Using Social Media To Keep Track Of Your Competitors

Hernan Marino

Many companies use social media incorrectly.

They see it only as a megaphone to broadcast their products and services to anyone who might be listening. These companies are missing a major opportunity to keep track of their competitors, something that was much harder to do prior to the days of social media.

If your company’s social platform includes Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social tools, take time to incorporate competitive listening devices to find out what is happening in the marketplace and among your competitors. Here’s how you can set it up—for free—and keep track of your competition with the click of few buttons.

First, make a list of your top competitors. A simple Google search will allow you to see how their business is going. Where are they on social media? What type of content are they posting, and what type of engagement are they getting with this content? Once you get a clear picture of where they are, set up a Google alert with their company name to easily stay informed of any new developments.

You might find their posts aren’t attracting any likes, comments, or shares at all. On the other hand, if you’re lucky you’ll find they are generating a lot of activity on a platform that you haven’t tapped into yet. Such competitors can be like striking gold if you pay close attention. Of course, this doesn’t give you license to copy your competition, but rather serves as a place to get innovative with new ideas to reach your audience. Figure out which tactics are working for your competitors and incorporate these into your social routine.

Another way to get a deeper look into your competition’s social impact is through hashtag research. By using free tools like Hashtracking or Keyhole, you can look at what hashtags your industry is using, who has influential brand advocates engaging with them, and how many impressions they are generating.

This information allows you to learn more about your target audience and what they are looking for. In turn, you will be able to fine-tune your messaging and expand your reach. To get the most out of your research and streamline this practice for the future, create lists of hashtags and brand advocates within your industry you want to track, engage with, and potentially partner with.

Following competitors is an important way to stay sharp and see what others are doing. When you perform an Internet search on your competitors, note where they are listed in the results. Where is your company in the results? Are there different types of content (such as video or podcasts) that your competition is utilizing to boost search engine results? Could you create a pilot program to test this type of content as a growth strategy for your company? It is also vital that you are consistently researching your own company to see what the results yield. Are you satisfied with your results?

In comparing companies, how is your social media holding up? How many followers do your competitors have compared to you? Are they getting more or fewer likes, comments, and shares than you? One simple strategy to boost engagement within your company while encouraging follower support is to share employees’ good work and company milestones in tweets, retweets, and postings. Another strategy is to keep an eye on brand advocates within your industry (that you have placed into lists) and to share their good news and information with your audience.

Social media is the number one way to keep track of your competitors while growing your digital presence. If your goal is to surpass your competition on social media, consistency is essential. Tools like Google, Keyhole, Tweet Jukebox, Buffer, Post Planner, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite can help you stay on track while managing the competition. When you make competitive analysis a part of your company’s social strategy, you are setting yourself up for success. Are you dedicated to managing your social media consistently?

For more insight on social media, see 4 Biggest Risks In Not Using Social Media.


Hernan Marino

About Hernan Marino

Hernan Marino is Chief Operations Officer of marketing and Global Head of SME/Partner Marketing at SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. Hernan leads SAP Marketing’s digital transformation, marketing automation strategy and SAP’s growth plans in the SME marketplace.