When a competitor is good, he brings out the best in us—that happens in sports, academia, and business . As entrepreneurs we don’t have to be afraid of the competition, let alone underestimate it: we have to follow it closely, analyze it and take advantage of all the lessons it can offer us.
But how to get information about the competition? One of the most useful tools we have at hand is social media. Today we will tell you how to use them for that purpose.
Before moving forward, we will detail what type of data from your competitors can be valuable to review and adjust your business strategy —which perhaps, until now, you had not considered—:
- What are your “star” products or services?
- What are your additional lines of income
- What is the profile of your customers?
- How they communicate their value proposition
- How they interact with their target audience
- What kind of offers and promotions do they offer?
- What type of alliances do they generate?
Of course, the objective of this strategy is not to “spy” on your competitors, much less to copy them. The idea is to be clear about “ what happens out there ”, take the best ideas and adapt them to your business model. This is what you have to do to identify them.
Step 1. Identify your true competition
Your true competitors are sometimes not so obvious. On the one hand, there are your direct competitors : those who sell the same thing as you and with similar characteristics. Then there are indirect competitors : those who compete in the same physical or digital space for the attention of a potential customer (for example, in a bookstore or the gondola of a supermarket).
To get started, list your three direct competitors and your three indirect competitors to follow on social media . Identify your true competition by searching through hashtags, or creating personal profiles to follow your competitors and be able to review what ads or content suggestions appear to you about the same products or services.
Step 2. Define what data you will analyze
For this strategy to be effective, it is essential to focus on the data that will really help you to enhance your competitive advantage . The best filter is to first identify the weakest points of your business; for example, Internet sales, customer service or the number of interactions with the brand’s followers on social networks.
Once you know what you want to research, create a spreadsheet to track the type of posts your competitors are posting on those topics, such as “number of tutorials posted per month,” “speed in response to questions, complaints, or other comments,” or the “frequency of offers and promotions”. Go beyond the type of content that your competitors publish , do not stay only with information related to digital marketing .
Step 3. Use a network management and monitoring platform
Looking at the profiles of your competitors will not be enough to get all the necessary information. But it is also true that in your business there are many tasks that you must perform; therefore, you cannot spend hours and hours surfing the Internet. The solution lies in the use of social network management platforms that include analysis functions of other profiles. Among the most recommended are:
- Sprout Social
This tool is ideal for comparing the performance of your brand with that of its main competitors on Facebook and Instagram , through the interpretation of data such as the growth of followers per day, the engagement in general and per publication, as well as the most popular hashtags.
This app allows you to keep up to date with each update or change made to other accounts on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , LinkedIn and YouTube , as well as measure the impact of each profile through performance indicators (KPIs), such as the number of comments, of shares or mentions.
- Rival IQ
Considered one of the best tools for conducting audits on social networks by offering very specific data, such as the organic and paid activity of an account or the positioning of a brand in search engines through the most searched keywords.
Once you have collected all the useful information about your competition, analyze it and define what adjustments you have to implement in your current communication, sales and customer service strategy; or, what new ideas do you want to materialize. Of course, don’t stop appreciating what your company is doing better or sharing that good news with your team of collaborators .