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Social media truly became an inherent part of our lives. It’s hard to imagine a day without checking your Facebook account or looking up how many likes are on your new Instagram pic. Everything seems to happen on social media nowaday – news, socializing, chatting – the list could go on and on. Most importantly however, social media is a crucial part of marketing. Having a detailed social media strategy is a must for businesses – if your business does not have one, you are unfortunately, much more likely to fail. There are two reasons for that. First is obviously, you are missing the best possible opportunity for organic marketing as well as tapping into an audience of hundreds of millions people. Second thing is – you can have a peek into what your competition are doing! In this article, I will outline several things that your competitors can teach you about social media.
The key for gaining some knowledge from your competitors’ social media campaigns is to be humble. You don’t know everything about social media. Neither does your competition. However, if you manage to notice a pattern or a tactic used by your competitors and manage to implement it in your own campaign, then your slice of the customer cake will get bigger! Keep in mind that this learning process might also include the “don’t dos”. Not everything your competition does on social media might increase customer loyalty or generate revenue – you can learn from that too!
Here’s a couple things to look out for in your competition social media strategy:
1. What kind of audience do they cater to
Who is your competitor’s target customer? You may be operating in the same or similar area, but while you target middle-aged men, they focus on teens. Do they have better or worse results than you? It’s easy to check by looking at the comments – an enthusiastic customer is likely to write something nice and appreciative.
Try to rework your social media campaign, so that it suits your competitor’s audience. In this way, your business will remain competitive and possibly gain new customers.
2. How do they engage their audience
Customers love it when a brand they like replies to their comment. This is the moment when a company becomes more tangible and more human. But how does your competition handle it? They may utilize some fantastic, unique and deeply personalized organic marketing that appeals to the target audience. Given that you operate in the same niche, it might be worth to implement these tactics into your social media campaign. Just have a look at what Tesco did when they managed to come out as winners from what would usually be a PR disaster. Look for that little something special in your competitor’s social media that makes their followers want to comment and interact.
3. What kind of content do they share
A well-tailored content, which suits the target audience is a key factor in customer engagement. What does your competition do? What is the reception of their social media following? Let’s suppose you are a CEO of an ecommerce platform dedicated to the gaming industry. You and your competition have a similar target audience of young gamers. For your social media content campaign, you share witty pictures, which include questions for the customers. You manage to gain a reasonable amount of interaction, but then your competitor decides to start posting in-depth analytic articles on games and gaming industry (quite an unlikely thing to see in gaming content), which get a lot of traffic and even more attention. Lesson from this? Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially if your competitors take them! Lesson number two – mirror the successful things your competition does on their social media!
4. What keywords do they use?
SEO is crucial when it comes to getting your business found. One of its most important features are the keywords. How does your competition describe themselves? While you may describe your sandwich shop as “delicious” and “succulent”, your competitors may use “cheap” and “affordable”, gaining a better exposure.
5. Do they use paid ads?
If they do, that means you probably should as well! Otherwise you might lose a significant part of your customer base. Tools such as Facebook Ads allow for a very precise targeting. That means your audience and customers might be easily grabbed by your competitors with the use of targeted ads.
6. How do they gain the loyalty of their customers?
The aforementioned replying to comments is one thing. The other is the purpose it serves. For example, a company that reaches out to a discontented customer and offers a new product or a refund will surely get some good PR. Using social media for customer service purposes is a fantastic way to gain customer loyalty.
7. How do they distinguish themselves in the niche?
What makes your competition special for the customers? Why do they choose them and not you? Answering these questions and implementing the solutions to rework the image of your brand might drastically improve your contact with the customer. This in return, will generate more revenue!
Social media is all about customer engagement and interaction. Observing the social media of your competition can give you a lot of insight into the actions you should undertake to make your contact with your customers better. This can also show you the patterns and behaviors you should avoid. Generating customer loyalty and engagement, defining the audience, distinguishment in the niche, and content are all the things that can be adjusted and reworked.
Your competition can also tell you a lot about the technical side of social media. The way they may be using keywords and paid ads can be inspiring and might contribute to the growth of your business.
Long story short: do what your competition does (as long as it’s successful!).