Play the Spy: How to keep an eye on and learn from competitors

You don’t have to be 007 to play the spy. Online monitoring of competition is a key part of any successful brand. Without it, you’re destined for failure. Luckily, there’s no hiding in the bushes when it comes to keeping an eye on social media accounts. Here are our top tips for learning from your competitors online.

Follow everybody

First things first – find all the brands you classify as competitors. While you probably have an idea of who your main competitors are, pushing the boat out and finding accounts similar to your own is super helpful. For instance, you might be a clothing brand, but seeing how make-up brands act on Instagram can give you greater insight into another type of content.

Once you’ve found all your competitors or similar brands, follow every brand on a single account. This way you’ll have a constant feed filled purely with competitors.

Watch how they interact online

How brands interact with their customers is an important part of using social media for any company. Keep an eye out for stories, comments and responses to customer queries. While you won’t be able to sneak into their DMs, it might be worth messaging to see how they respond. This will give you a better idea of how to interact with your target audience, as well as noticing language that doesn’t work.

Find what they’re doing wrong

No one’s perfect. All your competitors will post content that isn’t successful or goes down like a lead balloon. Making sure you’re on top of those negative posts is a great way to avoid any potential stumbling blocks for your own brand. On the other side, it’s also worth discovering what your competitors are doing right and taking some inspiration.

Do hashtag research

Hashtags are the key to success on Instagram. The best part? Few people have grasped their full importance. Dedicated hashtag research can be more successful than any paid advertising campaign and will give you organic reach that you could only dream of (apart from influencer marketing, of course). Picking a variety of hashtags from your competitors and mixing them together will keep your posts on the screens of your desired audience. Switch them around regularly, find out which ones work and create a dedicated hashtag list.
Following and interacting with your competitors will give you an important insight into how brands should and shouldn’t act. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes and take inspiration from their successes.

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