Successful business owners are inherently competitive. This trait drives them to keep improving and reaching for more. One of the most important ways to be competitive is to understand the other players in your field and where you fall among them.
Analyze and Act
It’s for the same reason that professional athletes watch tape of their competitors that you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing. To analyze what they do well, what they’re ok at and what their weaknesses are. When you understand where you sit among the competition and why, then you can begin to make moves to improve.
Find out who the most successful people/ companies are in your field. Look into how they are organized, how they present themselves, who their target audience is, and anything else that makes them stand out. Pay special attention to what their strengths are, this can show you areas that you can improve upon or shine a light on what your ideal customers want.
They say copying is the highest form of flattery, but it can also be a smart way to improve your business. Be careful not to copy exactly though. There’s an old adage among musicians, “good musicians copy, great musicians steal” (this may or may not have come from Pablo Picasso originally, also Steve Jobs said it too I guess). What this means is that when you find something you like, dissect it, internalize it, and make it your own. In business, as with music, when you approach learning from your competitors this way, the result becomes something unlike your competition, something that is all your own.
A couple more modern examples include Google and the iPhone. Google was not the first search engine, that honor belongs to Archie, created in 1990. What Google did was take a pre-existing technology, made it their own and became innovators. Same story with the iPhone, they took the idea of smartphones and made it their own, consequently changing the industry forever.There are many examples of this. The great tycoons of the industrial revolution are good examples. Rockefeller didn’t invent the process of refining oil, Carnegie didn’t invent steel, Ford didn’t invent the car, and Vanderbilt didn’t invent the railroad. These industrial pioneers took an existing technology and improved upon it in various aspects such as production and logistics.
Obviously these are dramatic examples, what all of these stories have in common is timing. They rose up in emerging markets that ended up having massive impacts on the world as a whole. However, that does not mean we can’t learn from what they did and apply it to how we run our businesses.
Another important thing all of these examples have in common is that they paid special attention to their competitor’s weaknesses. This showed them valuable insights about their own strengths, of which they emphasized, and illuminated gaps in the market that they could fill. For example, Google saw that other search engine’s results pages were often filled with irrelevant results and worked to fix that.
So how can you apply this to Facebook?
The first step is to check out your competitor’s pages. See what kind of content they are posting. Are they videos? Pictures? Infographics? Pay attention to how much engagement they are getting from each post and which types of content are performing the best. Take what’s working and start making content that’s similar, but remember this quote from Thelonious Monk when you do: “A genius is the one most like himself.”
Pay attention to the types of content that are lacking as well. This is a little harder to do, but can give you insights into content gaps that can be filled.
Facebook is actively trying to promote transparency. Because of this, they have given you an awesome tool to see the target audience of your competitors. On any Facebook ad there is a drop down in the top right corner. Hit that and click “Why am I seeing this?” This will show you the target audience of the ad.
With this info you can structure your own ad strategy to accommodate what your competitors are doing, whether this means you will target the same audience or focus on a different segment of the market.
When deciding on your Facebook marketing strategy, it’s also important to take into consideration what Facebook is trying to accomplish. Their ultimate goal is to get as many people to use their platform as possible and to keep them there as long as possible. Facebook is very interested in keeping the user experience as excellent as they can because they understand that advertisers will go where the people are.
This has some implications for what types of content will perform well. Facebook’s algorithm will discourage posts that send users to other places with links. It will reward content that users engage with that keeps them on the platform. Facebook views YouTube as a competitor, so they will suppress YouTube videos, even if they are embedded. This means that Facebook videos that exceed 3 minutes are more likely to do better, because Facebook wants in on the video market and they want videos that keep people there.
Don’t forget about the Facebook user’s reasons for being on Facebook in the first place. Users are there to connect with friends and family or to find utility, inspiration or entertainment. They do not want to be sold to, this has led to a heavily diminished organic reach for business pages. To run effective Facebook marketing campaigns there is no other choice than to create awesome content and boost it with ad spend.
If you consider what the platform wants as well, then you will have an advantage over your competitors that have not thought to do so.
Understanding the competition is important for a number of reasons. It shows you where you fall among your competitors in the market, it can give you insights about your ideal customers, about your own strengths and weaknesses, gaps in the market and will help you build strategies to improve your business.
As far as Facebook marketing goes, it is fairly easy to see what your competition is up to by checking out their pages and seeing who they are targeting. If you also take into account the motives of the platform itself, this will help you devise a solid Facebook marketing strategy. Having said this, there are no shortcuts, the only way to market effectively on Facebook is to create quality content that is engaging and to get it in front of the people that matter to your business. Easier said than done.
Do you see any gaps in the market that you can capitalize on?Direct Placement, LLC is a digital marketing agency dedicated to shaping our advertising efforts to best fit your company’s needs. We are a Google Premier Partner and Bing Ads Accredited Company that specializes in a number of digital advertising formats. From our trademarked flat-rate SEM marketing service to social media marketing and even directory profile creation, we have a number of services that we can use to help your company thrive. Contact Direct Placement, LLC to learn more about how we can start transforming your business one click at a time! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Blogger for more regular marketing content.
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