Competitor Analysis for your Social Media Presence
There are many ways to implement social media strategies for your company or organization. Where is a better place to look than to the companies in your industry who are already successful in their implementation of social media?
Other company's social media campaigns have a lot to offer in the way of insight that can be observed and drawn from without being obviously unoriginal or plagiarizing in some way or another. Studying, researching and learning from a competitor or other company’s/organization’s social media strategies can help you cleverly design campaigns that work to your benefit without seeming like you are stale or just a copycat.
Remember that your business still needs to stand out and you need to build a brand with a unique voice that speaks to your unique demographic. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore good strategy, especially when you know that you can build on it and make it your own. Pay attention to the nuances of how a campaign is run and how certain things you identify in a competitor may work for your company.
Your brand's unique voice should always ring through. You can borrow a competitor's pen but you can't borrow their handwriting - otherwise, your work, like any badly counterfeited signature, will always look forced, sloppy and rushed. By following the below guidelines, you can get a sense of how to move forward with your marketing campaigns by using techniques and strategy tips that you learn from competitor analysis.
Competitors Always Study Each Other: It’s Their Job
Even the best of the best study their competition. How else do you think they got to where they did? They had to learn somehow.
Staying relevant in the marketplace is what allows the best to continue to win. It works this way in every industry. From the music business to groceries, competitors are trained to study each other. They compete for the most dollars in revenue from similar promotions, campaigns, products, etc. Industry leaders do this by relentlessly focusing on a combination of market research, competitor analysis and internal review.
Learning how your competitors run their business and why can provide good insight on what to do and what not to do. Your competitor might have a slightly different target customer but their ideas pertaining to certain elements of their social media strategy might be of interest - how often they post, what platforms they prefer, what types of content they use in their messages (sponsored posts, video, short form vs. long form, etc.) and how much content they use and in what frequency.
Don’t Copy Ideas Directly, Reverse Engineer and Study Them
As DIY Themes points out, it’s not about copying someone’s ideas as an exact replica model. It’s about figuring out why competitors do the things they do and how that leads customers to their door instead of yours. When you can reverse engineer a process and study it, you will essentially learn a greater deal about how certain elements of a process can work for your strategy.
You might even craft something unique that was inspired from a particular campaign. Either way, if you learn something useful from the way a competitor approaches their social media strategies, you can use that to build upon and create your own with better insights.
You might want to study how your competitors choose to communicate differently with their audience on each platform. Take a look at their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Alignable, Google Plus, etc. Examine their profiles (including the information provided, its organization and its visual contents) and their activity feeds.
How and when do they choose to post to their profiles? Is there a certain reason for this? How often do they communicate? How is the feed moderated? What types of advertising do they use on each and why? Be a data journalist and draw out charts and graphs if necessary, anything to give you a more clear picture of how these strategies might have been developed and how you can apply them to your own brand.
Testing Out What You Have Learned
Experimentation is always part of this gig, there's no exact science to winning over a customer. This is another reason why studying and learning from your competition is so appealing and vital for your chances to survive.
After studying your competitor's content, you will next need apply what you have learned. That means you can take some of the insights and inspiration drawn from the competitor strategy analysis and create a test campaign. You will want to see how your audience responds and track it over time. Be aggressive with your note-taking and pay close attention to details about engagement statistics. Keep testing and experimenting, taking notes and adjusting over time.
This part of the process may be the most frustrating, but it will help you determine what works for you in the lens of your competition. You can inspect various elements of your test campaigns and analyze them for trends. Trend data is the rainbow that leads to the pot of gold. In other words, if you can find out what elements of a strategy create engagement, then you can use those to develop more similarly engaging strategies for your community.
Implementing Strategies From Development to Scale
Now that you have a handle on how to formulate great strategies that have been compared and tested against the competitors in your analysis, you can start implementing them and dedicating a budget.
Your testing will hopefully provide some consistent verifiable results that you can then use to scale your strategy and campaigns. You must monitor and study your competitors over time, making notes and metric adjustments throughout. Continue to do this and learn to develop newer strategies and formulas for your own business marketing efforts on social media.
You don’t need to be a data scientist to understand information contained in these metrics, but learning to identify trends and draw insightful information can only help. Keep up with your competitors by studying newer, more in-depth ways this data can be collected and interpreted - this analysis is not a one time job. Your competitors will change, the industry will change, technology will change - you MUST keep up if you want to continue to compete.
Read about how experts verify results and test their theories. There is always a wealth of research and other information readily available, what separates the good from the great is how dedicated they are in continuing to learn. Yes, you want to be original, but you also need to compete in order to survive and thrive! That means keeping up with your competitors is essential.