With so many popular niches available to create content for, it’s inevitable that you will find yourself with a decent amount of competitors.
Contrary to what you might think, competition isn’t always a bad thing!
While it’s always a good idea to focus on your own content and not get caught up in creating toxic competitive behaviors, knowing the online habits of your competitors is necessary if you want to create a strong foundation for your brand.
Not only should you be looking to your competitors for content trends and user feedback, but you should be monitoring their social media presence as well.
Whether they’re Instafamous or Twitter-focused, knowing how your competitor is interacting with their own fanbase is a key component in learning how to interact with yours.
In case you weren’t already convinced, we put together a few reasons on why you should be following your competitors on social media - and what to keep an eye out for when you do. Let’s get started!
Knowing What Works
Not only is social media a great way to see keep in touch with your favorite brands, it’s a great way to keep an eye on your competitors.
Through regular observation, you can quickly determine what’s working for your competitors so that you can implement their successful practices and improve your own brand quality.
For example, let’s say your YouTube channel is comprised of vlogs that focus on budget traveling. You’ve built up a decent foundation, but you notice that other channels with similar content are gaining greater amounts of subscribers, views, and are even being featured on YouTube’s trending page. So what are they doing that you aren’t?
Take a look at these key areas and see how your competitor’s practices and your own compare:
- Content quality - is your content the best quality it can be? Are your videos or posts too short? Too long? Is the audio or image clear enough? Is there a focused theme in what you post or do you randomly create whatever you feel like?
- Branding - does your channel or social media profile have a clear brand behind it? Is your logo or profile picture fully representative of what you stand for and create? Is your feed consistent, or is everything messy?
- Relationships - do you respond to all comments and criticism? If so, are you commenting in a friendly and fair way? Do you listen to your follower’s feedback and create content that they want rather than just what you want?
Promotion - Are you sharing your content regularly? If so, what platforms are you using?
Once you’ve determined where you can improve, make a list of the steps you can take to create initial changes and get started!
Knowing What Doesn’t Work
It’s also important to know what doesn’t work.
Maybe your competitors are popular on Instagram, but they’ve been unsuccessful on Twitter. Even more specifically, you can look within each platform to see what areas are underperforming.
For example, you may see that their travel InstaStories might do great and result in high levels of engagement, but their video posts might be lacking likes, views, or comments.
Keep a close eye on their platforms and campaigns and refer to the previous checklist to see if they’re maintaining proper practices - if they are, their lack of success on one platform might be a hint that your content niche just doesn’t perform well there.
You can also take a look at the content they’re creating to see what areas you should stay away from. If vlogs are doing great but Q&A videos are underperforming in a big way, it’s a good idea to shift your focus elsewhere in order to avoid the same fate. Using this information, you can save valuable time and effort!
In a rut when it comes to your creative flow? Not sure what video you should shoot next? Take a look at what has been performing well for your competitors and put a unique spin on this.
Be careful not to copy their exact content or style - you should be using their content and approaches as inspiration only.
You can do this by altering the specifics to fit your own content style and personality. The more original you can be, the more your followers will appreciate your creativity and effort.
Don’t forget to listen to your followers! If you recreate a video that you thought would do well but your followers just aren’t engaged or are vocalizing their dislike, it’s time to recalibrate and do some more brainstorming.
You can create a poll asking what people would like to see in the future, or maybe re-create some of your old popular content to improve its quality and bring it up to date. Get creative and don’t be discouraged.
The Bottom Line
Competition isn’t always negative and your competitors can provide you with a great blueprint about what works and what doesn’t work. From cautionary tales, to inspiration, and everything in between, your competitors are a goldmine of marketing information - you just have to know what to look for!
You can even reach out to competitors and build professional relationships - you never know when someone will want to collaborate and share your work with their own follower base.
By keeping things professional, original, and creative, you can save yourself a great amount of time and effort while you work hard to build your brand
Want even more amazing tips & tricks from the professionals? Check out the rest of our blog for even more in-depth guides and industry expertise!