be able to step in and help, thereby stealing their disgruntled customers.
Get Content Ideas
Following your competitors’ feeds can give you easy content ideas. Use their posts as a basis and create your own original content. So that you don’t post the same thing to the same people, post content across different social media sites. For example, use your competition’s tweets for Facebook post ideas and vice versa.
There are many tools available that you can use to analyze your competitors’ social media activity. These tools bring you their analytics and data so that you can spy on them and see how they’re doing. You can effectively learn from their marketing.
A few of these tools include Fanpage Karma and Twitonomy. These tools allow you to type in any user’s name in Facebook and Twitter respectively and they deliver you that user’s stats.
Network with the Competition
You can also follow your competition in a more open manner by reaching out to them. Find out ways that the two of you can work with each other’s differences and leverage the social media action for the benefit of both of you. After all, social media is all about connecting with like-minded people online.