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How to use competitive intelligence to improve your own strategy

We recently covered 3 ways to use competitive intel from social media and wanted to build on that for a deeper understanding of how regular looks at competitive intel can inform and improve your social strategy.

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Improve your strategy from how you measure up to your competition

As we discussed in our previous post, it’s more important to concentrate on trends over time in engagement and growth rates than to get caught up on raw numbers that can fluctuate week-to-week, often for reasons out of your control. (For example, summer can be a slow season for many industries and a boon for others, like travel.) So once you have your metrics to compare to others in your industry, what do you do with them?

Maybe you see that your engagement has been dropping lately while a competitor’s improves, or maybe it has been growing slowly and steadily but you’d like to concentrate on seeing it grow even more. You can work to improve your engagement in several ways. Start by thinking about your audience: Who are they? When is the last time you checked in on what you know about them? You want to be sure you’re talking to them in the right ways. It might be time to tweak the language you’re using or perhaps update the visual elements of your content strategy.

You might also want to check in with your audience’s knowledge of your brand values. Consumers increasingly want to align themselves with brands who have values similar to their own. This doesn’t mean making a big, controversial statement, but making sure that your audience is aware of the core values your company has established and perhaps kept internal.

For example, if you strive to make room for your employees to engage with their own families, make sure that’s reflected in how you talk to and engage with your audience as well. Empower your employees to tell their own stories. Some of the most important parts of a content strategy don’t have to be sales-first.

Most importantly, have a measurement system in place to see what type of content is earning the most engagement from your target audience and your fans and followers. Choose a plan that works for your brand with your resources and that’s able to scale in the future so you don’t have to worry about losing data if you move to a new provider.

Don’t just learn from your competitors, implement what you learn

After you’ve taken a look at your competitors’ accounts and seen what they’re doing that’s resonating with your shared target audience, decide how you can immediately start implementing those elements in your strategy, and be sure you have a way to continue to monitor and learn from them going forward. The point is never to outright copy the competition, but to use their strategies to inspire some innovations in your own. If they’re using a lot of video and seeing good response to it, that means video is a medium your target audience responds to. But maybe they’re sharing pre-recorded videos and you spent some time discovering that your target audience also loves live broadcasts. This would be a great time to find the appropriate team members to set up some live video experiments to see how your audience responds.

Live video is perfect to experiment with since audiences don’t expect as much perfection as they do with pre-recorded, polished campaign videos. You’re a little freer to show off your brand’s personality and sense of humor. And if you need ongoing competitive tracking, we can help with that. We recently released competitive reporting on Facebook and our other Trackers allow you to track any public accounts, making it easy to keep a steady eye on what the rest of your industry is up to so you can keep your content strategy up-to-date.

Improve from what you know about your share of voice

As we discussed in our last post, share of voice is a great way to contextualize your other marketing KPIs. You can scale your other goals according to where you stand in terms of the rest of your industry. Once you have your benchmarks, work on increasing your share of voice through several different ways:

  • Use the popular hashtags and keywords you already identified in your SoV research to their full potential in the posts you’re making across platforms, tweaking appropriately for each place
  • Pay attention to who else is regularly using these hashtags; be sure you’re following them and engaging in conversations when appropriate
  • Pay attention to your ratio of earned, owned and paid share of voice on each channel. Figure out what lessons learned from one can be applied to others, and repeat.

If you’re a customer, remember that you can use our topic Trackers to be sure you’re capturing every mention of your brand, your competitors’ brands and relevant industry keywords to not only do this initial research, but keep it going into the future. And if you’re not? Well, we can definitely help with that! Hit the button below or email us.

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