Who is your social media competition?
Who is your true competitor?
Are these valid questions to ask yourself as you grow your social media management business?
Do you, or should you, care what others are doing in your space?
In this article, we will look at
- How to define your social media competitors
- Whether you need to know what your competition is doing
- How to monitor your competition
- How to harness the full power of your competitors
Who is Your Competition on Social Media?
If you are a social media manager, your competition is… other social media managers.
But wait, that’s not all there is to this question.
Your competition also includes
- Digital marketing agencies
- Social media consultants
- In-house social marketers
- New college grads
- Community managers
What Are Your Social Media Competitors Up To?
Do you need to know what your social media competitors are doing? Absolutely yes!
Keeping a ‘finger on the pulse’ so to speak is crucial to your livelihood!
Why, you ask?
If you don’t know what is going on in your industry, you will miss out on important upcoming trends and you won’t be able to pivot (in time, or at all) when needed.
Here is a list of reasons why and what you need to to know about your social media competitors:
- Learn; skills, certifications and new tools
- Inspiration; new content trends & Ideas
- What not to do; don’t make the mistakes you see others make
- Industry; what is hot and what is not
- Trends; where is your competition hanging out?
- Opportunities; speaking, conferences, teaching, virtual summits, guest blogging
- Job Market; who is working where, who is hiring?
- Service Offerings; what new-to-you services can you offer?
- Pricing; is your pricing in-line or at least competitive?
How To Monitor Your Competition
The easy answer is to connect with your competition on social media.
Yes, we suggest you connect with your competition on social media and interact where appropriate.
Check out this ‘Twitter Feud‘ between Popeyes and Chick-Fil-A over a chicken sandwich. Even Wendy’s and Shake Shack weighed in – something that could not have happened if none of these brands monitored their ‘competition’!
If you don’t want your competition to know you are ‘monitoring’ them, try some of these stealth moves:
- Add your competitors to a Twitter List (you do not need to follow someone to add them to a list!)
- Use the ‘Pages to Watch’ Facebook feature
- Follow your competitors branded hashtags on Instagram
- Follow certain Pinterest boards, not the Pinterest account
- Activate Google Alerts on your competition (their name or product)
The BEST way to find out what your competitors are up to though is to do a full out competitor analysis!
A competitor analysis is a one-time (but repeatable) snapshot of what your competitors on social media are doing RIGHT now.
Pick 4-5 competitors who offer
1) the same services in a different geographical location, or
2) different services, to the same target audience, in your geographical location.
Check their website, social channels, and online community. Do a Google search, and look for engagement and activity. Put it all in a spreadsheet.
Once you have completed 4-5 of these, look for patterns.
- Is everyone on Pinterest, but you are not? Oops. Better take a look there!
- Do most of your competitors undercut themselves with cheap pricing? Go for high-end services.
- Are their websites old? Refresh yours and knock it out of the ballpark!
You can learn so much from what your competition is, or isn’t doing!
This social media competitive analysis gives you a snapshot – and some instant feedback – of where to start with your own social media strategy.
What Will You Want to Monitor?
For continued monitoring, you will need a different approach.
We suggest a spreadsheet – google Doc works well – to record your competition’s statistics over a certain time period.
Here are some of the things you will want to pay attention to as you monitor your competition over time:
- Audience growth
- Social platforms
- Top posts
- Types of content
- Frequency of posting
- Engagement rate
- Website responsiveness
- Blog activity
Analyze what works, what doesn’t and why.
Keep track of viral content, new campaigns and look for opportunities to collaborate.
To Harness The Power of Your Competition
To truly harness the power of your competition, you need to know what your competitors are up to, but not care enough about what they are doing to abandon your own strategy. Stay alert and look for trends in your industry and know when to pivot and adjust. Know when is appropriate to engage with them, and their audience.
Be confident about your USP, your own service offerings and pricing, and never stop learning!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You’ll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.