Over the past decade, social media has transformed the way businesses promote themselves by opening up new, direct lines of communication with current and potential customers. Unlike traditional advertising, social media is interactive and immediate, and the content is often more diverse and in-depth than what you’d find in an ad.
With all that in mind, keeping track of what your competitors are posting can provide valuable insights. If you’re starting a social media monitoring process, here are four types of posts you’ll definitely want to capture:
- Industry relationships: It’s always useful to know who’s rubbing elbows with your biggest competitors, and many businesses use their social media accounts to actively promote their relationships with other businesses. Keep an eye on who your competition is retweeting, reposting, and tagging on social media, particularly on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for a glimpse at what companies they’re talking to and, potentially, partnering with.
- Events & webinars: Conferences and expos great opportunities to find out what other businesses are offering, and knowing which events your competition will be attending can give you an edge in terms of deciding which events are worth your time and money. Many businesses use social media to advertise the events they plan to attend, as well as the events and webinars they plan to host in the near future.
- Customer complaints: It’s easy to find out what your competitors’ view as their strengths—just check out their advertising campaigns. But very few companies are upfront about their products’ weaknesses. To find out what’s not working for them, look for customer complaints and questions directed at the competition’s social media accounts. Many customers turn to Twitter for an immediate response when they have a customer service issue, and those public posts are a great source of insight into the problems the company is dealing with, as well as how they’re handling the complaints.
- Sponsored or employee-generated content: Native advertising, or ads that blend in with the publication’s non-sponsored content, have blown up over the past decade. Companies are jumping at the chance to engage potential customers through sponsored or employee-authored articles, and the content they produce is often full of useful tidbits. Watch your competition’s social media accounts for posts promoting articles or guest blogs written by employees of the company. Chances are, even if it doesn’t look like an advertisement, it still promotes the business’s products and perspectives.