SocialMedia_MarketingIf you are not already monitoring your competition, you are probably falling behind the competition. Not only is it important to monitor the competition in terms of products and services, it’s also vital to know what your competition is doing in the world of social media. By understanding what is working for the competition, you can gain greater insight into what you should be doing to drive your own brand’s social media marketing campaigns.

What Is Your Competition Tweeting?

One of the goals of social media marketing is to get your audience to share your content. The more shares you receive, the more exposure your brand receives. Not sure who is sharing your competition’s content? Do some cyber sleuthing and find out. It’s much easier than you might think, and Twitter makes this information readily available. Go to https://twitter.com/search-home. From there, you can enter the Twitter handle of your competition to generate a list of results. After you click Live, you will be able to see any users who are sharing your competition’s content. If those users are sharing your competition’s content, there’s a good chance they would be interested in your content as well, so make an effort to engage them by following them on your own, retweeting their posts, and sharing their content.

What Type of Content Should You Be Posting?

One of the problems that many startups struggle with is identifying the type of content that is most likely to resonate with their target audience. The best way to gain this kind of insight is to research the most popular content your competition is publishing. Twazzup is a great social media monitoring tool. All you have to do is enter the Twitter handle you want to track and you instantly receive real-time updates, including active top influencers, the top 10 keywords associated with your search, and top retweeted photos and links.

When you want to research content beyond Twitter, HowSociable is another excellent tool for measuring not only your social media presence but also that of your competition. With a free account, you can track up to a dozen social sites. HowSociable works by providing scores for various types of social media networks, giving you the opportunity to see exactly which platforms are most likely to work best for your brand and even giving insight into which platforms might benefit from further development. Once you have an understanding of the type of popular content your competition is sharing, you can use that information to share the same content and produce content similar in subject matter and style.

When Is Your Competition Posting?

Understanding the type of content your competition is posting is important, but you should also have some insight into when your competition is posting content. Fanpage Karma can provide you with precisely that type of insight. Simply enter the Facebook page name you want to track and click the link to “Get Free Insights.” From there, you see the percentage of users that are talking about that page as well as the level of engagement. Click on the Times & Types tab to see when your competition is posting as well as the times when they tend to receive the most engagement. This tool will also provide critical information regarding the gender breakdown for your competition’s audience. The Fan Posts tab  gives insight into how your competition interacts with their fans.

Keeping Your Competitive Research Organized

Researching the competition can be beneficial, but it’s only helpful if you’re organized enough to put the information you find to use. Instapaper gives you the ability to easily save web pages to your mobile phone or computer so you can read them later. This tool provides a bookmarklet that can be added to your bookmark bar for easy access. Use it to visit the competition’s website and save content that might prove helpful later.

Researching the competition does take some time, but it is effort well spent. The time you invest in finding out what your competition is doing, what works, and what does not work can help you increase your own chances of social media marketing success.