When it comes to social media, there are certain things that work with your target audience, and certain things that just don’t click. The plethora of options to socially engage with relevant consumers today leaves businesses in a fix – what approach do I adopt to build an engaging and meaningful relationship with my core consumers? A closer look at your competitors, especially the socially successful and socially savvy ones, could hold the answer to your dilemma.
Connecting with your audience via Facebook is not child’s play; it requires a strategic mix of quality content, customized offerings, timing and continuous engagement to reach your target groups. Brands like Burberry (with 13.2 million likes) and Coca-Cola (47.6 million likes), have achieved huge follower attention on Facebook through implementation of detailed audience-driven social content strategies. Analyzing your competitors’ social media actions can help you identify what practices to adopt and what to do avoid – your business can benefit greatly from such learning.
Here are the top 3 things that your competitors can teach you through Facebook:
1. What makes for good, interactive and engaging content
Your users will express interest and intent on your page only if what you can offer to them via your Facebook page adds value. Simply put, only interesting pieces of shareable content customized to your target audience, in a mix of formats, can cut through the clutter and reach your desired market segments. In this regard, it is a good practice to look out for how your competitors are approaching this key interaction – a decent page overview should help you figure out what they post, when they post, how they post, and how their audience reacts. Conduct a regular, frequent and thorough analysis of your competitors’ Facebook posts. An efficient way to do this is by setting up the Facebook Pages to Watch feature. This tool will give you valuable insights into what your competitors are saying, and which are the top posts based on highest engagement ratings. You can also monitor your competitors’ engagement levels with the audience groups using the Agorapulse tool – this is a handy tool that provides an overview of your competitors’ performance vis-à-vis audience engagement. Sharegrab is another great tool that helps you identify brand pages that post similar content as you, and monitor those pages. It displays the most successful posts so that you can clearly understand what works best and what doesn’t.
2. How to deal with customer interactions – the good, bad and the ugly!
Facebook pages make great avenues for customers to interact with their favourite brands and businesses – users post comments, replies, queries and complaints; each type of consumer-driven communication (that is genuine and relevant) requires attention by the brand. At times it can get quite overwhelming to sieve your way through the several messages and posts. Observe your competitors and evaluate their consumer interaction strategies – how often are they replying, what kind of posts do they reply to, how do they respond to feedback and criticism (positive and negative), and what tone of voice have they incorporated as part of their response etiquette. Based on a periodic analysis of your competitors’ response patterns, you can lay out your own response strategy that is customer-centric and accommodates a mass approach as well as a customized approach to interact with niche posts.
3. How to build on your strengths and work on your opportunities
You competitors are a treasure trove of learning – since they offer products or services similar to your offerings, and possibly have similar target audiences, it is a smoother road for you to gain an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, without the added burden of risk. Closely follow your competitors using tools like SocialMention – this tool works well enough to paint a clear picture of how your competitors are working within the social media space, and how their content strategies are impacting their brand reputation. Such insights will help you identify your core strengths or competitive advantage.
Undertaking regular and thorough competitive analysis exercises, with special focus on social media interactions, will help you assess your brand’s current position in the social media space. Such exercises will enable you to tweak your programs and strategies to interact with your audience, such that your brand is nimble and flexible to adapt to new trends across your industry.