Want to raise the bar on your social media?
Are you monitoring your competitors?
Knowing what works for the competition helps improve your own social media marketing.
In this article you'll discover six ways to reveal insights about your competitors' social media marketing.
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#1: Analyze Your Competitor's Content Share Rates
Ahrefs is a handy tool for SEO, but it has some excellent social metrics as well. If you want to look at more than just social sharing numbers, it has some stats that will give you a peek at how your competitors' content is performing socially.
Open Ahrefs Content Explorer. Then type in your competitor‘s domain, and click Search. You'll see a spread of your competitor‘s content, along with a snapshot of share stats in table form.
To drill down into the shares for specific pieces of content, click the down arrow located in the far-right cell. You can instantly see how the article is distributed on social media.
This chart provides you with information about the sharing velocity of the content and the most popular platforms.
You can access this information for every article ever published. This helps you understand how, why and when your competitor's content is getting distributed.
Note: Ahrefs requires a trial sign-up or paid membership.
#2: Find Out Who Shares Your Competitor's Content on Twitter
It's crucial to know who loves your competition. If an audience loves your competitors, there's a good chance that they'll love you, too.
Go to https://twitter.com/search-home and type in a competitor‘s Twitter handle and when you see the results, click Live to see Twitter users who are promoting your competitor‘s content.
These people, for whatever reason, may follow your competitor on Twitter. They at least liked your competitor's content so much that they shared it.
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What should you do about it? You may want to reach out and follow these users yourself, share their content or favorite their tweets. Doing this will get you on their radar.
#3: Identify Top Influencers Who Share Your Competitor's Content
Every industry has those people who are actively sharing great content. Chances are, your competitors are benefitting from the social sharing of these individuals. How would you like to have these people sharing on your behalf?
You can use BuzzSumo here, but if you don't have a paid account, you can carry this technique only so far. BuzzSumo imposes a daily limit on non-users, so you may have to wait a day to try this one out. (Or just buy an account; it's worth it.)
Go ahead and enter a competitor‘s website so you can identify their top-shared content again. Now, click View Sharers. The list you'll see shows you who is sharing this content and why it's so popular.
The information is roughly organized according to the top-ranked influencers. The people who are at the top are big on social media. They usually have lots of followers. If they have a website, you can also see that web address.
One of the best features of this tool is the ability to filter results. Say you want to find only the social sharers who have a blog. No problem. Filter the results to show only bloggers.
Now you can target the people who might be open to sharing your content on their blog, or who could be open to guest-posting opportunities.
What should you do with this information on social influencers?
- Connect with them on their preferred social media network.
- Get to know them.
- Reach out to them and request retweets.
- Inquire about guest posting on their blog.
#4: Discover Your Competitor's Most Popular Content
What are the most popular articles your competitors are producing? What content has the most shares?
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Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find out. You don't need to sign up for an account to use the limited version.
Enter the domain URL of the site your competitor uses to post content. If they use a blog subdomain, for example, be sure to check that domain as well.
You can learn a ton of information from this quick overview when you analyze the results.
For example, you can find answers to the following questions:
- What is their top shared content?
- Why is it so popular?
- Is there a general theme or topic that characterizes the top-shared content?
- What social media sites generate the most social shares?
- What social media sites generate the fewest social shares?
What should you do with this information? Take things a step further and use what you learn to adjust your marketing. Here are a few options:
- Share the content yourself. Why not? It's popular. Doing so might give you a few extra followers, friends and likes on your own social media profile.
- Produce similar content. The content is popular for a reason. Part of that reason may have to do with the style and subject matter. Write something similar, share it in your social outlets and see what happens.
- Engage on the platforms where your competitors are gaining the most shares. If they have a huge Pinterest share ratio, for example, and you've been absent from Pinterest, you may want to get active on that channel. Clearly, they're gaining some traction by using it. Why not you, too?
#5: Uncover Your Competitor's Associations on Twitter
You can easily discover your competitor's connections by using Twitter's search functionality. This is important information for scoping out business owners, possible competitors and up-and-comers in the social scene.
Again, go to https://twitter.com/search-home and type in a competitor‘s Twitter handle. When the search results populate, you'll see the accounts that are associated with that name.
Click View All to see all of the Twitter accounts that could be related to your competitor.
Each of these accounts is somehow related to the business or brand whose account you're researching. Keep these accounts on your radar.
#6: Check Out Your Competitor's Tweet Frequency
It's easy to find out how often your competitors are tweeting, but getting that information in chart form is much easier than scrolling through their Twitter profile timelines. Often, Twitter velocity is a good indication of a business's social agility and popularity.
You can use a free account on Topsy. Click Tweets, and then enter your competitor‘s Twitter handle.
You'll see how often they tweet, plus who‘s mentioning them in tweets.
Topsy also allows you to compare several Twitter accounts so you can see how your Twitter reply count stacks up against your competitor's. Use the Social Analytics tab in Topsy to get this information.
The chart below compares @copyblogger, @cmicontent and @buffer to see how the number of mentions compares.
Getting this level of comparison is helpful for telling you how ahead or behind you are in terms of Twitter popularity, and what you need to do to gain more traction.
Analyzing your competitors' social media efforts is ethical and powerful. It's nothing more than doing careful research. There are dozens of ways to do this, beyond what's outlined in this post.
Although you certainly shouldn't obsess over your competition, you should nonetheless be aware. The more you know about your industry, including your competition, the better you can expect to conduct your social media marketing.
What do you think? What tools do you use to research your competitors on social media? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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