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Out of Social Media Ideas? Spy on the Competition

Leslie Ramey

26 June 2017

Just when you think there’s nothing left to post about on social media, inspiration strikes – if you know where to look, that is. One of the richest sources of social media ideas can come from an unexpected place: your competition. Here’s how to turn their ideas into your own.


a word of caution

It can be tempting to simply mimic the social media accounts of your closest competitors. Let them do all that brainstorming legwork and reap the benefits yourself, right? Here’s the thing though: your competition isn’t you. You and your business are unique and while you may offer the same products or services, you put your own spin on them. If you only ever post the same things as the other guys, you lose what makes you unique, and there’s no reason for customers to switch to you.

Plus, just because the other guys are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s working for them. That’s why you need to do thorough spying. Here’s how.

how to spy on the competition

One of the easiest ways to spy on the competition is simply to check their walls. Are they latching onto trending topics? Answering FAQs? Sharing funny memes? The key here is to focus on the posts that are working for them: the ones that get the most engagement in the form of likes, comments, and the almighty share. Then, take that same topic and make it your own. Make it match your branding. Do you see any opportunity to dive deeper or offer a different perspective on a popular topic? That’s what your next post should be do.
Conversely, what isn’t your competition posting about? Is there an issue they’ve remained silent on? Questions they’ve left unanswered? Dive right in.

spy tools

It’s one thing to get ideas from the competition. It’s another to know if they’re good ideas. There are a few tools that help you find out, such as Facebook Graph Search and Twitonomy. With them, you can find out what your followers are saying about you and your competition. Are the other guys facing criticism for their poor customer service? Post about how yours is stellar. Are they getting complaints about late shipments? Ask your customers how you’re doing.

A potential gold mine here is one-way conversations. Are people engaging with a competitor’s post, only to get silence in return? Answer that very same question in your next post and you’ll pull that customer over to your page instead.

Another way to use these tools is to see what fans are saying about, well, everything else. Look for trends in other brands and topics your competition’s fans are into. REI customers tend to follow conservation and travel related topics, for example. Get active in those same conversations by responding directly to feeds you discover or linking to them in your own posts.

Get Read

Even the worst social media accounts have the occasional good idea, so capitalize on those and leave the rest where they lie.

Want to up your social media game even more? C-Thru Media can help with that. Contact us today to find out how!

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