The saying "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" was made famous by the movie The Godfather and has become part of the American business vocabulary. Competitive analysis is an obsession in the business world and the dawn of the Internet age has brought us a whole bunch of new tools we can use to spy on the competition. Social media is becoming a great way to check out the competition because that is a platform most companies use to be as boisterous and impressive as possible. There are plenty of good reasons why you should be following the competition on social media.
As you compare your competitions' social media platforms, you will notice that some platforms are more active than others. One point of comparison can be the manner in which each company addresses its audience. Social media is a personal platform and you will find that most consumers don't want to be sold on social media. You should monitor the way in which the competition addresses its social media users and do what you can to emulate the more successful conversational tones.
Some companies use social media as a way to entice consumers to check out websites, while other companies go directly for the sell on social media. The easiest way to determine which method works in your industry is to watch how the competition does it and then try the most effective methods yourself.
Since social media is a more personal platform, many companies like to try and enhance the emotional bonds they have with their customers by putting personal information on their social media pages. This is a risky tactic and can sometimes backfire. By monitoring the competition, you can see how your target audience reacts to personal information on social media and adjust your social media approach appropriately.
Social media is the ideal platform for you to see exactly how your competition handles difficult customer service issues. Consumers have no problem venting their anger and frustration at a company on that company's social media feeds. You can pick up plenty of good customer service tactics and see bad tactics fail when you monitor the competition's social media pages.
While your social media feeds get plenty of criticisms and opinions from customers, you want to compare the comments you are getting to what the competition is getting to develop a feeling for overall consumer trends. Are your competitors getting the same complaints you are, or is there something the competition is doing to keep clients happy? A company's social media page is also a great place to find out why consumers buy from certain companies but not from others.
Social media is a great marketing tool that your company is using to bring in more paying customers. But it is important to remember that the competition is using social media as well, and you can tell a lot about your competition from the interactions it has on social media with consumers and by the information the competition chooses to release to the public through these powerful communications platforms.