Check out the competition

21 Feb 2014

CompetitorsSelling is, in the end, all about staying ahead of the competition. Having a better product, finding the potential customer sooner, helping them faster at customer service.

Last Monday I wrote about the 7 steps to create a great social media strategy:

  1. Goals
  2. Audience
  3. Topics
  4. Choose the channels
  5. Create an editorial calendar
  6. Engage
  7. Measure

 

These are the most important steps everyone making a social media plan should have.

But there is one step you could add if you want to know what your competitors are up to and stay ahead:

Check out the competition

After step 4, before step 5, you could do an extra (side)step to see what your competitors are doing online.

Not to just copy their behavior, no of course not. Actually, better to not do that.

But by checking out what your competitors are doing you can see if there are gaps you might be able to fill.

Checking out the competition is step 4b as far as I am concerned. Others might tell you it’s better to check out the competition before choosing your channels, but I feel it’s better to first think for yourself, before comparing your online presence with the others.

This way you can always add a channel if you see a possibility you hadn’t thought of before, but you won’t be copying their behavior without any thought.

How to check out the competitors

So how to do you go about checking out the competition? The steps are quite easy but can take up a bit of time:

  1. Write down names
    Think of the competitors you have local, what are they called? Write their names down.
    What are the big players in your field? Write them down as well.
    Google your main topics. Who’s names are popping up? Write them down as well.
  2. Find their websites
    Now start at their websites. What do you see? Do they have social media icons? Share buttons? To which channels? Write it down.
  3. Check the social media
    Go to the social media channels you could find. How do they look? What did they post? What kind of content did you see?
    If you haven’t found social media icons on a website, try searching for them on the big channels. Are they there?
  4. Compare
    Compare your current channels with the ones they use. Are they completely the same? Should it be, or can you think of a gap your competitors are leaving? Reflect.
  5. Adapt
    After you thought about the differences and resemblances between their social media usage and your strategy, you can adapt if necessary.
    Don’t go on a channel just because they are, but if you feel like you missed something that they got, rectify the situation.
    If you saw a great gap someone needs to go fill, add the channel to your list.
  6. Finish
    Now you are done and go on to step 5 of the social media strategy.

 

Have you ever checked out the competition? Are you wondering if you should be on a certain channel because your competitor is? Let me know in the comments below and I will express my opinion.

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