March 30, 2016

Tapping Into Your Competitors For Ideas

competitors on facebook interest groupsEveryone knows that you should do competitive analysis to better understand how your competitors are positioning themselves in the marketplace.  That analysis can help you make strategic decisions on everything from how you position your company, the marketing message you use, your product price points, and other strategic decisions.   But there’s another reason why keeping tabs on your competitors is a good idea – they might actually inspire you!

Specifically when it comes to social media, keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing can provide you with a wealth of information about their company but also, equally as important, it might prompt you with some ideas of what you should or shouldn’t be posting on those same social media channels.

Here are two examples:

    • I’m not sure which social media channels are worth my time and which I should ignore from a business perspective.  Since small businesses like ours can rarely undertake massive (and expensive) customer research to determine exactly where our audience is spending their online time, one trick you may want to try is looking to see where your competitors have social media presences.  When you do that, look to see if certain social media channels receive more interaction from their audience than others.  If a competitor has a Twitter account that’s getting lots of ‘chatter’ going versus a Facebook page that’s sitting quiet, that may be an indication of where your audience is.
    • I don’t know what I should be posting.You caution me not to use social media a bullhorn to promote my own products, so what should I be doing?  Because everyone’s business model and products are different, it’s hard to concretely say what you should or shouldn’t be doing.  Instead, this is another great opportunity to view what your competitors are doing.  Remember that different social media channels interact with their audiences in different ways so don’t expect what works on your competitors Snapchat account will automatically work on your Instagram account.   Look for competitors who are using similar channels and follow them to see how they tell a story via that channel without always being self-promotional.  Best of all, if one or more of your competitors is getting a lot of feedback/likes/etc. via a certain channel – and it’s a channel that you also use – use their posts/pictures/updates as inspiration for you.

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