Want to inject some buzz into your social strategy?
When you need inspiration for what to do on social media, there’s a really easy way to find ideas: “spy” on your competitors.
Social media is public, so you can easily check out what your competitors are doing. We call this the 007 Method.
You’ll be just like James Bond – but from the comfort of your office.
By checking out your competition, you can learn two things:
- What are they doing that works really well?
- What are they missing? Is there a gap you could fill?
With that in mind, let’s see what you should pay attention to when you’re spying on your competition…
How Do They Interact with Customers?
Social media is all about engagement. It’s a two-way conversation.
That said, it can sometimes be hard to figure out how to get your audience talking. It’s frustrating to post update after update, only to be met with stony silence.
Chances are, some of your competitors have great interactions with their customers. Observe what these competitors do to get their customers talking. Once you’ve found the “secret” of their success, you can follow a similar strategy.
What Voice Do They Use?
Every brand has a voice. For many brands, their voice is boring and corporate. But it doesn’t have to be this way, especially not on social media.
In fact, social works best when you’re willing to let your hair down and share what you’ve got to say in your own voice.
Developing a voice can take time. When you look at what your competitors are doing, notice how they manage the balance between being approachable and staying professional.
Also, look out for brands who haven’t bothered developing a voice – and notice the difference that makes to their posts.
How Do They Respond to Complaints?
There are few people in the world who take criticism well. But if your business is to succeed, it’s important that you respond professionally to complaints. This is especially the case considering that 9% of people who complain to businesses on social media expect a response in under five minutes! And nearly half (42%) expect a response within twenty-four hours.
Do complaining customers make your blood boil? If so, take a moment to calm down before you respond. And look at how your competitors reply to complaints. They might not feel calm, but they probably act calm on social media.
Hint: Do not follow this example.
What Types of Content Do They Create?
Ever wondered if you should be sharing on YouTube? Or if you need to start writing a blog?
When you’re wondering what types on content you should be creating, it’s worth checking out what your competitors are doing.
Are they creating…
- …blog posts?
- …slide shows?
- …Pinterest boards?
- …something else?
Remember, just because your competitors are doing something doesn’t automatically make it a good idea.
Notice the types of content that get the most views, shares or comments. That’s the content you should put your effort into creating.
Need more ideas for types of content you could use? Take a look at 10 of our favorites.
What Topics Do They Focus On?
It’s not only the types of content you create that matters. It’s also the ingredients you mix into your content.
What topics do your competitors focus on in their content? You might find a broad range of ideas, which is great, because you can pull them together to create your own mix.
Remember to notice the topics that get the most engagement. If it works for your competitors, it’s likely to work for you.
What’s Their Content Publishing Schedule?
Do your competitors publish new content to their website daily, weekly or monthly?
What level of posting frequency gets the most attention?
If they’re failing to post content at all, then there’s a gap you can fill.
Where Do They Curate Their Content From?
You don’t have to create content to build an audience, though it’s always a good idea.
You can also engage people by becoming a curator. That means collecting the best content from across the web and sharing it with your audience.
Checking out the content that your competitors share is a brilliant way of finding sources for your own curation.
When Do They Post Social Media Updates?
In the morning? Afternoon? Evening?
If they post throughout the day, observe the times of day when their content gets the most engagement. It’s likely that these are the best times to post, too.
What Networks Do They Post To?
Social media can be a huge time drain unless you use it strategically. That means managing your time on social media well. It also means choosing the social networks where your networking can have the biggest impact.
Observing the networks your competitors use can be a simple way of scouting out where you’re most likely to find customers to engage with.
That said, it’s worth noticing the networks your competitors don’t use. If they avoid a particular network, it means one of two things. Either there’s a gap in the market, which you can exploit. Or, more likely, the network they avoid isn’t a fruitful one for businesses in your niche.
How Have You Used the 007 Method?
Have you ever checked out your competitors to pick up ideas on how to use social media? If so, what did you learn? Let us know in the comments section, below.