You’ve set your goals, identified your audience and you even have a robust measurement system in place. But you could be missing this one crucial component of a successful Twitter strategy.
Often overlooked, this is the piece of the puzzle that is usually the last to fit into place – the one that makes you go “oh, yeah, it’s a horse!”
I’m talking about competitor analysis.
Without knowing what the competition is up to, you run the risk of making mistakes you could have easily avoided, or missing out on untapped markets and niches. You won’t know if what you’re doing has been done, and – if it has – you won’t know if it was a success.
There is nothing wrong with learning from the competition. In fact, they’re probably watching you on Twitter right now – so you might as well return the favor.
Since Twitter is an open network, it’s not only a great place to listen in on the competition for the sake of bettering your Twitter strategy, but it can be a goldmine of information about your competition in general. Whether they’re launching a new product, moving offices or expanding, Twitter is often the first place they’ll go to spread the news. And if you’re listening, you can be one of the first to know.
So how exactly do you incorporate competitor analysis into your Twitter strategy?
First, you start by identifying your competitors if you haven’t already done so. Create a document – Excel works just fine – and make note of your competitors’ Twitter handles. It’s a good idea to grab all of their associated Twitter handles, in addition to their main branded account. Many CEOs, marketing execs and other employees will have their own personal accounts, so add those to the list too. Do this for each competitor.
Next, create a private Twitter list that includes all of your competitors. You can create several lists if you are competing with several categories of other businesses, but the idea here is to create a one-click option for you to focus in on your competitors’ real-time conversations. By making sure the list is private, you will prevent your competitors from even knowing they’re being watched.
So you don’t just create the list and walk away, it’s important to immediately add competitor analysis into your monitoring schedule, whatever form that takes. If you’re a big business and can listen in to Twitter daily, that’s great. If you are checking in on your metrics once a month, that’s great too. Just be sure that you check in to your newly created competitor lists at the same time.
You can learn a lot from knowing not only what your competitors are doing on Twitter (what kind of content they’re sending, how often they tweet, etc.), but you can also get some great insight into the accounts they interact with. They may be publicly mingling with important clients, vendors, partners… and knowing this could give you a leg up.
When drafting or revising your Twitter strategy, don’t forget to include a healthy dose of competitor analysis, so you can keep tabs on what works – and what doesn’t – in your industry.
(Puzzle piece image via Shutterstock)