Knowing your competitors is crucial to your business. And neglecting to take some time to examine the strategies they’re using on Facebook, the largest social network out there, is a huge mistake that a lot of businesses are making.
Don’t let the scope and sheer amount of information out there keep you from doing competitive analysis. While just jumping in on a whim can definitely lead to you feeling like you’re in over your head, using the plan we outline below will help you focus and get the job done.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Step 1 – Identify your online competitors
You can’t analyze your competitors if you don’t know who they are. Do a quick Google search for your business type and your local area and see who pops up in the results.
Though it may seem elementary, don’t skip this step! You may think you know all your competitors already, but this is a good exercise to either confirm that you actually do know them all or to find the others that might be slipping beneath your radar.
While you’re on results page be sure to also take a look at the search ads, anyone paying to show up for these keywords is definitely someone you can consider a competitor.
Step 2 – Examine the organic content on their pages
Now that we have a pretty good sense of who your competitors are, it’s time to check in on what they’re doing.
Search for each of them on Facebook and visit their brand pages. Primarily, you’ll want to focus your attention on what they’re sharing, how they’re talking to customers, and the topics performing well—and not so well—for them.
Use this time to also identify any hashtags they might be using and the times of day/week when they post. If you notice a trend, you could find times when they’re inactive and adapt your own strategy to provide content during those empty hours.
Step 3 – Take a peek at their paid advertising
Under normal circumstances, outside of having the ads served to you in your feed, there’s really been no surefire way to take a peek at what Facebook ads your competitors are running.
But recently, Facebook released a new feature which enables anyone to see the ads being run by any Page, at any given time, which, while not specifically designed for our purposes, will be hugely beneficial from a competitor analysis perspective.
Here’s how to get the scoop:
- First, navigate to the Facebook Page of the business you want to investigate.
- Next, in the left-hand side menu, you’ll see a new section titled ‘Info and Ads.
- Click on this, and you’ll be able to view all the ads that brand is currently running.
As you scroll through, you’ll be able the see the different ad types and creatives they’re using to promote themselves on Facebook.
Step 4 – Discover opportunities
Now that you’ve gathered all this information on your competitors, what exactly should you do with it? How do you use your detective work to inform your marketing strategy?
What you definitely don’t want to do is to copy their strategies outright. We didn’t do all of this work just to steal ideas from the other guy! Instead, examine what your competitors are doing, and look for ways that you can improve. Understand what your competitors are doing well, and what they are doing wrong so you can learn from their mistakes.
Here are some things to consider:
- What types of things are they posting? Are their posts getting any engagement? It can be helpful to see if there are any gaps in the types of content on their page. Or, on the other hand, you can see if one particular type of post really resonates with their audience and generates a bunch of likes, comments, and shares.
- What is my competitor’s messaging? Is there anything I can rebut in my posts? Try to find something in your competitor’s content that you can pick apart and use to differentiate yourself.
- Are they responding to comments? Social networks are supposed to be social, and if you can position yourself as the company that does a better job at interacting with and getting back to messages and comments on Facebook, that’s a huge step up you have over any competitors.
- We saw their search and Facebook ads. What are they promoting? What kind of offers are they putting out there? If they aren’t offering anything, then that’s an easy win for you and your business. Any offer is better than no offer.
Let’s face it, as a small business, you can’t escape competition. But getting to know your competitors gives you a better perspective on where you stand amongst your peers. Discovering their strengths and weaknesses helps you to discover your own, and gives you data-backed insights on the strategies you should be focusing on.
Putting together a strong presence on Facebook can be a tall task if you don’t have any help. See how easy Hibu makes it for you to you grow your business with social media marketing.