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Hi, I’m David, managing partner at Zoot Marketing. Part of our client on-boarding experience is to review and audit client competitors.

If you are like our clients then you want to know as much as possible about your competitors successes.

I am sharing 7 or the most important tools we use to get you started. Not only should this be a part of your social media and lead gen start-up strategy, but you should be looking at what your competition is doing on a regular basis.

Many of the tools we use are FREE. Here are some of our top picks.

- On your competitors web site, look at all social media icons and click your way through. 

  • Look at their posts, likes, shares, and comments for each post. What do you see?
  • Do you see clients, staff, others commenting, sharing, and liking? Is this consistent across most posts?
  • On social media are there links to their blogs?
  • Content: Imaging, video’s, text?
  • How often do they pitch product?
  • If they are on Facebook, do they have an online Facebook storefront? What about SMS and a way to contact them? How many followers do they have. Over time does the number of followers change?
  • Look at their 'ABOUT' sections.
  • On LinkedIn, look at employee profiles and your competitors business pages. Look at engagement, followers, posts, etc.

- Set up an excel sheet and track the data you can see on social media. Do this once a month.

  • Likes, posts, followers.
  • Track stats and changes from month to month. This will give you an idea of activity, what's posted, changes in followers, audience engagement, who's looking at their social media, etc.
  • Track by social media platform and list the SM URL's in your Excel sheet for easy access each month.

- Look at current blogs. 

  • How many are posted each month?
  • Do they use backlinks? Look for specifics related to media and industry.
  • Do they write original content and/or use 3rd party content or a paid service? An easy way to check if others use the same content, which would indicate that the content is subscription based, is to copy and paste a few sentences from the blog into Google search and see what comes up.
  • Do they have an opt-in form or pop-up CALL TO ACTION on the blog with a FREE offer to capture an email?
  • Look for keywords and hashtags.
  • Look at comments.
  • Do they have social media icons on blog pages?
  • Are there any CTA's (Call to Actions) - click them and sign up. Before you do make sure that you create an email that you can use that does not contain your name or business name. Set-up a new Gmail account that you can use over and over again. More on this later.

- Monitor mentions. One of the tools we use is called Google Alerts. This is a tool to track when your competitor is mentioned online.

- We also use MonitorBackLinks which allows us to see which backlinks your competitors use. 

- Have you tried SEMRush? Get organic, ad, and keyword traffic info by typing in your competitor’s URL.

- FEEDLY – can help you track your competitors’ content.

If I ask you who your competition is, focus on companies and brands who are most similar in size, target audience and geographical locations.

Look at the data rather than the specific content they are putting out. Without knowing this metric, you really cannot know how successful the content is. Look at top performing keywords and hashtags. Then look at the content.

Find out if your competition writes for any media outlets such as news outlets, industry sites, etc. Maybe they pay certain sites to post their articles and use a distribution portal or PR firm to write content, or distribute their content and articles.

Do they use email marketing services (EMS) and email campaigns. Create a dummy email account and sign-up. This is a great way to see what works.

YOUTUBE: Check if they have a YouTube channel. Watch their content and read the comments and subscribe using your dummy email login credentials for YouTube.

If any of the comments appear to be audience driven (the audience, you are after) do some research on that person. Then connect on their social media and start engaging with that person.

What do you see on YouTube that you can emulate? If they can do it, so can you. BIG TIP: YouTube is an incredible platform for SEO - so get it right. Put a link to a landing page with a call to action in every video description box you post.

This one hurts – social media is not selling so if you use social media to constantly push product, stop it - 10% to 20% product push, the rest is content. The less selling, the better otherwise you'll lose your audience. Your engagement and views will bomb. Social media is only about viewer relevancy - what your audience likes and not what you like.

Much of what we discussed deals with non-paid and organic traffic. If you want to research your competitions ad campaigns click here to download our FREE ebook "How to find your competitor’s online ads" >>

David Speyer Managing Partner Zoot Marketing

About the Author

Managing Partner, Zoot Marketing

David Speyer is a social media and lead-gen guru, coach, mentor, marketing strategist and managing partner at ZOOT Marketing.


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