It’s spring training season — time to send out the advance scout. Not for baseball. For your small business.
Want to get ahead with your social media marketing plan? Just as an advance scout for a baseball team watches competing teams to help determine game strategy, you can gain insights for your social media strategy by analyzing your competition.
The goal is not to copy but to learn — what they do right and what do they wrong. And don’t limit scouting to your own local area. If you’re at the top of the social media game in your local market, then check out what the winning teams in your industry are doing in other states or countries.
Scouting Tip 1: Check out which social media channels competitors use
A vital part of any social media marketing strategy is choosing the best platform to reach your target audience, and the demographics of your audience likely determine which platforms they are using. As a small business it can be hard to maintain a quality presence on multiple channels. Knowing which channels your competitors are using successfully (or unsuccessfully) may help you determine where to focus your efforts.
Scouting Tip 2: Track how your competitors use social media
All advance scouts keep stats. These are the ones you want to track:
- How frequently do they post? And when?
- What kind of content are they using? Educational, informational, entertaining, interactive, emotional?
- What visuals do they include with content? Photos, memes, videos, infographics?
- Which posts have the most likes, shares, retweets, comments?
- What hashtags are they using?
- Who do they follow/like?
- How many followers/likes do they have?
Scouting Tip 3: Use free online tools for additional insights
Think of these online analytical tools as your radar gun; some extra data to strengthen your overall social media marketing analysis. Plus, you can also use the tools for insights into your own social media efforts. These are free or have a limited free version.
Facebook Pages to Watch will compare the performance of your Page with similar Pages. Under the Insights tab on your Business Page, you can search for and add competitor’s Facebook Pages. (Note: your Page must have at least 100 likes before this option is available.) Although you’re only required to add five Pages for comparison, more will provide better data.
LikeAlyzer provides quick recommendations and feedback about your Facebook Page and your competitors. Just enter the Facebook page URL and instantly get page performance and comparison info.
Klear offers limited free analysis of multiple social media platforms. You can connect your own networks for insights or check out the profile of a competitor (klear.com/profile/USERNAME). Their Influencers Search can help you find people in your industry to watch.
Once you’ve done the advance scouting, don’t forget that to get the most benefit out of the stats, you need to use them to develop or enhance your overall strategy. Good luck on creating your winning social media marketing plan. Let’s play ball!