Social Media is heavily saturated these days and you need to be able to cut through the noise where you can – you can’t expect your audience to engage with everything you post all the time.
Social listening and monitoring allow you to understand what your customers want and where your rivals may be slipping up, allowing you to come up with a strategy to rival your ‘enemies’.
Without a listening and monitoring strategy in place, you could be missing out on valuable information.
The Google search for “social listening” increases yearly and off the back of the pandemic, lots of businesses are now understanding the benefits of a strategy that includes social listening and monitoring.
Why should you monitor your competitors?
Watching what your competitors are doing online is a great way to improve your own content strategy.
When you monitor the competition, you can highlight strengths or weaknesses in your rivals and give yourself the opportunity to adapt your own strategy to win over a customer base.
However, it’s important to remember that what works for one brand and its customers, may not work for another and that analysing what others are doing can be time consuming.
As they say, ‘Keep your friends close but your enemies closer…’
By reviewing a few certain metrics, you can gain a good understanding of what you’re up against within your industry and what your customer base wants from you.
And in the digital world, you would be a fool to not be watching closely what your rivals are doing and how they’re doing it.
Listen, you shouldn’t be obsessing over what others are doing by any means, but there are a few key things you should be keeping an eye out for such as:
- Wins and losses
- Brand voice
You need to understand your competitors, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it.
But, before you hit CTRL C + CTRL V on a competitor’s post– try listening to what is being said about you online and monitoring the competition – is it worth your time and money?
Social Listening and Social Monitoring are two techniques that can be used to watch your competition and respond to customer needs.
Are you listening?
Imagine you’re a coffee shop owner.
You visit another local café and hear customers discussing that they wished the café stocked apple pie because no one else in the area does.
You don’t currently stock apple pies, but now you know that’s what people want, you can decide whether you want to start selling them in your shop.
Social Listening is the idea that watching what your competitors are doing and more importantly, how their customers respond to it can help you create content for your own brand.
By listening to the customer response, you can make changes to your own content and tailor it to their needs.
When you analyse the trends and conversations, not just surrounding your brand or competitors, but your whole industry, you get an insight into what people really want.
We’re not saying you need to copy what the competition are doing in order to succeed.
But, by simply knowing what services or products your top competitors offer; you can review your own strategy and decide if you want to start selling apple pies too.
However, you need to work out what works best for you.
- Does it make sense for your business?
- Do you have the budget and time?
- Will it be beneficial for your customers?
This can be as simple as producing video content if you see a competitor’s video content performing well. Or, if you see a competitor posting in the morning and receiving little engagement, try posting in the afternoons.
But, what is Social Monitoring?
Do you know what your customers are saying about you online?
Maybe no one is talking about you at all?
Social Monitoring means to track your brand online, through hashtags, mentions and keywords so you can stay informed about what people are saying about you.
There could be several key things you want to track about your brand online such as –
- Your brands name and what is being said about you
- Mentions of your main competitor
- People searching for your product in your area
By tracking your brand online, you can directly and appropriately respond to your customer base and become more efficient in delivering content.
For example, a brand with a controversial reputation might want to keep track of what its customers are saying about it on Twitter or Facebook, so it can quickly put out fires or take control of its narrative.
Monitoring your competition online can also be crucial in highlighting opportunities or revealing failures from other businesses in your industry.
How do you monitor?
There are several tools available to help you monitor your brand online with several sites providing their own analytics tools for business page such as Facebook or Linkedin.
However, every tool is a bit different in terms of features, what they look like and the price. The costs of social media monitoring can range from just a couple of pounds to thousands monthly.
You can set up Google Alerts to see when people are mentioning you or your brand in search results.
Google Trend can help you search trends around your organisation’s areas of interest.
The HubSpot social tool allows you to manage your social media engagements in one place.
DIY Social Listening and Monitoring
You can also do some things yourself.
For example, visit competitor websites and find out –
- What calls to action do they have?
- How often do they update their blog?
- How many followers do they have, and do they have more on one channel or another?
All of these metrics will give you an indication as to how seriously they take their social media presence and what you can do to potentially over take them.
But you should also have a goal in mind, for example are you looking to increase engagement or follower count?
Social monitoring allows you to give a reactive response to the metrics you find through investigating the competition.
Ok, what and why again?
Social Monitoring tells you what.
Social Listening tells you why.
It’s important in any industry to know what your rivals are doing so once you start proactively listening to customers and reactively monitoring your competitors, you’ll easily outrun the competition.
However, it can be easy to become too focused on the competition, and they forget to be authentic to your brand and your customer base.
If you don’t lose sight of what your company does and why it does it, your employees will show up every day and your customers will keep coming back to you.
Although, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition anyway…