3 Secrets for Using Your Competitors to Succeed in Social Media
Corporate espionage aside, there are some very easy secrets you could use today to leverage what your competition is doing in social media to get ahead yourself. I’m not talking illegal or even immoral things, but rather knowing which rocks to turn over to discover what others are doing in the market place.
For those of you who believe in keeping secrets at all costs and “protecting” your brand, you might want to cover your ears, because here’s the thing – if your brand doesn’t survive in wide open space with nothing protecting it, you probably won’t be in business long anyway.
It’s a sad sad truth – cover up and manipulative spin is quickly losing its power. Time to come out into the light of day, show and share, and grow.
So, in the spirit of being compassionate observers of the social space, let’s see what we can do to learn from others…
Secret #1 – Observe who they follow and do the same
Brands have a hard time hiding their motives, so you can pretty much rely on their behaviors to be ultimately self-serving. It’s easier, perhaps, for people to be tricky, but not so much for brands.
If a brand is following a certain demographic of social media fans, it’s because that group is valuable to them. It’s who is listening and reacting to their message – it’s their peeps. If you serve the same audience, they should be your peeps too.
Secret #2 – Notice who follows them and engage with those groups
This one seems obvious but I can’t tell you how many of my clients hadn’t done it until I suggested it. Any time you can get a pre-filtered demographic group to raise their hands as interested, you are halfway home to success. It’s a perfect laboratory of market research to notice what your competitors are doing with this group, see how they like to engage and be talked with, and emulate that. It’s a great big swimming pool – jump in and play!
Secret #3 – Watch what they say, how they say it, when they say it, and what they leave out
Observation is the great leveler. We can cuss and discuss all day the why of things, but often, behavior is the perfect answer. Notice what people do. Analyze your competitor’s social media stream – see what works for them, when they engage, who talks back to them,what they say, etc. You do NOT need to reinvent the wheel, so don’t.
Just like it’s smart to put a Burger King up on the corner opposite a McDonald’s, you should notice the competitors in your space that do great research, have a concerted and focused social media strategy, and follow their lead. (and then, of course kick their butts to the curb because we both know you are so going to be better than they are…duh…)
Tricky is Good – Easy is Better
As much as I adore a sexy James Bond story, for me, I’m busy – I have a huge to-do list to get done today. Any time I can leverage someone else’s research and strategy budget to accomplish my own goals, and do it ethically, I grab that chance. The above tips are something you could easily delegate off to a junior member of your team or some outsource hero at Fiverr.com and be better off for it tomorrow. So go, now, go do it!
[graphic by cdrummbks]