Social media today is about telling stories curated in the most compelling of ways to make an impression. It is about being part of the global community and is a big part of how we live, work, communicate, and engage with the world around us. Digital technology and its effects on our lives are hard to ignore.
Just like social media has pervaded our lives just like that, and brands know this. They know that social media affords them a more intimate, down-to-earth interaction with their target market. Social media competition today is as tough as nails but not impossible to overcome.
Therefore, brands need to outshine the competition by focusing on social media branding to get both followers and customers. One of those strategies is learning from the core of every business: the customers.
Social Media Impressions Can Lead to Conversions
A leader without followers is not a leader but someone who is just taking a walk. What makes, then, a business without competitors? Worse, what kind of brand or business would you be if you do not have customers? As Don Peppers and Martha Rogers said, “Without customers, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.”
In today’s customer-centric and highly competitive business sphere, businesses need to remain relevant and competitive by providing what their customers want and need for today and now. If you want your business to succeed, you need to learn from your customers, for better or worse, so you can sharpen your brand and the products and services you offer.
You need to optimize your customers’ experiences with your brand to see what strategies you did work well and what you should be dropping like a hot potato right now. The more you mold your products and services add value to your customers, the more they add value to your brand and gain loyal followers, even brand advocates, over time.
So regardless if you have a big business or a startup, learn how to listen to your customers to outrank your social media competitors.
10 Strategies to Learn from Customers to Outrank Your Social Media Competitors
1. Check your SMO and Website Analytics
Competitive analysis is a method that identifies major competitors and explores their products, marketing, and sales techniques. It helps in creating sound business strategies that produce better outcomes than your competitors did. It is a good way to overcome competition in social media marketing.
You can get page views, bounce rates, conversions, and even how visitors navigate your site or which devices they use to browse. You can adjust filters to focus on particular demographics like gender, age, buying habits, and the like.
Aside from Google Analytics, popular tools for competitive analysis are SEMrush and AHrefs. You can check out the SEMrush Competitive Research Toolkit or the Ahref SEO Competitor Analysis. Ahrefs provided a Google sheet template that you can adjust for your competitive analysis.
Once you get your data, translate it into campaigns for your social media platforms and your main website since both have to flow seamlessly together to increase your chances of getting leads and conversions.
2. Monitor your social media accounts.
Social media monitoring is crucial because it gives you insight into how others see your brand, whether positive or negative. It involves checking the social media platforms where your target market is or review sites and forums that mention your brand.
CRM tools like Salesforce and its SF DevOps suite and the like can be used to boost your sales effectiveness. For instance, Hootsuite and Buffer can schedule social media updates and provide analytics like share, likes, and most popular posts.
Tools like Mention can give you data on online sources and gives you notifications for brand mentions so you can join the conversation or forum.
If you want to monitor your campaign’s conversions, you can get Brand24 or Social Mention to track real-time conversions. Reputology, on the other hand, tracks and notifies you of the brand or product reviews you get from different review sites.
3. Improve your chat services, or start one.
24/7 chat services should be the norm now. Customers do not care as much if they are talking to a human customer representative or a bot, as long as their needs are met fast. You can automate your chat services so that customers are served immediately, even beyond your customer service personnel’s work hours.
You can also use WordPress plugins, so you have a reliable chat service right off your website. But what brings chat functions closer to your audiences is if you follow through on your social media platforms’ messaging functions.
It would help if you went beyond posting content. You need to engage with your social media followers, constantly check your messages, respond to queries, get product orders, or clarify your customers’ concerns.
There are close to 4 billion social media users just this year alone. That is out of a 7 billion world population. Social media is where people are at, and it is where your brand needs to be as well if you want to be more connected to your customers.
4. Read the comments on your blog, social media account, and online forums.
Do not shy away from reading people’s comments about your brand and your content. You can even gain customers from someone who gave you a negative review by handling the complaint or issue.
Customers get turned off with brands that handle negative comments tactlessly. Consumers are more discerning now. They can research about you and your brand even before they consider engaging with you. Today’s consumers do not just go for products or services but the brand behind them. Who you are as a brand can pretty much make or break your marketing and sales.
So instead of ignoring lackluster comments, respond to them graciously and positively.
Social Media Today, Edwin Huertas says, “Comments help ‘uncover’ your audience.” He says further that every comment serves as “a doorway that opens up tremendous engagement opportunities.” You should not back away from opportunities to engage with your customers, even if it is through sorting out negative comments about your brand.
Also, check comments on different social media platforms and forums. Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, and even Facebook groups can be a good place for you to learn from customers.
5. Utilize heatmaps.
Heatmaps are useful to track the movement of your readers’ eyes, where they usually click, and how they navigate through your site. It can give you an insight into how to design your website like a pro based on your readers’ preferences.
Again, the data you find in these tools should be optimized. If you notice a particular pattern on your webpage, like people read your blogs more if there are videos in it, add more videos to your content, not just on the web but also on your social media platforms.
Use original video content as much as possible. You can use tools to edit videos like a pro. There is a lot of online software available for you to create professional-looking video content that gets more engagement. You can get the duo design power of Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements, currently available at Softvire Australia’s year-end super sale.
6. Use strategic keywords.
Keywords are still important in improving the level of service you give to your readers. If you are not meeting their most recent search queries, you will not add value to their online experience. Not hitting the right keywords also puts your marketing efforts to nil because your audience cannot find you on the web or social media.
The right keywords boost your SEO ranking and drive engagement to your brand. You need to strategically use keywords out of products and services people are currently looking for in your niche. These keywords need to be echoed in your social media content and other marketing efforts.
The best way to compete, even with the big brands, is to focus on local SEO and local SMO. It means you will only concentrate and boost your efforts n your specific niche within your locality to maximize marketing and get the most conversions.
Also, check keywords for problems people are finding solutions for. If you see that your audiences are looking for productivity tools to transition to a work-from-home environment, put your best products that answer those needs and use the appropriate keywords, like “best pdf editors,” “windows 10 home product key,” and the like.
If people in your area require these specific digital products, they will still opt to go for local suppliers because the proximity guarantees they will be prioritized, get their orders faster, and are assured of reachable customer support.
You can also peek at the products from your competitors that people search for. Google Trends, WordStream, AnswerthePublic, Ubersuggest, and SemRush PPC Keyword Tool are great tools that you can use to conduct keyword research.
7. Interview random customers.
You can also tap into your customer’s list. Choose those that already engage with your brand regularly or from previous customers that never came back. Contact them and ask if they would like to help you improve your services by answering some questions, like why they like your brand and areas you can improve on.
You can also ask your previous customers why they did not come back anymore. Who knows that one conversation can encourage those customers to try your product out one more time, knowing that you intend to improve their customer experience.
If you have a physical store, you can try Sam Walton’s strategy when he stood in his Walmart branches’ parking lot. He randomly selected customers to talk to and insight into what they think about that particular store. Walmart is a bulwark in retail because they do listen and learn from their customers really well.
Even in the midst of the pandemic and social distancing restrictions, you can still utilize this social media strategy. You can start a conversation on your wall regarding the particular information you want to get.
For example, ask who availed of your latest sale or promotion and what products they wish to see on the upcoming sale. You are not only getting feedback from your past sale, but you also create anticipation and buzz for your next sale.
8. Use surveys or questionnaires.
There are WordPress plugins that allow you to inject a popup survey right on your website. Some customers take the time to answer surveys because more customers want to be more involved in the process than those who do not.
All the more if they have the option to fill it out anonymously, so they can be honest without any qualms of being judged for what they say.
You might say you’d rather know their identity to verify the comments. Although that may be helpful, in this case, you should be more interested in what customers have to say than getting their names. Remember that you are learning from individual customers to make services better for the collective whole.
But you can also leave an option for customers who are willing to leave their first name and an email address. This way, you can keep in touch with email marketing outreaches in the future.
Clearly define why you are taking the survey. Offer incentives for those answering your survey and design the survey well, like including a progress bar at the bottom of the page to show their progress.
Tools like SurveyMonkey make designing surveys easy and fast. However, a word of caution does not make your surveys too long, or you might lose your customers’ interest at the get-go to participate.
Share a link to your survey on your social media platform, together with incentives like discount vouchers for your next product launch, an e-book, or free access to a webinar on a trending topic for your niche.
Using multiple strategies seamlessly like this is smart because it optimizes the best of weaker strategies, like a survey, coupled with the strongest digital marketing strategies in your arsenal.
9. Do A/B testing.
A/B testings are important so you can pre-launch a campaign, learn insights from customer responses to which campaign, product, or service is the best, and then devote your marketing plans and resources to the more successful version.
“By presenting multiple landing pages and tracking what is generating the most interest and lead generation, you can gain greater insight into what your customers are actively interested in.”
11. Listen to customer complaints.
Bill Gates also encourages with this statement, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Again, customers want to be more involved in their buying process. Listen to customer complaints and, without bias, analyze the problems or issues they are presenting, and find ways to mitigate them or improve your customer’s experience.
Your social media platforms are actually the quickest way to get your customer’s thoughts about your product. You can use polls and surveys on a product, service, or campaign. Do this in bits so you do not overwhelm your audience. Follow through on email or encouraging click-throughs to your blog or a review site.
Conclusion: Happy Customers is Key to Overcoming Competition
Happy customers should be the goal of whatever digital marketing strategy you use. However, employ your strategies not just because you want to earn money. Yes, earning conversions is crucial to keep businesses going strong, but customers know if you are just after what’s in their pocket, or you are after them.
Knowing them, picking on their thoughts and opinions about your product and services, and hearing them out shows them you value them as customers. At the end of the day, you are reaching out to people, not just hands. You should be aiming for real connections and not just impressions.
The real connections you make are the ones that fuel a consistent inflow of leads and conversions to your brand, and social media is a great place where you can begin not just to overcome but outshine your competition.