How do you beat the competition at their own game?
First, you have to understand them.
What are they doing?
Is it working?
If so, why?
If not, what are they doing wrong?
Do they have any weak points where you know you can do better, creating gaps where you can move in and carve out a space for yourself?
To answer these questions, you need to analyze exactly what your competitors are doing. Taking a look at their social media activity and audience engagement is a great way of doing this.
You've got a couple different kinds of “competitors” to look at on social media.
Some are your direct competitors. That's the other guys trying to sell more or less the same thing.
Think Coke versus Pepsi.
Then, you've got companies who aren't necessarily selling the exact same thing, but they're targeting more or less the same audience.
So you're competing with them for people's attention.
On Facebook and other social media ad platforms, that's something you need to keep in mind.
In a recent post, Convince & Convert explains how to gain insight into these competing companies on social media.
Determine Your Baseline
After you’ve identified the different competitive sets (one for direct competitors, one for audience competitors) that you want to track, it’s time to set a baseline.
Run an easy analysis to understand how you stack up against each competitive set, and zero in on the specific posts and campaigns which are driving engagement and audience growth for your competitors.
Then, set a goal. Be as specific as possible when setting your goal: The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to hit it.
If you’re behind when it comes to the engagement metrics that matter to your brand, whether those are shares, replies, likes, comments, and/or interactions on a specific social network, set a goal for percentage growth over the next quarter and year.
If you’re ahead, take a look at your past growth, and make a goal to replicate or exceed that growth percentage so that you stay in the lead.
Know Who Is Receiving More Positive (and Negative) Sentiment
By viewing the conversation around your industry topic across multiple social channels, from Facebook to Reddit, you can discern whether you or your competitors are defining and dominating the conversation from an earned social perspective.
In other words, how do people really feel about you and your competitors?
How do you match up when it comes to brand health?
Not all engagement is good engagement, after all.
Own Relevant Events and Holidays in Your Field
Beating your competitors on social is an audience-first strategy.
Which events matter to your audience, and how can you become a part of these conversations?
Spend some time researching popular events for your target demographic, listening to what they’re talking about now, and planning your content calendar around the events which are hot in your space.
You can learn more about how to use insights into your competition for your own gain over at Convince & Convert.
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