Three tips to help you keep an eye on your competitors

We are not recommending corporate espionage, but keeping a healthy eye on the competition using the social tools available to you never hurt anyone. Here’s how...

1. Spy their presence

The first step is to establish which social media platforms your main competitors are using. Search all the mainstream social media platforms for their brand name. Take a good look at which platforms they are using most often, which ones are performing the best, where do they get the most followers and engagement from? This will help you decide where you should focus your efforts when it comes to choosing social media platforms.

2. Spy their content

Look for things like what format they post in? Is it mainly stories, images, videos or links, for example? Look for the content that gets the most attention and engagement, either by way of likes/reacts or comments and shares. Look at what isn’t working for them too, and make a note to do the opposite! This is important to help you to understand what your target audience responds to.

3. Spy their ads

We’ve saved the best tip for last…Did you know you can see all your competitors ads on Facebook? I know right! And it’s super simple. All you have to do is scroll down the left-hand side of their page until you come across a little understated section called ‘Page Transparency’. At first click, it might seem a little boring, probably something you’ve passed by before without a thought. If you take a moment to scroll down through the creation date, page name changes and admin locations, there it will be…the big button ‘Go to Ad Library’. Click on it and it will open a page of all the ads your competitor is currently running with full graphics and text! 

4. Bonus tips

You can check out their Instagram Ads just as easily. Simply tap on the three dots at the top right-hand corner of their page and it will bring up a menu. Here you click on “About the account” and then “Active Ads”.  It also allows you to view ads by format. Just tap “Feed” or “Story” and then tap on an ad to see it. Easy-peasy!

Wondering why you should invest time into checking out the competition? Wondering how seeing their social media advertising is helpful to you?

Keeping an eye on your competitor’s marketing is called competitive analysis and it is a very important part of any marketing strategy, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years. If you want to be at the top of your game you are going to have to have a good understanding of who you are playing against, what their game strategies are and what their strengths and weaknesses are. A strong and up to date marketing strategy will help you keep abreast of market changes. The key to a successful marketing strategy is to continuously keep updating it by analysing and understanding what is working for you and what isn’t, and taking lessons from other players in the same market will help contribute to your planning and activities. The mistakes and successes of your competitors can help you to ask the right questions of yourself – what could I do better? What should I avoid? What seems to be working the best for them?

Remember, so many factors in ‘success’ are fluid, and depend on things outside of the control of you and your competitors. The economy, spending habits and consumer patterns, industry regulations and changes and more, which is precisely why you should do everything in your power to keep control of what you can change – your marketing and your approach to the market being among the top of the list. 

By analysing your competitors, you can begin to understand why they are outperforming you in some areas and even where you are outperforming them. You will also get more insight into your audience by building a picture of what makes them want to engage with a business like yours. All these areas offer key information as to how your business can keep improving and how you can get results. It also allows you to make sure you are spending time and money where it counts.

So, all that said, keeping an eye on your competitors is not about stealing their secrets or copying them (and it should never be about that; create your success off of your own back, your own ideas and your own passions).

Understanding your competitors is purely about gaining insight into what may or may not benefit your business, which will help you, ultimately, to improve and fine-tune your digital strategy and find new opportunities.