How to Use Social Media to Stalk (and Stay Ahead) of Your Competition

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How to Use Social Media to Stalk (and Stay Ahead) of Your Competition

We’ve all done it: stalked old friends, enemies, even exes using social media. We want to see what they’re up to, what they’ve been doing, how their life has turned out since high school. It never ceases to amaze me how much information you can uncover in a couple of clicks and keyboard strokes.

In the age of transparency, everything is out on the internet. The days of keeping marketing secrets, and stealthy product developments underwraps are no longer considered to be a competitive advantage. In fact, concealing important aspects of your business can actually hurt you, as consumer behavior now favors authenticity and transparency.

Though many business owners are disgruntled about ‘revealing everything’, there are some great advantages that are often overlooked. With the help of social media, you can now stalk your competition, analyze what’s working for them, identify what isn’t working very well, and take pieces from it to create your own marketing ideas.

Evaluate How Your Competitors Use Social Media

Take a look at 5-7 competitors’ social media pages. Take note of what they post, what actions they’re asking for, and how engaged their audience is. Evaluate these 3 things:

  • Creative. What kind of visuals are they using? Do they favor video or images? Is it consistent with their brand message? Are they being helpful or entertaining? The key takeaway here is to start getting ideas for how you can visually connect your brand to your target audience.
  • Engagement. What good is a huge audience base if they’re not engaging with your posts? See how many comments, shares, and likes they’re getting on their posts. Pay special attention to the type of content that’s performing well! (But also know that a surge in engagement doesn’t necessarily mean the content is better, it could be that they paid to show their ad to new audiences!)

  • How Their Social Helps Drive Their Business Goals. Where are they sending their audience members? Are they using social media as merely an extension of their awareness efforts? Are they using it to tell a story? Drive website traffic? Phone calls? All the above? Also, understanding how social media aligns with your sales funnel will help you map out social media’s role in your overall business picture.

See How Your Social Media Stacks Up Against the Competition

It’s important to see where your social media is at in order to find opportunities to improve.

#1. Benchmark YouTube Channels with MWP’s Video Marketing Comparison Tool

While many social media management tools include most channels, they often leave out YouTube. MWP’s video marketing comparison tool is free, and allows you to see data comparing your YouTube channel to up to 10 other channels.

To use it, go to the tool’s home page and enter the URLs of your channel and the channels you want to compare. Note that the URLs must link to a YouTube channel URLs (not URLs to specific videos).

After you enter all of the URLs, click the Compare Now button.

Generating this data can be time consuming, so you’ll get a pop up window that asks if you’d prefer to receive your results via email.

The results break down how you stack up against your competitors and why.

For each channel, you’re able to click the Get The Details button to view a detailed analyses on your competitors channels, including the following information:

  • Total channel views and comments
  • Channel subscribers
  • Total shares, likes, and comments on all videos
  • Average shares, likes, and comments per video
  • Average subscribers per video
  • Number of playlists
  • Average views per video upload

You can also view each channel’s top video and video statistics:

#2: Watch the Competition’s Facebook Pages with Facebook Insights

Facebook’s Pages to Watch feature makes it super easy to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online. You’ll have access to this feature if your Facebook page has at least 100 likes.

Here’s how to get to the Pages to Watch:

  1. Go to your Facebook page and click the Insights tab.
  2. In the Overview section, scroll down to Pages to Watch.

You can add competitors’ pages to your watch list and view information about their activity on Facebook, as well as other useful details. At a quick glance, you can see which competitors are likely to be your biggest competition on social media. The information you see includes:

  • Total page likes
  • Percentage increase or decrease of likes in the last week
  • Number of posts this week
  • Number of engagements this week

To add a Page to Watch, click on Add Pages. Facebook will also suggest Pages if you’re starting from scratch. Otherwise, type in the business name, and it will generate the page for you.

To see a Page’s Top posts, click on the name of the Page.

At this point, you can take a look at the type of content that’s working for your competitors, how people are responding, and start brainstorming ideas for your own Facebook page.

Putting it All Together

By now, you’ve got a pretty solid idea for how your competition is using social media. It’s time to get creative and start building your own social media strategy to achieve your business goals.

  • Write down a list of things you like and don’t like about your top 5-7 competitors.
  • Identify your top 3 business goals, and define how social media will help you achieve those goals.
  • Identify any opportunities for improvement for your own social media content.
  • Map out the next steps: Do you need to hire a creative expert to help create a compelling message? Do you need to make some website improvements before you start spending money to drive traffic there? What needs to happen to set you up for success?

The most important piece of being successful in digital marketing is being flexible and proactive about staying ahead of the competition. Find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and harness the power of digital to communicate your message, and reach your business goals.

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