When you play the social media game, it’s very likely you want to win it, be in the lead or at least do not want to be far behind. To get a snapshot of your current social media status and measure your progress, you need to watch your competition. Keeping an eye on your competitors on Facebook is a smart business. Not only will you know where they, what they do, which of their posts garner most responses, but also will have a chance to learn from them and stay on top of major industry developments. With a bit of curiosity and knowledge you can find out how to improve your marketing strategy and progress faster.
Luckily, there are easy ways to learn how others are doing. But before you will know how, let me give you the main reasons why you should do it.
Here are some reasons why you need to monitor your competitors on Facebook:
- success is relative – to know if you’re making any progress, you can compare your current results with the previous achievements. Thus, the most important thing is to establish and track your own KPIs (key performance indicators). But if you want to know how your progress is – “great”, “bad” or “mediocre”, you have to know where the rest of your industry is and how it is advancing;
- while it’s wise and valuable to learn from your own mistakes, actually it’s better to learn from somebody else’s. Following your top competitors and keeping an eye on what they are doing can help you to avoid repeating their mistakes and most of all to develop and refine your own social media marketing strategy and adjust best tactics. Learning what type of content performs best with their audiences or when it is best to post to get the highest engagement is really easy with the right tools and will help you build your competitive advantage and grow faster;
- business and customer intelligence at low cost – following ads your competitors are running, listening to what their customers say, what problems and requests they have is priceless. With such knowledge, you can quickly adjust your product and customer support strategy to win the market. You already have sales leads to contact and convert. You should be ready to take advantage of every arising opportunity and acquire new customers when your competitor fails to provide them a good service.
Now that you know why it’s useful to spy on your competitors on Facebook, let’s see how you can do it. One way is to use the social media platform itself. Facebook offers built-in insights you can monitor your competitors’ basic stats such as:
- page fans,
- the number of posts they published,
- the total number of comments, shares and reactions to their posts.
To do it, go to your Facebook Page Insights and find Pages to Watch section at the bottom of the Overview tab. Click Add Pages button to add the first competitor page:
Within this tab you can track latest stats of total page likes, see how often your competitors are posting to their pages as well as check the level of Engagement Rate they have on their pages.
You can also see best performing posts from the pages you started watching. To do this, go to the Posts tab and from the top menu choose Top Posts from Pages You Watch section. You will see the list of top five posts published during the last seven days, ranked by engagement, which is the total number of comments, shares and reactions.
This is the easiest way to spy on your competition on Facebook for free. Unfortunately, it has a limitation because the data you can see is very basic and for the last week only.
But you can and you should dig deeper. If you’re thinking of some serious competitive analysis, then you’ll need the right tool for that. NapoleonCat gives you effortless, real time benchmarking. You can easily create a set of your competitors’ Facebook Pages and directly compare all KPIs and even set custom time periods – days, months, or even years.
The screen below shows a set of five Facebook Pages of motorcycle brands. With a very quick look, you can see which brands have higher indexes and make better progress compared to the previous period.
Such comparative analysis makes it easier to find best practices for your industry and audience when it comes to content publishing and adjusting your own ad strategy.
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It’s obvious you should post your most important messages when the chance of achieving the biggest reach and engagement is at its highest. But when exactly is that? You can easily identify it by grouping a few pages together and investigating a longer period of time, let’s say six months (to make sure you have enough posts to draw viable conclusions).
The example below shows such analysis made for five motorcycle brand pages. You can easily notice that posts published on Thursdays and Saturdays generate the highest engagement. And high engagement also means higher organic reach. Thus, for more important announcements, you should choose those days rather than Wednesdays. Of course, that’s just an example. You should make your own analysis and figure out which days are top performing – for your industry, location and audience.
At the beginning of this article, a customer intelligence has been mentioned as one of the important reasons to track your competitors on Facebook. As you know, Facebook has become one of the main customer service channels (we recently wrote an article on how to improve customer care in social media to deliver better experience). Dissatisfied customers don’t bother calling or emailing a brand anymore. They just go on Facebook and share their experiences publicly. You can analyze such posts and comments from your competitors’ pages to easily define what problems your competitors face and what their customers need.
Sticking with the example of airlines (presented at the screen above), the sample of fans’ posts from the airlines set shows that Lufthansa has problems with customer service and many people are disappointed with waiting too long for a response. Knowing that other brands can start build their competitive advantage by delivering better customer care and quicker react to their clients messages and resolve their problems.
Imagine how much money you would have to pay for market research that involves questioning customers of competitive airlines who have recently used their service and were not fully satisfied. And this is just a very basic example of how such information can be used to improve your business strategy, not just in social media.