How does a champion player, who plays in the major leagues, prepare for a match? One of the important aspects would be to study the opponent’s game, his/her strategy to understand the opportunities offered and counteractions needed. To win against competitors, we must learn from them.
Social publishing is no different. Anyone tasked with the job of creating their company’s marketing content must ask themselves this question: What can I learn from my competition’s publishing? This is a definite sign of being strategic in your approach. It’s about understanding what is expedient and checking whether we are on the path to success.
The first step towards this is to understand who your competition really is. To begin with, list out who your competitors are, including direct and indirect competitors, as well as role model peers. Having done that, look at what a competitor’s published content can teach us.
What are your competitors trying to position themselves as?
To stand out from the clutter, a brand needs to position itself uniquely and meaningfully when compared to its competition. What are the brand attributes which consumers associate your brand with? Are your competitors perceived as being modern or traditional, premium or value-for-money, innovative or rooted? Given what perceptions exist for your competitors, where would you like to stand? Understanding these attributes can help you plan your positioning in an ideal manner, while ensuring that it’s differentiated from the competition’s efforts. This in turn can determine your overall publishing theme.
Are there content themes they follow?
Learning from your competition should include understanding patterns in their publishing. Publishing frequency, forms, themes and sub-themes, their proportion and your hypothesis on the rationale for such themes will help derive good insights. This exercise can help you choose your own themes.
What kind of content engages the most?
To ensure that content from your re-worked strategy engages significantly better than today, you should look at objective data on what type of content and what form of content engages the best. This helps you decide how many campaigns/contests you must do. How many videos you might want to create. Such inputs help improve the quality of your publishing.
What kind of media spends are being done to boost posts or promote tweets?’
If you are deciding on media spends in an ad hoc manner, its time to change. Look at the landscape to determine what kind of media spends your competition is using. How is their spend distributed? Is it uniformly spread out across content or used only for a few posts? This can help you formulate your own media budget and plan.
A thorough analysis of these points should help you lay out the following:
- Question your positioning – Where in the landscape do you uniquely stand? What space is available for occupation? This will help determine what unifying theme should be followed while publishing your content.
- Learning about which type of content works or which forms work better can help you identify opportunities to improve engagement on your own handles or pages. If videos and GIFs work significantly better for others, perhaps you might consider using those. Experiment with content types, and add images, video links and SlideShare presentations, infographics and other visual formats which engage your readers more and help to set you apart from the competition.
- User engagement enhancement through campaigns, contests, trivia, gamification – you might get cues or ideas which you could improvise upon for your own brand.
- Determine the optimal publishing frequency keeping the competition in mind. After all, you might be competing for the share of voice and share of mind within the same consumer segments.
- Map out influencers who help advocate competition. This can help define the profile of the right advocates for your brand and also to device your advocacy building strategies.
- Media planning – make an intelligent estimate of what media spend on social media might be best suited for your cause. Work backwards considering your desired share of voice and engagement and what your competition is spending. This can help decide spends more scientifically as opposed to using an ad hoc approach.
It’s to be expected that your competitors will be similarly focused on tracking and following your content strategy, setting up a healthy spirit of competitiveness and constant improvement all around, ably aided by competitive insights platforms such as Auris. It all hinges on who has the first mover advantage.