Read this blog about social media marketing and competitor research here: http://www.o2-v2.com/en/blog/6-helpful-things-your-competitors-social-media-marketing-shows-you Your social media marketing comes first, be that your blogging, creating videos, writing content for your website, or replying to questions on your Facebook page. However, once you have done these important daily tasks you should consider setting aside some time to do some competitor research, or 'spying' if you like! Why should it matter what your competition are doing if you're doing a good job? What can you learn from their social activities? Will this make you a better marketer? Keep reading as I walk you through 6 helpful things that you can learn from your competitors' social media marketing activities with the minimum of tools and technical ability... Follow us on Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/Oxygen_2Point0/ See more blogs on social media marketing, blogging, and business in China here: http://www.o2-v2.com/en/blog
- 1. o2-v2.com http://www.o2-v2.com/en/blog/6-helpful-things-your-competitors-social-media-marketing-shows-you6 Helpful Things Your Competitors' Social Media Marketing ShowsYouYour social media marketing comes first, be that your blogging, creating videos, writing content for your website, orreplying to questions on your Facebook page.However, once you have done these important daily tasks you should consider setting aside some time to do somecompetitor research, or 'spying' if you like!Why should it matter what your competition are doing if you're doing a good job? What can you learn from their socialactivities? Will this make you a better marketer?Keep reading as I walk you through 6 helpful things that you can learn from your competitors' social media marketingactivities with the minimum of tools and technical ability...Am I Copying What Our Competitors Are Doing?
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No.By doing this research of their social media marketing work, you are:Learning what works for themSeeing possible new social media channels to useGaining an insight into content you could createGetting ideas about advertisingUnderstanding your potential customers betterWhat you're not going to be doing is:Copying their contentSpending any moneyBreaking any lawsTo use the word 'spying'makes this practice seem a bit 'naughty,' however it's perfectly legal to get all kinds ofinformation about your competition, and they can (and maybe are) do it with your work too!Why Do This?OK, sometimes you probably feel like you're out of ideas, but you still have social media posts to share, blogs to write,and offers to advertise.Your competitors' social media marketing can give you the ideas that you need!Do I Need To Be Very Technical?No!There are various technical tools you can use to help you do research on your competition, however in this blog I'mgoing to show you how to do basic competitor research with the minimum of technical ability. All you need are youreyes, and to be open to new ideas!Getting Started With Competitor Research 3. Before we look at what you can learn from competitors, you need to know who your competitors are, right?Not sure? No problem. Your competitors are:Companies doing the same or similar businessThey are competing for the same keywords in search enginesA good way to find some, or all, of your competition, would be to type some of your main keywords into 'Google' (orwhichever search engine you prefer), and then make a list of the companies that appear.For instance, let's look at the keyword: "plastic buckets with lids" (totally random choice here).It returns the following results in Google: 4. Now you can make a list of the companies in thesearch*, and start to see if they're active in socialmedia.Here you can pick out:Lowes.comusplastic.comthecarycompany.combayteccontainers.comaffordablebuckets.comtapplastics.com*I didn't include Amazon and Home Depot, becausethey're not really your competitor, since theysell everything.You'll now need to go to their websites and check tosee if they have links to their social media channels(these would usually be on their home page, or aboutsection).Those that are, will give you help with getting bettersocial media results for your own company!Finally, you could also set up Google Alerts forboth your company, and also your competitors. If youdo this, Google will email you when there is a mentiononline; for instance, this could be if someone writes ablog about one of your products, or if a competitorpublishes a press release. This allows you to keep aneye on what is happening without lifting a finger!OK, now let's take a look at the 6 useful things thatyou can learn from your competition's social media:1. Examine Their Social Posts To Stay In the Loop 5. Now you know which social media channels your competitors are using, you should regularly check them to see whatthey have been posting.You should be asking yourself:How is their posting strategy different to ours (times posted, number of posts, types of posts)?Which kinds of posts do they have more success with (likes, shares, comments)?Is there anything they're posting about that I should be?Are their customers engaging them with questions? What are they asking?What do they do that seems to be really cool and creative?Something as simple as reading what your competitors post can give you loads of fresh ideas to boost your own socialmedia efforts, be they about what kinds of content you can create, or what kinds of content you should be posting.In the case of Facebook, you can also use Facebook interests lists to organise useful resources like industry blogs,and of course, your competitors' pages. Then you only need to open your interests list, and you will have all of thelatest information collected together for you every day!2. Find A Hot New Social Media Channel For Your Company 6. As you know there are a lot of social media channels out there, so it's quite understandable if you're not using all ofthem for your company. However, it may be that one of the channels that your competitors are regularly posting oncould also be giving you good results.So, when you're checking your competitors for which social media channels they use, if you spot one that they use,but you don't, then you need to dig deeper.What is the channel?What kind of channel is it (blog, image sharing, podcasting, video)?What sort of topics are they publishing thereAre they getting any success?The last point is important, as many companies have accounts with almost all social media channels, but only focuson a few.If they're not active, then perhaps this channel is not helpful for them, so in that case spend more time considering thechannels that they use regularly, but that you aren't yet using.3. Sign Up For Their Email Newsletter & Get Insider Knowledge 7. What better way to see what your competitors are up to than to hear straight from them?Even if companies aren't doing much on social media, they're almost certain to be sending out emails to theirsubscriber list...so, become a subscriber!Their regular email will probably reveal:New product launchesSpecial offersInsider company newsTheir latest blog postsYou can definitely get a feel for what they're doing, and the aspects of your business that they're focusing on. So thenyou need to compare what seems to be important to them, with what your company focuses on.Do you seem to have the same goals?Have they found what looks like a great niche that you can also explore?4. Improve Your Profiles By Checking out Theirs 8. If you have seen the kinds of content being created by competitors, and also found some new social media channelsto focus on, you can now go one step further and use their social media channel profiles for inspiration in order toimprove your own.But what should you be looking at?Cover imagesAbout sectionsWhich links they includeCustom tabs (in the case of Facebook)Cover ImagesDo they use the same style of image consistently across all of their social channels, or mix it up? How does thiscompare to your strategy?Do their images contain words, or offers. or are they more artistic?As you can see below, here at Oxygen 2.0, we go for the consistent approach across all of our social media channels(Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are shown here), as we feel that this builds our brand and makes it stand out: 9. About SectionsYou'd probably be surprised at how many people actually read the about section of your website, or social mediachannels. This is why it's important to double check what competitors are saying in theirs.Do they include more detail than you?Are they saying something more interesting?Do they include links to their products etc within the section?If your about section is lacking in comparison to the ones that you have examined, it may be time to add some newelements based on what you have discovered, in order to make your about section more informative, attractive, andinteresting for your potential customers.Links IncludedMost social profiles give you the opportunity to add plenty of links to your website, products, or anything that you maywish to promote there.You need to pay attention to what kinds of links your competition post:Product links?Offers / promotions / sales?Website?FREE content (like an E-book)?Where are they posting them, and how many?The prominence of links will give you an idea of how important that link is to the company, and so if they areparticularly 'pushing' a type of product, then perhaps you should be too! 10. Custom tabs (Facebook only)Facebook is a special channel, as they allow you to add your own 'custom tabs' to your profile. These are pagesthat you design and make, and that can say, sell, or do anything.You may find that some of your competitors are using their own custom tabs. If so, you should consider:How many do they have?What are they about?Are they creative and interesting?Do they focus on sales?Could your company benefit from similar custom tabs?Personally I would say that, if possible, you should definitely use custom tabs, because there's nothing to lose andeverything to gain!For example, let's look at HP's Facebook page. You can see that on the main timeline, fans have the option to click onthe custom tabs right at the top of the page. So these custom tabs are always one of the first things that they see:So let's click on the tab, and see what it's all about: 11. As you can see, this clever custom tab gives fans a much more detailed look into HP's newest ways of innovating, andeven includes videos! If people are interested enough to click on this tab, then they are sure to be impressed, and willgain more appreciation for HP as a brand.HP go further, as they include many custom tabs which give a massive amount of extra information to fans:I would say that HP are a good example of a company who takes advantage of custom tabs, so gaining inspirationfrom them, could you use them to:Tell a better story about who your company are and where they came from? 12. Give more details and links about an important sale?Promote your latest important product?The answer has to be 'yes,' and these tabs are FREE.If you're interested in making custom tabs for your Facebook page, then you can get information on how to set themup in this useful blog.5. Get More Traffic & Sales By Tweaking Your Promoted Posts & AdsMost companies will be advertising, or promoting, different things on social channels.If you have liked your competitors' Facebook pages, or visited their sites, then it's likely that you'll be shown their adson Facebook and Google if they're running any.This helps you, because you can see:What they are advertisingTo whom they are advertising (due to the language or content of the ads)Where they are advertising (which channels)If they are promoting their contentWhat kinds of content they promoteThe topics of promoted contentThere is a difference between advertisements and promoted posts.An advertisement is where a company is advertising a product or service that can be bought, usually with a link tothat item on their website.A promoted post is where a company pays for its social media posts to be shown to more people on that channel. 13. By examining what sorts of ads and promoted posts they are creating, you'll get a feel for their strategy. You won'tknow their ad budget, but you will know what they're advertising, and this helps you to know what kinds of products orservices they're trying to sell at the moment.You'll also know which kinds of content they find it important enough to spend money on to show to more people.Both of these will give you a clue about what could be advertising or promoting for your company.6. Check Their Customer Satisfaction In order To Better Serve YoursThe beauty of social media channels is that they're, well, 'social!'This means that fan are usually free to post publicly or to leave a message, and believe me, they do!Consider this, if you'd bought a product, and were really happy, or angry, would you take the time to leave a commenton social media?Before the last couple of years or so ago, the answer would probably have been 'no,' however times have changed,and posting socially is now like a second nature for most people!So check their social pages:What are customers saying?Are they responding to posts? What are they saying? 14. What kinds of posts get more responses?Are there any complaints?Is there any positive feedback?How does your competitor reply?Do they respond quickly?You can learn a lot about a company from how they treat their social media fans (who are essentially customers). Ifyou can see something where they have not dealt with an unhappy customer quickly, for example, then you know thatin future you must avoid this situation.It's also interesting to see what their customers like to respond to. If there is one kind of post that customers seem tocomment on a lot, then this gives you a clue about kinds of content that may be successful for you too, and you canchange your posting plan accordingly.For some extra help, here is our guide to giving customer support on Facebook and other social channels, whichcan help you to please your customers must better than your competition.CONCLUSION:Now that you've seen just how much you can learn from your competitors' social media marketing activities, you needto go out and put these tips into practice!You will be able to:Create better postsImprove your social media profileGet ideas for new contentOffer better customer supportUnderstand what is important to your competitors and what is hot in your industryFind new social media channels to tryGet better results from your advertising and promoted postsAnd all this without needing any technical ability!Your Turn...How does competitor research help you?What was the one most important thing that doing competitor research taught you?Let us know by leaving a comment please. 15. Want to attract more customers and get more sales?Writing a regular business blog in English is a great way to do this!Click below to download our FREE E-book which will guide you through setting up, writing, and sharing an excellentcompany blog which will get you more sales:Posted by Adrian Leighton on Fri 07 Nov, 2014Adrian has been in China for 7 years! He is experienced in all things social media, blogging, and SEO.When not working he enjoys weight-training, reading, watching TV shows with his wife, and baking!Find me on:LinkedInTopics: Online Marketing Social Media