Why you should study your competitor online presence
I’m going to let you on a secret: I’m your competitor. All right, maybe not me—but someone out there is your competitor. They’re outwitting and outsmarting you at every turn. Why are you letting them stand you up and outshine you? Your business is awesome and it has the ability to glow brighter than the design on your competitor’s fancy logo. This is all the more reason to study your competitor’s presence.
Let’s start with Google Alerts and Google Trends. Google Alerts is going to help us spy on our competitors. We can enter their name and get notifications each time they are mentioned on the internet. This is going to help us learn strategy over time. It’s going to show us where our company is weak and where we can become strong. Google Trends, on the other hand, is going to provide you a list of statistics. It’s going to show you how many people are interested in the brand, as well as which regions. It’s also going to show you what products the company has out on the market, which is particularly useful.
Also, browse social media across the board. Type your competitor into the search bar and read down the search results. What are people saying about them? What do people most like (and can’t stand) about your competitor? Take notes. It may also be useful to do this for your own brand. Again, it shows us where we are weak and can be strong. If one of our customers says our customer service is below par—and our competitor’s customer service is outstanding—you have some work to do. Take in all criticism and learn from it. It’s only going to help you grow and evolve as a business.
Similarly, ask your customers. Which company did they use before they discovered your brand? Research the company they give you. How does that company relate to yours in terms of products, customer service, and social media? Ask your customer why they decided to make the switch. This is vital because you don’t want to make the same critical error. For instance, let’s say you’re a mechanic. The customer may say your competitor forgot to fasten their tire securely. This is a big deal that could have big consequences. Don’t make that mistake or you may lose the customer as well.
You may also want to attend conferences. As a business, you have to interact with others within your industry. Attend trade shows and join any industry associations that are out there. These are going to prove invaluable. The networking value alone is going to be priceless. If you attend a conference, attend courses with your competitors. Have them show you their social media pages and explain their strategy. You can glean a lot of knowledge just from this conversation. You may go as far to befriend your competitor, each agreeing to become a social media influencer for the other’s products. Many companies to do this if their products are similar.
Finally, send a survey out to your competitors. Ask about their products and services. Where do they advertise and how often? What are social networks they on and who works for them? Having this knowledge is useful if you want to get closer to your competitor’s playground. Survey them about their audience and what types of products they buy the most. Then, analyze this information with your team and use it to your advantage. How can you use it to advance your own products and services? Spying on your competitors can be fun, but you have to put in work. You have to be willing to advance your company. It’s the only way you’re going to get ahead.