If you’ve done your listening exercises (monitoring the social landscape through keyword searches) you may have discovered your competition is on Twitter. As a part of your own social media strategy and planning audit, it’s important to evaluate what your competition is doing, how they are connecting with influencers and how quickly they’re advancing on this network.
Working through a competitive intelligence exercise means getting past the obvious and digging into an audit with your eyes wide open. Of course, you’ll immediately check out how many followers your competitors have and the lists where they appear. And, yes, you should review their tweet stream to figure out their approach. You can also scour through their followers to see the influencers they’ve connected with and the level of engagement.
However, here are a few less obvious ways that you can figure out if your competitors are just getting their feet wet or if they are well on their way to a successful social media strategy. With your eyes wide open you should ask these questions about each competitor:
- Do they have a standard Twitter profile or a customized background? You can tell if a competitor is a beginner or more advanced just by their Twitter background.
- Do they use images in their profile that relate to the brand (logo, product, people)? Images tell you if they are branding their profile(s).
- Does the URL in the profile lead to a dedicated landing page vs. a home page? This is the difference between the competitor that may or may not be closely paying attention to website analytics and driving traffic to specific area of a website.
- When you look at their profiles can you immediately identify what they want to talk about?
- What’s the percentage of their tweets, retweets, and actual conversations (@replies) over a specified time frame?
- What platform(s) are they using? Are they just starting out on Twitter.com or have they advanced to TweetDeck or HootSuite? Using more advanced platforms may translate into filtering information, managing multiple handles and timing daily tweets.
- Are they shortening links yet? Do you they use Tiny URL or have they advanced to Bit.ly links (which means they are tracking/measuring links)?
- Are they timing tweets? You can tell by analyzing patterns of tweets over a period of time.
- Do they have one Twitter feed or many feeds? If there are different feeds then you should ask the same questions above about each profile.
- Do they have an employee retweet strategy? In other words, you need to analyze who is retweeting and determine if other members of the company (their internal brand champions) are involved in the social media strategy.
- How often are competitors tweeting per day, per week, per month? Is there a consistent flow of tweets?
- Who tweets about your competitors on Twitter the most (media, bloggers, industry partners, employees, customers, etc.)?
There are so many questions that need to be asked, more than what’s listed above. What questions do you ask? Do you evaluate your competitors on Twitter with you eyes wide open?