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Social Competitive Intelligence: One-Up the Competition

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Glenn Gow

As B2B companies reach new levels of maturity in their social media strategies, the savvy ones recognize the golden opportunity available to them by studying what their key competitors are doing through social competitive intelligence. Many companies maintain focus on their own social efforts and completely ignore those of their competitors. But there is a unique opportunity afforded to those of you who track competitor activity.

You start by utilizing the multitude of listening and measurement tools available to you to monitor conversations, follow growth and engagement, and watch what your closest competitors are doing. By comparing what they are doing to best practices (and to what you are doing), you can create an unfair advantage.

Learn from What’s Working

The first advantage you create is by paying attention to the competitive landscape and studying your competitors’ tactics. This allows you to discover what’s working for them, and learn from that. You can capitalize not only on what’s working for you, but also on what’s working for them. In other words, you leverage your competitors’ efforts. For example, you should pay attention to what kind of photos and videos they post, the cadence of their posting, the time of day of their posting, and what content themes they choose to post. Then, study their resulting engagement with the public.

In other words, you can take your competitors’ experimentation efforts on their social channels and leverage what you learn from that to improve your own interactive marketing solutions. Not only can you learn as much as the competitor does, but you don’t have to experiment. You just do what works best.

Learn from What’s Not Working

On the flip side, you can also learn from what isn’t working. There will be times when your competitors think they’re doing something absolutely fantastic, but their audience won’t see it that way. This is what I call a lack of proper communication – the competitor and their audience speak two different languages. There was a disconnect in the competitor’s approach. Buyers were not hearing the competitor’s message because they had other concerns.

So how do you avoid a similar situation? Imagine you are studying a competitor’s interactive marketing efforts on social channels, and it turns out they are getting great engagement numbers. What you find curious about it, however, is that the engagement results from entertaining, yet irrelevant content. Closer examination reveals that your competitor is so focused on increasing engagement that they don’t seem to care whether or not they are engaging with the right audience.

Since you are focused on the same buyers, this is an opportunity for you to talk to the buyers about issues that are important to them, as opposed to focusing on just increasing your engagement levels. That competitor’s mistake enables you to communicate more effectively with the same target buyers – at a time when that competitor is talking to the wrong people. Capitalizing on that can give you a larger share of voice.

Create Social Media KPIs

Once you start focusing on your competition and the competitive landscape, your key performance indicators should not only compare your current performance to a prior timeframe, but should also compare it to your competitor’s.

In fact, you should use social media KPIs to measure the difference between you and your competitors, such as share of voice, share of engagement and even share of discussion. These are metrics you can create with a robust social competitive intelligence program.

With these new KPIs you will have information that will inform your social strategy, and will enable you to create an unfair advantage and beat your competition.

Originally published on Social Media B2B.

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

Glenn Gow

Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.

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