How to Create a Social Media Strategy By Spying Your Competitors

social media how to Are you struggling to create a social media strategy for your business?

Lacking insight into the social behaviors of your customers?

No data, no problem!

Chances are your competitors have done all the hard work and all you need to do is look for it.

In this post, I’ll show you how to research the competition’s social game plan so you can build a solid social media strategy of your own.

Finding the Fundamentals

When it comes to social media marketing, you need to answer a few fundamental questions:

  • Should your business be on social media?
  • What networks should you choose?
  • How do you create a great profile?
  • What type of content should you post, and when should you post it?

Everyone must answer these questions, including business owners who want to create a strategy for their own business, marketing managers who need to convince their CEO to invest in social media and consultants who create strategies for clients in a wide variety of industries.

Fortunately, you can find answers through the process of competitor research.

Keep reading to discover how to get insight on your competitors.

#1: Comparing Audience Size

While you shouldn’t obsess about how many fans or followers your competitors have, noting these numbers at the beginning of your campaign can help you answer the following important questions.

how many fans do your competitors have

Noting the number of fans your competitors have can help you answer a few important questions relevant to your own business. Image source: iStockPhoto

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6 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2013: New Research

social media researchAre you looking for the latest marketing trends?

Wondering how the wide choice of devices and platforms are impacting marketers and consumers?

According to the 2013 Infinite Dial Report by Edison Research, media usage is not a zero-sum game.

Consumers want to use all channels simultaneously, and as a marketer, you have to keep up by tracking them down wherever they go.

To do that, you’ll need to understand these 6 emerging trends that will have a significant impact on your marketing strategies.

#1: Media Fragmentation

Consumers are everywhere, all at the same time. According to the Edison report, there are 256 million U.S. users on TV, 243 million on radio, 232 million on the Internet, 182 million connected at home via broadband, 177 million connected at home via wi-fi, and 139 million smartphone users.

multitasking new normal

Media multitasking is the new normal.

In this age of multimedia consumption, consumers are using more devices across a common set of platforms to do more things than ever. That means marketers have to play catch-up and shift away from strategies of the past. Today, the “e” in ecommerce means “everywhere.”

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26 Ways to Create Engaging Content

social media how toAre you looking to create content that engages?

Does your content connect with people and encourage them to engage?

In this article I’ll show you 26 ways to make content that engages people, in an A-Z guide of tips.

#1: Authors Matter

Written content doesn’t exist without authors, whether constructing 140-character posts or 1000-word articles.  Not only do you want people who can write well (e.g., clear points, proper spelling and grammar, active voice), you need writers and team members who can think strategically about the content that will resonate most with your audience.

content creation

Creating good content is important for social media engagement.

We’ll talk about more specifics as we go down the list. For now, think strategy.

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How to Attract More Customers With Content Marketing

social media how toAre you looking to attract prospects, convert them to customers and keep them coming back?

Then social media and content marketing are a match made in heaven.

The key to success is to make the connection between content marketing and social media.

Let’s look at the content needed to get your marketing to that lucrative intersection.

#1: Attract Prospective Customers

The first question on a prospect’s mind when considering a purchase is, “What solutions are available?”

Your goal is to create awareness and make sure that your solution meets the buyers’ need when they’re ready to make a decision.

According to data from Google and Shopper Science’s Zero Moment of Truth report, consumers in 2011 consulted an average of 10 sources before making a buying decision. That’s up 100% from five sources in 2010.

zmot sources used

The number of sources a buyer consults before making a decision doubled year over year.

Successful businesses are communicating with prospects on social networking sites and directing them to the material the prospects need to make an informed decision. How are they doing this?

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How Content Can Help You Build a Loyal Following

Are you trying to build an engaged loyal following that loves you and your business?

Have you tried to use video, podcasting or social media to build engagement?

I explore these questions with Pat Flynn for our new Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This New Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a brand-new show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income.

Pat shares insights into his tactics and strategies and how social media content contributes to the success of his business.

You’ll learn how to create content to publish on different social media platforms to connect to a large audience. And you’ll discover the techniques to use to build a loyal fan base.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

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5 Tips for Making Your Brand More Social

social media how toWhat message does your brand convey to socially engaged customers?

As we enter the golden age of social media, companies can no longer afford the luxury of tightly scripted, top-down messaging (e.g., “We’re the best! Take our word for it.”).

Nor can a company simply opt out and remain silent (as epitomized in Northwestern Mutual’s “The Quiet Company” ad campaign of years past).

As social media channels have increased, so has the need to communicate effortlessly and simultaneously. Just as presidential candidates now face the constant scrutiny of a 24-hour news cycle, companies are being called on to respond in real time across multiple media platforms. This is not a time for hesitation.

To market effectively, companies need a consistent, compelling brand voice—one that doesn’t pause, mumble or clam up. Here are five ways to share your message comfortably and confidently.

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11 Ways to Find New Content for Your Social Strategy

social media how toIs your business running out of content ideas?

Content is the fuel for your social media rocket ship and the foundation of any solid presence in the social sphere. Your content cannot be everything to everyone; however, you can be relevant and provide value to your target market.

Generating compelling content that people want to consume can increase your website traffic and help you attract and retain a dedicated following. In order to produce quality content, you’re going to need a good source of raw material to continually draw upon.

Here are 11 proven tactics to help you never run out of content:

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Content Tools: This Week in Social Media

social media researchWelcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up-to-date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention.

What’s New This Week?

Storify Is Now in Public Beta: This is a curation tool that gathers content from various social media platforms to create your own story. You can then create a widget of this story to embed it in your website. And now anyone can create an account to “Storify” an event or social media conversation.

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5 Easy Steps to a Winning Social Media Plan

social media how toSo you’ve set up your social media empire using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and you’re blogging too.

But how do you make it all work together? You want to reach potential clients and establish your authority online, but what’s your plan?

This article delivers five foolproof steps to get you on your way to finding, formulating and distributing content that will get you noticed. Content could include your own blog posts or links to others people’s work posted on your social networks.

#1: Find Your Target Audience.

The first step in social media planning is largely the first step in identifying your brand—determine who you are and who your customers are.

What unique aspect of your product or service attracts your target population?

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