Social media is a valuable resource for a business not only to connect with fans but also to keep track of competitors.
Your competitors might be using new tactics to promote a new product, service or they might be trying to enter a new market. By knowing what they are up to and why others refer back to them when talking about your industry, you will have a great competitive edge.
However, if you have not yet figure out who are your at least top ten competitors, it will be difficult to spy on them. First, pull out some of your keywords you are saving for link building purposes or select top keyword phrases from your SEO folder and write them down in Google search, one-by-one. Then, ten URLs that shows up in SERP with your keyword are you potential competitors. To narrow down your competition geographically, repeat the step except this time add in search a name of a country or a city of your interest. Copy the top ten URLs in excel. You want to write down your competitors URLs / keywords and make few notes for future references. Now you are good to go and spy on your competitors.
There are more than hundred different kind of tools and ways which you can effectively apply for spying on your competitors. Here are four simple yet effective tools to help you extract already today some important information about your competitors.
Look around the website. What social media sites the website is using? How many shares there are? Based on the number of shares you can easily find out if the company is of interest to visitors, what kind of content is popular. Also you can identify what social sites visitors prefer to use for spreading the news.
Observe how often your competitor is posting articles, check if they offer some incentives, promotions and where are they sending visitors to engage with: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Pinterest.
If you notice that they have an email sign-up form, join the list and receive their newsletter. Find out in what way they are using email to attract the target audience.
Most if not all of the competition is already on Facebook. Select your competitor and open up their Facebook fan page. Observe not only the numbers, but also what kind of value they continuously offer to their fans and why their fans come back over and over again to their page. Quantity is good as long as the quality follows up. You are looking for the following information:
- What kind of updates they are posting: questions, funny images, or how-to tips?
- How often they update their posts / day/time?
- How many likes/shares/comments/post?
Another way to learn more what others are saying about your competitor is Facebook highlights. Right below custom tabs, you will notice a word highlights button. Click the button and select post by others. Now you can view what others are posting about company, what are their concerns, what are they commenting on, asking or complaining.
Similarly, you can observe other social networks such as Twitter, Pinterest or Linkedin.
- Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a simple yet nifty and easy to use tool, great for spying on your competitors. All you need to do is set up keyword searches or phrases for your competitors and choose the way you would like to receive updates, by email or RSS feed. Based on your main keyword selection in your niche or a keyword phrase you can receive alerts as often as you choose to receive and as many as many as you prefer. Every time when your competitor post a new article you will receive alert.
- Social Mention
Social mention is a social media search tool that allows you to easily track what people are saying about you or anyone else online, including your competitors. By writing a keyword which can be just anything from a company name to a new product name, social mention pulls out the information from across the web. In few seconds it will present you how is your keyword used in numerous places online especially social media. With social mention you can receive free daily email alerts.
All the information you gather can help you improve your social media strategy, give you a glimpse of what is coming next in terms of trends, it can help you decide what not to do and it can also give you a small edge over your competition.
Article by Daliborka Krstic