Beat Your Competition with These 5 Social Media Insights

" Binoculars 4 " by  Chase Elliott Clark  is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

Anyone who manages social media day in and day out knows it can be a grind. There’s a lot of repetition, and a lot of waiting-to-see what works. Sometimes you want—or need—to mix things up.

There are a lot of places to draw inspiration from, but perhaps one of the most-effective (and least-expected) is your competition. Here are some of the ways you can skim through their social pages and bring back quality, original tactics for your own networks.

1. Find out what they’re not doing

Forget for the moment about what your competitors are doing. Where are they coming up short? Look for things like negative sentiment or constructive feedback; unanswered questions from users; and requests from the community. 

In short, listen to their fans and find out what they want. If you can fill some of those wants on your pages, you may have just discovered a new source of growth.

2. Find out where they’re not

Is your competition killing you on Facebook but nowhere to be found on Snapchat? Move the venue and own that space instead. Sometimes it can be that simple.

3. Take note of what’s working and what’s not

What posts get the most engagement? Which ones fail? What gets positive/negative feedback? What types of posts—photos, links, plain text—do people seem to prefer? You shouldn’t just copy your competition, but here’s a secret: Sometimes they haven’t noticed these things. It’s not stealing if you beat them to their own insights.

4. Track their schedule

Not every industry is global or has an around-the-clock audience. But if your competitors are clocking out at five and tuning out till the next day, for example, you could have a big chunk of time ripe for the taking.

5. Ask: If you were a fan of your competitor, what would you want?

Pretend you’re one of your competitors’ fans: What do you wish they would do with their social networks? Write that down, and use it to inspire some of the activity on your pages. A lot of times we get tripped up in data and analytics and forget that at the end of the day, social content has to be stuff that people actually like. Trust your intuition.

Questions? Have your own tips? Tweet us: @curatorpr