Social media strategy includes researching the competition. Frequently we ask clients, “who is your competition?” Sometimes they say, “No one offers what we do.” That may or may not be the case.

You need to put on your “open-minded consumer” hat and take a dive into what organizations in your space are doing to market themselves.

Back in the “old days,” we might hire “secret shoppers” to get a feel for the customer experience. However, in today’s access to the digital footprint of virtually every business makes this unnecessary. It’s fairly simple to check out various social organic strategies that are working for other companies and really begin to understand your target market in an authentic way.

What is your competitor’s focus?

You may need to do some detective work to figure out what your competitors are focusing on when it comes to social media. The great thing about an Instagram account is that, by viewing a profile, you can see an overall layout of every post in a grid format. This makes it easy to see various trends, posts and even colors and images your competitors are putting to use. TikTok offers a similar layout, but Twitter and Facebook take a little more scrolling time.

What are they saying?

Use this easy Instagram grid layout or other social media outlets to understand more deeply what messaging is used in your shared target market. Check out their posts, comments, hashtags, followers and also what accounts they are following.

Who is their target audience? No, really.

It would seem that your competitor is labeled as such because you are going after the same target audience. However, there can be variations. What if you own a company that assists seniors in their own homes and target those elder residents directly? A competitor offers the same services, but is targeting their message to those seniors who are being discharged from rehabilitation settings. At that point your messaging and platforms begin to distinguish themselves; while there is crossover with similar audiences (seniors and their adult children), there is also messaging for a discharge planner. The nuances are crucial in your social post messaging and where they are posted.

Find the loopholes

Taking the example above, if you notice that your competitor is really gearing their message to helping those who are already at home and are looking for senior companion services, you may want to realign your social strategy to catch another piece of the target market who is left out by your competitor. Make their oversights your gains by really being in touch with the market as well as what others in your industry are putting out there on social media.

Furthermore, if you notice that an entire outlet, such as Facebook or Instagram, is being ignored by your competitor, use that to you advantage, especially if your target market has a presence on that platform. Make your message align with users on that platform and drive traffic to your website so consumers can get a look at what you have to offer. This requires some nuance and just the right amount of social media genius, something we are always trying to develop here at P&A.

There is a lot more to overseeing a successful social media marketing strategy than most people think. It takes understanding your target market while having a grasp on what your competition is currently putting forth. Don’t be intimidated, though, the professionals at P&A have your back to help set a strategy or take the whole thing off your plate!

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