What can you learn from your competitor’s social media strategy?
It’s a fact – everyone is scared of their competitors. Whether you voice it out or not, it happens to all of us, especially when it comes to business. You always want to do better than your competitors – better sales, better customer service, better quality products, services and better marketing. Even if you’re not scared, your competitors and other industry top leaders are a huge asset, and many brands & agencies are not taking advantage of the example some competitors set.
When you’re thinking of ways to do better, to optimize your social media strategy, to impress your clients or to finally create that one post that goes viral, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Someone is already doing better than you, so go ahead: be bold and spy a little – there are endless opportunities out there, ready to be discovered.
This is why competitive benchmarking, or monitoring your direct competitors to set up goals and guidelines for your performance and growth, is an important aspect of any business, especially when it comes to social media. You have direct access to all public social media profiles & pages. And with the right tools, you can even analyse those pages and get some extremely useful insights from them.
Monitoring and analysing your competitors’ social media can be taxing and time-consuming if you don’t know the right resources. There are many social media analysis tools out there that can help you with such research so that you don’t waste too much time and effort evaluating everything manually yourself. So, instead of going through each brand and each one of their social media channel, page by page, you should use a tool which will give you clear, summarized reports for each brand you insert.
You want to be able to optimize your social media strategy and beat the competition, and learning about your competitors’ strategy is the way to do it.
The social metrics your clients & boss want to see, but don’t know to ask for
Who are the real competitors? The ones on social media might actually differ from the ones in real life. By comparing your social media performance to that of your competitors and other similar brands might reveal some surprising companies you weren’t even considering as competitors before. Some small brands with a strong social media presence and community can easily take on bigger industry leaders when it comes to growth and engagement. Watch out!
Which social media networks do your competitors use, and how are they helping them? They might be using Twitter and Facebook and be successful at that, while ignoring LinkedIn and Google+. Finding this out will help you to see if their chosen networks have been working for them and if so, how well has their presence been established on these networks. Are they strong somewhere you’re not present? Consider adding more social media channels to your strategy, if it seems that there’s a lot of conversation and many engaged followers you’re missing out on.
Learning how your competitors position themselves is important because this is what guides the voice and tone they use. Are they formal, cheeky or fun? Do they sometimes make fun of themselves? Has one of their posts gone viral? Sometimes the best tips are right in front of our eyes. Don’t be shy and take inspiration from the ideas that have worked for your competition. Use them as a guideline for some new content, but just make sure not to copy.
Monitoring your competitors also means you know when they are posting, and which times are best in terms of engagement. You can actually find out detailed insights when and how often other brands publish posts, on which days of the week or hours of the day, and how you compare against them. Is there a day when others have a high peak on engagement? Should you try starting to compete for that attention? All these insights can inspire you into changing your own publishing routine and could increase your engagement.
Many of the insights are extremely useful, whether you’re just trying to find a way to improve your own social media strategy, to get inspiration for new content ideas, or if you’re conducting a more thorough social media analysis. A competitor overview often surprises clients when you’re pitching for new business opportunities, or just want to impress the brands you’re managing their social media for. Competitor monitoring can offer endless business development opportunities – it’s up to you to start tracking and to utilize the information in the best possible way!
What else have you learned from your competitors? Which tools have you found helpful? We’d love to hear from you!
You can try Allin1Social’s Benchmark Reports right away, by signing up!
Here’s a thought for February: Let’s look up from our laptops and screens, and try to find inspiration from our colleagues’ and industry leaders’ expertise. We don’t always need to try to do better than others. Instead, we can use their example in what we do. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.
With that in mind, here’s a selection of social media news & campaigns we found inspiring in January:
Social Media Marketing News to Read
6 Ways Longer Tweets Could Give Branded Messages More Character
The community of tweeters couldn’t believe their eyes when Twitter first announced it was probably going to test tweets exceeding the normal 140-character limit – and not just little, but up to 10.000 characters! While most people were plain angry and frustrated, online marketers worldwide started fantasizing about the endless opportunities this change would mean to their social media presence and strategy. Read the article
Hype or Not, Peach hit the Top 10 Social Networking App List fast
You’ve probably heard about the new Social Networking App Peach by now. Many say it’s just another flop and nothing will beat the current big players like WhatsApp and Messenger, but maybe this time will be different. It didn’t take long for Peach to hit Apple’s App Store’s top 10 in the most downloaded free social networking apps. Read the article
Infographic: Instagram Marketing Strategy for 2016
So many brands are on Instagram and that’s extremely positive. But such a little part of these brands actually has a strategy for their presence, let alone are they measuring their performance. With the help of this infographic putting an Instagram marketing strategy together won’t take too much effort. See the infographic
Social Media Campaigns to be Inspired by
McDonald’s Singapore turned its Instagram into a Comic Book
Talking about Instagram, there are so many ways to use it for brand marketing. McDonald’s Singapore turned their products into a comic book that keeps entertaining the brand’s Instagram followers (while making their grave for a chicken wrap). See the campaign
Social Media gave a boost to Men’s Fashion Week in Milan
Fashion brands are finding new creative ways to take advantage of social media to create buzz around their new collections during fashion week. During Men’s Fashion Week in Milan last month, we could see runway selfies, Grindr livestreams and Instagram-only lookbooks. See the campaigns
Domino’s Pizza took over SnapChat with “From Dough to Door” – Iris Worldwide Agency
It’s going to be exciting to follow the ways brands take their first steps on SnapChat this year. Domino’s Pizza in the UK didn’t disappoint with their clever “From Dough to Door” video of a pizza delivery guy and all the obstacles he could entail on his way. See the campaign
What were your favorite campaigns from January?
You can read about the best of social media marketing in December 2015 here.
Here at Allin1Social, we handle our own social media as a team. At any given time, you’ll find us chatting with clients, sharing advice, scheduling posts, answering questions and browsing online to see what’s new to share with our community. We love working together, and find that collaboratively we complement each other in making our social media better, thanks to Allin1Social and all the other awesome tools out there.
That is not to say that a solo social media manager cannot handle things – on the contrary, we know many people doing a fantastic job all by themselves! But working as a team is quite different, even when it comes to understanding each other. That’s why we’d like share some “secret” routines we do and some best practices and tips we know that make us an effective social media team.
Strategy & Structure – the key!
Yes, even as a social media team, it is very important to figure out the structure of the team and what the overall social media strategy is.
Altimeter ran a survey, and it found out that 11 is the average number of people in a full-time social media team at large companies (more than 1,000 employees), and they work together in a structure that is loosely based like this:
Of course, this structure varies with industry and company or agency size. On smaller teams, your structure may be very different, but regardless of team size, it always helps to have a clear structure.
Then comes the next step: how do you keep everyone on the team in sync with each other? Simple – by having a social media strategy that everyone can refer to. This document (we recommend using a software like Google Drive or Trello, so that you can all collaborate and update the document) can contain anything and everything about your social media strategy: from objectives and goals, to content & post schedule, channels, reports and analytics as well as day-to-day processes and important notes from recent meetings.
We really like Advanced Human Technologies Group’s way of building an effective social media strategy:
The fantastic five: Who, what, when, where & how
A clear structure and social media strategy help everyone in the team to understand who is managing which aspect of social media, bringing us to the other points of what, when, where and how.
When defining the roles, it helps to know which team member(s) is better at which social network(s), what types of content are going to be posted, where should each type of content be posted and how often posts will be scheduled.
Are you writing all your content, are do you consider getting external help for that? When is the best time of day to post? Who is better at contacting influencers and who loves to write their heart out?
You also want to ensure that you split management responsibilities so that no one is stepping on someone else’s toes. For example, you can have set rotational shift times for managing the social media networks, or have different people manage different networks so that all social presence responsibilities are met. Who’s the content creator? Do you need a customer support person on top of a community manager? Who takes care of analytics & strategy improvement?
Figuring this out will help the team to understand how everyone can best support each other to ensure that your community has a consistent view of what your brand is all about.
Do remember though, that all these aspects can change with time as your team and the social networks you use evolve.
Keeping up a consistent voice and tone
When you have a team managing social media, another important step to take is standardising voice and tone so that everyone understands what the brands’s voice sounds like. What is the personality of the company? How do you want to come across on social media?
This then guides the tone of the voice. A voice can have multiple tones, as long as all the tones support and refine the voice. It’s good to have the basics written down in your social media guidelines & strategy, so that it’s easy to go back and check whenever you feel lost while writing something for the brand. We’ve been quite inspired by Weber Shandwick’s advice on voice and tone:
Knowing the latest news
Being in social media also means being aware of what’s the news of the day, because the industry is constantly changing and anything can become popular or hated in a matter of seconds (except for cat videos, they never go out of style!).
We recommend constant monitoring of local and international industry websites, and even your competitors’ blogs and newsletters. Another best practice is to follow some famous social media blogs to find out the latest trends and best tips, tricks and practices that you can use in our everyday work.
Collaborating better with the right tools
As a social media team, you want to ensure you choose the right tools that enable easy responding, scheduling, analysing and communicating so that you collaborate better. To aid easy team collaboration, you should look out for a tool with characteristics such as:
– A simple dashboard that gives us an instant overview of all your social media channels
– An easy-to-use scheduling platform that allows you to post any minute you want (Did someone say 11:11? An unconventional publishing time is often better for organic reach…)
– An efficient, clear team workflow that allows you to assign tasks, different access levels, share notes and control what’s being published
– Awesome reports that can immediately be presented to the team and clients
Do take time to review and assess what’s the best solution for your team, because finding a tool for efficient social media management & team collaboration is extremely important and can end up saving tons of time for everyone in your team. For us the choice was obvious (Allin1Social, anyone?), but make sure you find the best fit for your team’s and brand’s needs. Sometimes it might mean using more than one tool, and that’s perfectly fine too.
Joining the conversation!
Work hard, play harder! That’s what many of us believe in, and we find that this applies to us as a social media team too. We take a break when we need to have a breather, and often like to have a chat or join conversations with other colleagues from other teams (sales, finance, HR, etc) or online. Commenting on blogs, articles and industry forums can bring fresh ideas, help establish new connections and even friendships. After all, who knows what inspiration you can get from fun or educational everyday chat and laughter with your colleagues?
Ps. You might be interested in reading also about the Secret Routines of a Successful Social Media Manager.