It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers.
We need more followers, fans, and friends!
But if the ones you already have don’t engage with you now, how will gaining more change that? Maybe when it comes to social, we have been focusing on the wrong metrics for too long. Why yes, a steady audience increase might mean you are connecting to new people, however, that number should not make or break your social media strategy.
Personalization is THE buzzword for marketers right now, and it’s time we take social there.
How can we make our audiences feel like we a relationship with them?
How can we build a strong connection?
Which brings us back to the point made above, we can’t focus on both-personalization and HUGE follower counts. Personalization means you have studied and learned your audience-who they are, what they want and when they want it, which means it is nearly impossible to connect with EVERYONE. When it comes to your social strategy, you will find much more success (sales wise) if you put more value on the type of engagement you are creating rather than the number of followers you have.
When brands do personalization right, they are creating content, especially on social, that has a higher engagement rate. Their Instagram Stories make you want to work with them or stop by their shop on your way home. The inspirational quotes and memes they posts make you say “me too.” And their videos and images make you feel okay about blowing your monthly budget to try their latest menu item or buy their new seasonal arrivals. They just get you, and because you feel like they know you so well, you don’t want to put any effort into getting to know another brand. That is how you make your audience feel when you do personalization right on social!
Wouldn’t you agree that a brand with a smaller following but followers who watch their every move on their social platform is better? Wouldn’t you like fans who find your page daily to check-in rather than paying to get through the noise of a Feed? Don’t you want your audience to be just as obsessed with you as you are with them?
All of this is possible! But how? It’s time to take a look at the competition…
By using social, we can gain so much insight into our competition! And luckily all it takes is simple analysis to identify, evolve and avoid our competitor’s successes, failures and most importantly understand how we stack up against their social identity and strategy.
Identifying our competitors can have an enormous impact on our social strategy but how can you figure out who is adequately comparable to your brand?
The brands you identify as your competitors may not be someone who you battle for when it comes to money in the bank or even brands within your industry. Your competitor could be another brand voice whom your target audience is spending their time listening to. They are keeping the attention of your audience a little too long and are getting the type of engagement you dream of. The reality is your audience only has so much time during the day to interact with brands online, and you want to be the one they choose to like, watch, comment and share with.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your competition on one platform may not be your competition on all of them. Some brands only focus on one or two platforms, or maybe you only do. Make sure you monitor the competitors that are most comparable to each platform, it’s not a one and done type of comparison.
When it comes to marketing measurement, it’s about using a tool that lets you achieve that quickly and painlessly. There are a lot of tools out there, Converge being one of them. The marketing measurement tool you pick should also let you input and compare your competitor’s social activity. Below we break down some important features and metrics you should look at when doing that.
You want to be able to look at data in real-time, daily and also over a period of time.
Monitoring data daily is essential for pulse-checks across social platforms. Ensure your scheduled content is going out, check out trending topics on Twitter and Facebook to see if there are any relevant conversations you can join, and monitor what conversations your competitor is taking part in.
Expanding your view to a 15-30-60-90 time frame can help you identify trends. Is there a metric trending up or down? Can you find the date(s) where something did really well or not so well and go back to see what was said or done? And most importantly can you do all this with a view of your competitors results too? As great as it to understand how you did it, it can mean a whole lot more if you have someone to make some direct comparisons against.
Average Engagement Rate: Remember we are all about personalization in 2017. We are focused on how our audience is responding to what we say and do. So Average Engagement Rate is going to be our go-to metric when it comes to competition analysis. This gives you a clear idea if you are going far enough when it comes to connecting and having a conversation with your followers. Or did your competition do a better job? For example…
Did you only comment back on people who left 1 and 2 star Facebook reviews to problem solve or did you also reach out and thank those giving you 4 and 5-star ratings? When you engage with followers who also had a GREAT experience you can understand what they loved and what caused that 5-star experience so you can keep doing that. This will also help you stay top of mind, so when they are in need of a refill, return for another vacation or need a restaurant to celebrate at, you are who they remember.
Average Post Frequency: Just because you post more than your competition doesn’t mean you are running a better social strategy than them. Use this metric to help and monitor and run a few tests. For example…
In the weeks and months, you posted every-other-day did you your engagement drop, rise, or stay the same? And when you compare your engagement rate to your competitors did it drop, rise or stay the same? This metric might help you realize you can post a little less (which helps stretch your content) and still get better results than the competition.
Engagement Rate By Post: This metric helps you identify what is and is not working, both for you and your competitor. When you look at this metric, you also need to have your content calendar handy, and a view of your competitors feed during those dates. This will help you dig in deep to figure out what happened. For example…
Did you miss out on an industry-related holiday or trending topic? Or maybe one that had nothing to do with you but one you competitor jumped in on and capitalized on- was it the running man or mannequin challenge? No matter what, we bet you won’t miss out on it again once you see the engagement your competitor had because of it.
Some Things To Think About
When shifting your focus from follower count to purpose-driven personalized content, there are a few things you can do to ensure you are keeping an eye on your competition and upcoming trends.
- Try one new tactic a month: Test test test!
- Figure out new ways to keep the conversation going: How can you start or contribute to conversations your audience is already having online?
- Add competitor analysis to weekly reports you send out or monthly presentations you give: Talk about your competitors to the team, so they too are using competitive analysis when it comes to decision making.
- Perform a content audit: Figure out what is and is not working, don’t just get in the habit of posting just to post.
- Track the top “x number” of posts a week between your and your competitors: Make it a goal to have your content dominating that list and edge out the competition.
Wrap It Up
Your followers only have so much time to browse social, and you want to make sure your page is one they are in tune with. And when we say followers we don’t mean everyone- we mean the people who you have identified as your exact target audience, the ones who you are making content specifically for. Use all the tools and resources we have listed above to build that personalized experience they are craving, even if it means watching the competition!
Want more content about personalization? Check out this post The Journey To Reach A Single Customer.