If you’ve ever caught yourself looking over your shoulder in business, thinking the “other guys” were moving in on your sales, or maybe you were just wondering what you could be doing to outdo the competition – then this is for you. Through the wonders of Facebook, everything you need to know about your biggest rival is hiding in plain sight! Here are 6 sneaky ways to spy on your competition through Facebook.
1) Use Facebook Search to Seek & Destroy
Before you can even scratch the surface of a sales strategy, you need to know who the competition is. Start with a few basic keywords about your business, and go to search.fb.com. Enter the keywords into the search field, then filter results by clicking Pages on the left hand side. This should give you a list of Business Pages related to your keywords – your competitors.
[Note: Facebook Search is rumoured to be next on the chopping block for Facebook renovations. It’s not the best search option, so hopefully they can make it work better soon!]
Not finding what you’re looking for in Search? Here’s a Pro Tip:
Step away from Facebook for a moment, and go to Google.com. In the search bar, typesite:facebook.com keywords — where you’ll replace “keywords” with the keywords related to your business (i.e. Web Design Melbourne). What that does is run a search on Google for every instance of your keywords that appear anywhere on Facebook. This is a lot more information than you would get from Facebook, but if you’re struggling to find a list of competitor pages to start with this is a really powerful tool.
Jot down a list of the Facebook Business Pages that look like the biggest threats to your company – next we’ll look at how you can learn from the competition. Once you’ve done your competitor analysis for Facebook, the rest will be easy.
2) Favourited Pages
With the new Timeline Layout, Favourited Pages are now more prominent (and easy to spy on) than ever! What are Favourited Pages? They are the Pages that one Business Page has said that they ‘like’ and chosen to have highlighted on their own Page. More often than not, these Favourited Pages are going to be the industry or local leaders in your field. So if Random Joe’s Page doesn’t have much information for you, the Pages that Random Joe’s is interested in might. Use the Featured Pages list to find the big fish competitors.
3) Spy on Their Most Popular Content
Now we’re starting to get sneaky! Take an assessment of your competitor’s content they’re posting to Facebook. Are their blog posts falling flat? Are the fans going wild over company photos? Pay attention to the type of content they’re posting, how frequently they’re posting what, and most importantly – how their fans are reacting to it.
Being a Competitor Page, it’s probably safe to assume that your audience would react very similarly to the same content. Make a list of strengths of what they’re posting — anything you like about their Page — and apply those ideas to your own Page. Don’t steal content outright (you won’t gain anything from that!), but maybe your competition is has brought up a topic you hadn’t thought to address, or recently posted a blog about a something you disagree on. Keep an eye on what they’re doing that doesn’t work too. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes! Posts that are being met with negative comments or worse, silence!, you can learn from and keep them off your Page.
Remember that the #1 goal of your Facebook Page should be getting eyes on your message, and if fans are interacting with your content then no one will see it. Learn more about Facebook Edgerank.
4) Outdoing Offers & Promotions
Spying on competitor offers is nothing new – brick and mortar stores have been doing this for years with secret shoppers and price matching. With Facebook, however, keeping an eye on your competitors’ specials is easier than ever. Watch out for what your competitors have on offer so you can stay two steps ahead. While getting into a price war on a particular item is likely a bad idea, if your competitor is offering one product on special this week, that means you also know what items are NOT on special. Take advantage of this by making sure that when the competition zigs, you zag – making your offer unique on the market.
5) Listen to THEIR Fans
Facebook Timeline makes comments from Facebook fans much less obvious than they used to be, but they’re far from invisible. Click on ‘Posts by Others’ at the top of the right hand column of your competitor’s Timeline. This will bring up a list of every comment someone has left on your competitor’s Page. (You can also add ?filter=2 to any URL to see them all on one screen, so https://www.facebook.com/Web123.Website.Builder?filter=2 does the same thing.)
Focus on the topics of conversation: Are they singing your competitor’s praises? Complaining about service? Asking for a quote? Just as important as what the fans are saying, note how your competitor has responded to each comment. Make note of what the fans are asking for and how your business might better be able to resolve those problems.
6) Advertise to your competitors fans
Bonus, super sneaky trick for competitor analysis for Facebook!
Did you know that you can run ads on Facebook that are specifically targeted to people who have liked your competitor’s Page? Being sneaky has never been so easy!
As you’re setting up a Facebook ad, after you’ve specified the type of ad and the basic details of who you’re wanting to target and where, you’ll see an option to type in Precise Interests. Enter the name of your competitor’s Facebook Page here. That means that your ad will only be visible to fans of your competitor’s page. Brilliant! This tactic works best for the big competitors, so if you’re looking to take a jab at the Corporate Giants of your industry here’s a great way to do it.