10 Tips to Beat Your Competitor’s Social Media Strategy
It’s more difficult than ever for businesses to compete online. Paid marketing costs are increasing due to rising competition and ad saturation. At the same time, shorter attention plans are making it difficult to stand out with organic (free) traffic. To succeed in today’s environment, it’s necessary to have a strong social media strategy.
Today, I’ll breakdown ten tips to help you beat the competition on social media:
- Start with a brand audit
- Analyse your competitors’ social media
- Research your customer needs
- Customise for each social media channel
- Generate a viral content strategy
- Plan ahead and post regularly
- Monitor and measure your results
- Great experiences to build customer loyalty
- Develop your own identity
- Make connections with influencers
Let’s explore each one in more detail.
1. Start with a Brand Audit
Before jumping into your social media strategy, start with a brand audit. The purpose of this audit is to see how your business compares to competitors.
A brand audit involves looking at websites, sales data, marketing materials, and customer communications. It then assesses your brand’s positioning, cohesiveness, and consistency. Finally, it can help identify areas for improvement.
There are five steps to conducting a brand audit process:
- Get to know your competitors and their product offering.
- Analyse your visual identity and how it’s presented on social media.
- Analyse website copy, email copy, and ad copy.
- Determine positioning for your brand compared to competitors
- Compile your report showing areas for improvement
Completing a brand audit will ensure your social strategy aligns with your website and other digital marketing strategies. This allows for a consistent brand image and positioning.
2. Analyse your Competitors’ Social Media
Each social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has its own audience. People interact differently on each platform. Use this to your advantage by evaluating your competitors’ tactics on each channel. There are two ways to analyse their performance:
- Ongoing Monitoring – tracking their social media activity over time.
- Campaign-Focused Metrics – monitoring specific campaign-related activities.
To make this research valuable for your brand, consider the following tips:
- Track follower growth on primary social media channels.
- Find optimal times of day for post engagement.
- Identify which content results in the most likes and shares.
- Study audience demographics (who follows their pages).
- Review comments for common customer questions and feedback.
Social media monitoring tools like Brandwatch track your brand’s and competitors’ social media performance
3. Research Your Customer Needs
Before jumping into social media promotions, consider: who exactly are you promoting to?
Without knowing the answer to this question, it will be difficult to find the right users on social. One of the best ways to know your customers’ needs is by performing market research.
According to Entrepreneur.com, market research is a key business activity, especially when trying to dominate one’s competitors. Here are five steps to consider while conducting market research on your audience:
- Research your customers’ needs through interviews, surveys, and user tests
- Assess your key products vs. your competitors
- Check your customer reviews across social channels
- Incorporate these findings into your marketing strategies
Remember, conducting market research is an investment in your business’ future. It’s an ongoing process you should consider revisiting regularly.
4. Customise for Each Social Media Channel
As Neil Patel suggests, each social media channel requires a different strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. While it may seem overwhelming to create fresh content for each channel, here are some tips to help with the process:
- Stretch your content. Start with one long-form piece of content, like video or a podcast. Then clip it into several shorter content pieces. From a single video, you can make: visual snippets, video soundbites, image quotes, or transcribes into a written article for LinkedIn.
- Adjust your captions. Match the right voice of each channel. LinkedIn allows for longer-form captions (compared to short-form content on channels like Twitter).
- Personalize your media. Share strong visuals on Instagram vs. short engaging text on Twitter.
Package Free Shop combines strong visuals and longer-form captions to generate engagement on Instagram
5. Generate a Viral Content Strategy
Everyone talks about creating viral content. Yet, it’s difficult to predict what content will go viral.
You can improve your chances of going viral by sharing content that visitors like to view and share. Here are some examples:
- Interesting and unexpected posts. For example, this person found that the KFC follows only 11 accounts. They relate to their secret recipe: 5 spices & 6 herbs.
- Content with a humorous and positive view. Dollar Shave Club’s video went viral by combining humour with a positive message. It now has 26M views on YouTube today.
- Emotional and engaging content. Inspiremore.com shared an inspiring post about moms. This resonated with their audience and resulted in over 1 million social shares.
- Trending and informative content. For example, you can curate relevant content from news sites in your niche.
6. Plan Ahead and Post Regularly
Having a regular posting schedule is necessary to succeed in social media.
Visual marketing service, Piqora interviewed 200 large-name brands. They discovered that most brands see consistent Pinterest growth between posting “a few Pins a week” and “3 to 10 Pins per day”.
Keep in mind that too much promotional content makes your audience lose interest. When posting on social media, follow the 5-3-2 rule:
- 5 accumulation posts - sharing others’ content
- 3 creation posts - relevant content to your brand
- 2 humanization posts - personal, fun and relaxed content that humanizes your brand
Try to avoid political or religious content. Engagement may increase, but you risk impacting your brand. Check your content for neutrality before publishing, while making sure your brand’s message is consistent.
Hashtags are also useful for social media posts. They help with increasing the visibility of your content. Find relevant hashtags to increase the chances of your posts reaching a wider audience.
Bonus tip: When publishing posts, avoid making simple mistakes. Proof-read your posts and check them using tools such as Grammarly. It’s a great free tool to help you create grammatically accurate content.
7. Monitor and Measure Your Results
Social media analytics tools are a great way to measure your results. There are many available tools such as Social Pilot, which can provide analytics on your social media performance. Some activities performed by these tools include:
- Tracking and securing your social media accounts.
- Reviewing your social media posts’ performance across several channels.
- Monitoring your day-to-day metrics for reaching your goals.
Using these analytics, you can see which activities are driving results. Then double-down on what’s working.
8. GreatExperiencesto Build Customer Loyalty
Offering great customer experience drives loyalty and results in more sales.
With social media, it’s easy for customers to get overwhelmed. Very few brands can connect and build loyalty with customers. It’s better to develop a plan for engaging with your followers and building relationships with them. This step is easier if you:
- Use the help of social media chatbots to communicate with new visitors.
- Create a plan for listening to customer’s feedback on social.
- Share customer testimonials and reviews to build trust.
- Follow up with their comments to make your followers feel heard.
9. Develop Your Own Identity
Think about how you can develop your own identity on social media. As the saying goes, “become a trendsetter, not a follower”. Most brands end up sharing similar posts within their niche. Some tips that can help you stand out include:
- Developing trust with your followers by being transparent about your company goals.
- Building relationships by participating in discussions (ie. on Reddit or Twitter).
- Following trends in your niche and sharing thoughts from a new perspective.
Developing your own identity will keep your customers engaged and interested in what your brand has to say on social.
10. Make Connections with Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most popular and successful strategies on social media today.
A recent survey shows that 19% of marketers plan to spend $1,000 - $10,000 per year on influencer marketing. While 18% are spending $100,000 - $500,000 per year.
Large brands like Colourpop have built their entire following using influencers. This strategy lets you generate traffic for your pages by leverage the following of others.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the core steps for working with influencers:
- Build a list of social accounts in your niche with large followings.
- Contact them via email (or direct message) to see if they are interested in a collaboration. This usually involves sending free products or paying a small fee in exchange for a promotion.
- Measure the success of your campaigns. See which influencers drive the most followers, engagement and potential customers.
- Rinse and repeat with top influencers.
Many businesses continue to offer similar products while competing on price, quality, and other features. Building out your social media presence can be an effective way to stand out amongst the crowd.
Remember to start with a brand audit and analyse your competitors. Collect data on customer needs and use this to create content for each social channel. Focus on regularly posting content that your audience will want to engage with. Measure your results to build better customer experiences and develop your own identity. Finally, leverage influencers’ audiences to build a social following.
By listening to your customers and applying these best practices, you’ll be able to boost sales and beat the competition. Good luck!
Author Bio: - Martin Ochwat is a digital marketing and ecommerce expert. He has managed over $100M in Facebook ad spend. Martin is currently working on D2C brand Moop and digital insurance agency Dundas Life.
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