For many new business owners, they see their competition online and freeze up. It can feel intimidating to follow your competition when you’re new to the business, but following your competition on social media is a meaningful way to discover how much competition exists.
But the truth is if you did not have any competition, it might mean you don’t have a valid business idea or at least one you can afford to see to fruition. If competition is plentiful, it means it’s a great idea and one that you can likely succeed at if you have the right mindset and take the right actions.
In fact, in business college, the books will tell you that the best place to open a successful pizza place or coffee shop is right across from a successful pizza place or coffee shop.
Engage with Their Audience
When you follow your competition on social media, you’ll be able to see the interaction they’re having in the open right on their social media pages and groups on every platform. These discussions will provide you insight and access to the audience.
As your competition, each person is a potential customer of yours, that’s true, but you’re not going to steal their customers. Instead, you’re going to use the individuals you interact with as an example of a potential customer whom, if you get to know, you can create better and more persuasive content for so all your marketing will become more fruitful.
Learn About Their Offers
As you engage on their social platforms, pay close attention to the offers they make and the reaction the offers receive from the audience. You’ll gain insight into whether an offer was popular or not. You may even produce companion ideas that you can promote of your own based on the competition’s offers.
Learn About Their Branding
The other thing you’ll learn a lot about is branding. What type of branding does the competition use on each social platform? What bout brand voice? Is there a distinctive character for the brand that you’re starting to notice across platforms?
When you learn more about the way your competition brands itself, you’ll be able to find new ways to incorporate your own branding into your communications on your own social platforms.
Get New Followers
It’s also a good idea to start following your competition’s followers. When you follow them, a good number of them will start following you automatically. You don’t have to spam them or sell to them at all to make this happen. Just follow them without any fanfare and then post good content, and you’ll notice your audience starts growing rather naturally from there.
Find New Keyword Ideas
Once you start noticing how brands are writing their content, you’ll start to realize which words are keywords they’re using to get attention from their ideal audience. Use that information to help you develop content around those keywords that gets noticed too.
Get Content Creation Ideas
While the direct content your competition shares with their audience is all great content ideas for you, look deeper. The comments, questions, and other things the audience shares can clue you into even more ideas that you might otherwise miss.
See Audience Questions
Notice the questions that are asked by the audience on social media about any content that is shared. How does the competition answer the questions? Do they even notice? Do they use good methods for engaging with the audience that you can emulate, or do they have gaps in coverage that you can make better? By the way, if your competition is not answering the questions in a timely manner, there is no reason you can’t answer them.
Discover New Trends
One of the fastest ways to notice trends is to pay close attention to industry and competitor blog posts and social media posts. You’ll start to get good at noticing something or a topic that is trending, even if it’s a small thing that can alert you to ideas for the future.
Get to Know Your Ideal Customer Better
It’s a great way to get to know your ideal customer better without even having customers yet. Hanging out on social media, participating in the discussions, and noticing the questions the ideal customer is asking are invaluable in helping you develop your customer avatars.
Find Gaps in Coverage
Studying your competition’s social media helps you highlight gaps in coverage that your competition is missing. As you analyze their content, comments, and engagement with the customer, you have the advantage of hindsight and the lack of emotion from being an outsider.
The main indicator of success is that it has already been done. When you choose a niche that already has successful examples, it will save many valuable resources. The successful business already did the research and chose the right location. They already do the right things to attract the right audience. If you want to be successful too, all you have to do is emulate what they do, and the audience education has already happened. As long as you take action, you will succeed.