Whether you are at the beginning of your startup journey, or you already have an established company, you can always find out a lot of useful information and tips from your competitors.
The first thing when you’re starting your business is to create a great competitive analysis. You don’t need it just because you will be able to compare your competitors’ products and features. Competitor Research and Analysis is literally a holy grail of every serious business.
From a great and resourceful competitors research, you can find out your competitors:
- Ability to adopt changes
- Resources (Team, Money, Investments, Mentors, Founders, etc.)
- Target Audience
- Unique Value Propositions
- Marketing and Sales strategies
- and many more.
Using your competitors Social Proof to validate and test your ideas and to create significant competitive advantages isn’t easy. It’s a long process (probably you will need at least 1 month, maybe a little bit more), but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
You will have a clear picture of your target audiences’ needs, your competitors’ solutions and you will know in what direction your website should go.
Finding your competitors’ social proof
There are numerous ways how can you evaluate your competitors’ social proof on the internet.
Let’s assume that you have in your competitors research all URLs of their Social Networks and distribution channels (If you don’t have, you should do it as fast as you can. It will help you and save your time a lot).
Today, on every Social Media or distribution channel we are using, we are communicating with our direct and indirect customers.
You don’t just need to watch your competitors’ social media content and the number of likes and engagement they have per post.
Use it in your advantage!
Now, we will go through a few Social Media and distribution channels. The principle is almost the same for all of them so you can replicate the process on other channels as well!
You are evaluating your competitors’ Social Proof and customer interaction on Facebook and Instagram.
In today’s world, almost every business has Facebook and Instagram accounts. The ones who don’t have one, are usually weak or they don’t have any profit from it, so they don’t want to waste their time on another channel as well.
The first thing you always see when you’re visiting someone’s Facebook or Instagram account is the number of followers. The larger the number is, the brand is more popular among its’ target audience.
Of course, we can see today a lot of Instagram and Facebook accounts with a certain number of fake followers. You can check the Real-Bad followers’ ratio very easy.
Look for an engagement rate. If the engagement rate is very low (Less than 2%), that either means that they have fake followers, or they don’t have engaging and useful content for their target audience.
Try to scroll a little bit through their followers base. If you see a lot of suspicious accounts, then it’s clear that they have paid for the followers.
At the end of the day, you can always use some of the free and paid online tools to check someones Instagram followers statistics.
When you determine whether they have real or fake followers, it’s time to see what are their customers saying about their brand.
On Facebook, you can check the reviews section, likes, and comments. On Instagram, the excellent tactic is to check the photos where they are tagged in and likes and comments.
This is quite useful because you can see what are their customers thinking about them.
There is less likely that someone will fake “all” reviews so you can find real and relevant comments about their business, product or features.
Keep an eye on your competitors’ Instagram profiles. It’s quite common today that brands reshare the photos and stories from their satisfied customers.
Use comments and reviews in your advantage. Read them carefully and collect all the relevant data from them. For example:
- What’s the rate of their business?
- What product or service is the worst?
- What product, feature or service is the most active part of their business?
- Find out frequent complaints and praises.
Use this data and pull as much useful information as you can.
The other great places where you can check for your competitors’ reviews are Craiglist, Airbnb, Product Hunt, AppSummo, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Google and other platforms based on the type of your business, niche, and industry.
Your competitors’ online communities
This is one of my favourite places to check my competition. Their online communities are the most significant source of learning about them.
The reason for this is that it’s very, very hard to fake communities.
So, where you can find your competitors’ online communities?
Look for following things:
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Groups
- Telegram, Viber and WhatsUp groups
- Forums, Medium, Reddit
Communities are places where are brands transparently communicating with their customers. So here, you can find out almost anything you want to know.
Keep an eye on the communication inside there. Look out for their customers’ questions. If are they regularly complaining about some feature, or if a lot of them want a new integration, then it’s the best time for you to present stand out!
On another hand, good reviews, comments and positive discussion will let you know what you should do in almost the same way.
The principle is always the same – if their customers are complaining about something – do it better! If are they delighted, do it in the same way!
Testing your idea with your competitors’ social proof
Here is one of my favourite parts.
Just like someone said – “go out of the building!”
Let’s assume that you’re right now starting your own company.
Collect, systemize and analyse the data you have gathered above.
Find out 20 – 40 of your competitors’ customers profiles.
Create an excellent and engaging survey (based on the “Mom Test” book about customer development), and reach out to them.
Ask them to complete your survey and to give their honest opinion. In reward, you can offer them six months or even 1-year subscription for your product, or 1 month with no charge for your services.
That can also be some e-book or valuable resources. It doesn’t matter what are you giving to them. It’s just essential to reward them with something. At the end of the day, they are your competitors’ customers. 🙂
Sometimes, you can test your idea with no survey at all. If you see for example that some of your indirect competitors (e.g. competitors who are offering the same type of service but on the other side of the world), doing great, then it’s very enough for your validation.
Just try to copy their process of building a good and enduring business as much as you can, and then even the sky isn’t your limit.
On another hand, if you want to add a new feature to your product, but you are not so sure will it work, you can do two things:
- Do customer development with your competitors’ or your customers
- Find some other company who is not your direct or indirect competitors who have the same or lookalike feature than you. See their social proof, and copy the process.
Sometimes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If we find out some practices which are working, we only need to copy them 🙂
Creating outstanding competitive advantages
Sometimes, what distinguishes some company from another one, is the ability to create better competitive advantages.
There are several ways how can you create great competitive advantages based on your competitors’ social proof.
As I have mentioned above, the process is quite simple: if they are doing good, copy it or make it even better to gain more profit and reputation. If they are doing wrong, do it much better to satisfy your target audience needs.
There are several types of competitive advantages:
Tell a better story
Today, people are following and engaging mostly with stories. Stories are moving us forward.
Bring your brand’s story closer to your target audience so they can identify themselves with it.
Bring more value to the table
Yeah! That famous word – value! Value it’s pretty relevant today.
It’s very unlikely that you will have zero or just a few competitors. Usually, you will have a bunch of them.
Let’s take Digital Marketing Agencies for example
You can find out thousands of them. But the real difference between the best one, second and the worst one, is in the value they are sharing with their established and indirect customers.
Provide more value to your target audience. Write actionable content, publish some ebooks and extensive guides frequently.
Updating your pricing plans
No, I’m not talking here about you being cheaper. Instead of that, I will show you one fantastic way and tip to gather more customers, test your idea and be better from your competitors.
After you found out your competitors’ social proof and the features which are important for their customers, it’s important to offer to your and their customers a little bit more to gain their attention.
So, what do you think about adding your competitors premium features into your free or basic ones?
It’s a damn great strategy! Try to check it out!
It will help you to build your relationship with customers and to offer more actionable value to your customers which will improve your ratings and social proof.
You are monitoring your competition as an ultimate way to create competitive advantages.
There is no better strategy than being always one step ahead of your competition.
Knowing what your competitors are doing or what are their strategies is crucial if you want to beat your competition.
Competitors Monitoring will help you to first find out your competitors newest updates, news and actions. You can gather more information on their services and internet marketing strategies.
Competitors App is a useful tool for monitoring your competitors’:
- Social Media
- Keywords and SEO
- Website changes
- Newsletters and PPC campaigns
Give it a try 😉
In short – always listen to your competitors’ customers.
Ok, if you are reading this, then you have probably learned how to use your competitors’ Social Media interactions, their communities, and reviews in your advantage.
Creating competitive advantages isn’t rocket science for you right now. The most important part of almost any business is to listen to it’s and its’ competitors customers.
Learn how to collect valuable feedback from both sources, and how to use the most of it!