We love our competitors.
And our ‘listening’-in on their social conversations (and that of their audiences) comes from that deep, unqualified, unwavering emotion.
To be completely honest, we use them too, in our own engagement of social audiences. (Full disclosure, we use our own product Gnostics at the same time).
Complement, and Compliment
Actually we find our products are quite complementary. (Each having their own special, important, place in our universe). So when we say ‘competitors’ we actually mean our ‘perceived’ competitors, since we don’t really see ourselves as competitive at all. In fact, used simultaneously, our products can yield great rewards.
We use 6 main (mostly free) dashboards in our audience engagement activities concurrently, in varying browsers.
We start with our own dashboard, to identify and follow our competitors’ most influential followers and influencers. We often use two browser windows simultaneously with Gnostics and Buffer, or HootSuite, or Mention. (Actually we often use several dashboards simultaneously, with Gnostics as the constant).
Timing is everything
The rhythms of the social universe are constantly fluctuating, but patterns emerge on the time continuum. ManageFlitter, Buffer and Hootsuite each have great tools to understand the time-related patterns of the collective consciousness, and they each teach the importance of creating a Content Distribution Schedule.
Time is a flat circle
We target our social posts to our intended audience (on HootSuite, Buffer or ManageFlitter), on pre-determined topics, at predetermined times (often different tweets, content on each). We develop relevant content, adopt a rigorous distribution schedule, and we listen, engage, measure and repeat.
We try to move seamlessly between all three dashboards, in what we call our Adaptive Intelligence exercise.
Listen, engage, measure, repeat
Turns out, our intended social audience is already listening to our competitors. And our competitors are creating amazing content. Seriously professional work. We follow closely the HootSuite blog for some top notch advice, and professional insights. And we are constantly re-tweeting all of our competitor’s best tweets. Next, we develop our own content strategy, and voice. We try to make content that distinguishes itself and contributes our own value and perspective to the conversation.
We learn from our competitors, and their audiences. We reassess our own idea of who our audience is, what is important to them, and we engage with them across social platforms (using our competitors’ tools, as well as our own). And we relate the value of our own features and approach, hopefully in a relevant way. We always try to bring more value to our universe than we borrow.