As well as being a great tool for promoting your business and measuring the success of campaigns via retweets and follows, Twitter also provides useful insight into your competitor’s activities.
But the analytics don’t stop there. Nearly all of Twitter data is publicly available, and there are a number of websites and apps that you can freely access to get the absolute low-down on your competitor’s followers and strategies, so you can try and suss out what’s really going on.
This information can be invaluable – why are people using your competitor instead of you? Is there a certain demographic appeal that you’re missing? Who are your competitor’s most influential followers? You can find out the answers using some nifty Twitter analytic tools, and below are a few tips for how you can start analysing this information.
Follow Your Competitors
Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, as the old adage goes. So do that, and do it thoroughly. For the best results, you will want to be garnering as much information as you possibly can, so that means that you should not only follow your competing company’s Twitter account, but follow all of their employees as well. Indeed, this is one of the best ways to monitor your competitor’s Twitter strategy in real-time terms. By scrutinising the Tweets that build up on your news feed, you are seeing exactly what they want their existing and potential new customers to see – so consider what that is, and then ask yourself, why?
Do they have one account that deals with company questions, another as an outlet for sharing new blog posts, and yet another for new products? What sort of tweets are they re-tweeting? Do they have any influential, perhaps even celebrity followers? Take heed of the information you discover, you may find that trick you’ve been missing all along.
What Are Other People Saying About Your Rivals?
This information can be accessed quite easily by simply typing in your competitor’s @username into the search box. Upon hitting ‘Enter’, Twitter will fetch for you a list of all tweets from users who are mentioning your rival. You will be able to glean right from the horses’ mouths exactly what tweeters like and dislike about your competitor’s service or product, and what questions they are asking them.
If there are multiple accounts that you want to search, then you can do that too, by simply adding @usernames into your search enquiry, though searching each @username one at a time may well provide you with the easiest results to scrutinise.
Now, there are no rules as to who can reply to tweets. And so if you discover on one of your searches that your competitor is failing to answer questions posed by its followers, there is nothing stopping you from wading in and providing those answers yourself. If you notice a string of complaints about some product or service that your rival is providing, then why not intervene and offer your alternative directly to the user? Though be warned – it will be off-putting if you just come flying in with a no-holds-barred sales pitch. A friendly, helpful suggestion that gently steers them in your direction, but ultimately leaves the choice completely up to them is the much more reliable approach.
Tweepi, TwitterCounter, and Twitter Grader
Some of the best information can be gleaned about your competitors by finding out more about exactly who their followers and clients are. One of the easiest ways to do this and do it quickly is to sign up to Tweepi. Here you can find people who are following certain users (such as your competitors) and users on a topic basis – topics that relate to your industry. Tweepi also allows you to analyse Titter user data based on their sociability and activity on the site. You will be presented with a table that shows how many followers other users have, how many updates they make etc.
Another analytical tool available on the web is TwitterCounter. With this app you can find out how quickly your competitors are gaining followers, how many tweets they make a day, their overall Twitter ranking etc.
Finally there’s Twitter Grader available by subscribing to HubSpot. Twitter Grader generates diagnostic reports of Twitter users, and measures their rankings based on follower ratio, level of community engagement, and update frequency.
Put it all together and you can start building some serious data on your competitor’s followers, their Twitter activities, and their general interests, and start building a strategy as to how you might persuade them to make the switch onto your own product. To do this, once you have established who the most influential followers of your rivals are, it is advised that you don’t simply just start bombarding them with messages and tweets, but instead start to build a genuine relationship with them by exchanging some useful information – and you’ll have the advantage of already knowing what their interests are.
See How Your Rivals Are Using Other Social Networks
The chances are that you competitor’s Twitter account(s) will be linked to their Facebook and other social networks too. If they are using YouTube, for instance, the videos that they upload will most likely be promoted on Twitter as a matter of course, and you can then follow the link right back to their YouTube channel to see what other information they are producing or promoting in this way. And the same goes for Facebook, Pinterest etc. as well. You will be able to determine exactly what networks your rivals are using, how they are using them, and again find out who their followers are. You will most likely pick up a few idea at the very least as to how you might start to integrate some of their social media routines into your own strategy and gain some of their followers in the process.
Stalking the competition on Twitter is a great way to find out what is going on in your industry. There is perhaps no better way to improve your social media strategy than by effectively copying what is working well for your competitors and avoiding what isn’t. The analytical tools available on the web can really start to transform the cold Twitter stats into transferable information that can help you to start targeting the influential tweeters out there who you want on board, following you, and bringing all of their disciples with them. The key is to dig deep and use what you find wisely, never getting involved with spamming loads of potential followers, but instead nurturing lasting relationships with those who are genuinely interested in your field or industry.