You can learn a lot of neat tricks from your socially-savvy competitors. In fact, you may need to if you want to keep up. While your competitors are not likely to sit down with you and share all of their secrets, a little social espionage may be all you need to get inspired to take your own social efforts to a higher level.
How to Spy on Your Social Competitors
It’s not necessary to skulk around under cover of darkness or hack your competitors’ websites. Everything you need to know is publicly available. Start by checking out their websites, blogs, and social media profiles and take detailed notes. Are they posting regularly? Can you detect a pattern? What are their primary messages? Which keywords are they targeting? Are they holding contests on Facebook? Are they sharing information and special reports? Are they hosting webinars? Are they building e-mailing lists? How large are their followings? Are they adding fans regularly? Are their fans interacting by commenting, liking, or sharing their posts?
In addition to observing and recording your observations, consider opting into their email campaigns or listening to recordings of their webinars. This allows you access to even more intimate portions of their marketing campaigns. Again observe and take notes.
While you are checking out your competitors efforts, pretend that you are an actual prospect who follows your competition and your business. Where does the competition shine? Where does the competition blow your company away? Where does the competition struggle? Ask these same questions of your own efforts.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea as to the social strengths and weaknesses of your competition and your own business. Using these insights, identify the following areas:
- Areas that you absolutely must beef up simply to compete
- Areas that you should improve in order take advantage of your competitors’ weaknesses
- Great marketing ideas you would like to implement
This exercise should give you several ideas. If you want even more, consider using a free tool such as Social Crawlytics to find out even more about what type of content your competitors are sharing and where. This tool can also help you to identify which content is most engaging. That in turn can give you ideas for creating content that may also be highly engaging with your own followers.
What if Your Competitors are Spying on You?
Just as you can freely opt into your competitors’ mailing list, they can do the same to you. They also may be checking out your website and social media pages as well as using analytics tools to learn more about your keywords and content strategies. Keep that in mind. While you may be tempted to become protective of your efforts, consider adopting a mindset of showing your competitors how it’s done. Be the leader. Be the innovator. Be the one that impresses prospects and customers first and you won’t have to worry as much about what the competition is doing.