Keeping an eye on your competition is crucial. Nobody wants to be left behind and especially on social media, things change fast. By staying on top of what others in your field are up to, you’re able to measure your brand’s success against the market and aim to improve it. While you don’t want to get too hung up on what everyone else is doing, customers often use the social media landscape to compare brands. If you want to come out top, you need to be one step ahead of the curve. To do that, you have to set up a system to track tactics. A system which is easy to manage, review and action.
Do you know Twitter can be your best and fastest route to competitor monitoring? It’s free, highly visible and everything from customer service to new launches go down on the channel.
Here are five easy ways to monitor your competitors on Twitter.
1. Find and monitor your competitors
First step, find your competitors. If you’ve been in the industry a while, you probably already know who they are. From this, you can easily add them to a private Twitter list for monitoring. When you have a list, you can spend 5-10 minutes each day monitoring what’s going on and any developments in the market.
For example, if you were a social media agency you might want to create a list of other agencies who are doing the same work as you, aimed at the same target market.
Within a list you can view tweets or members, helping you to always stay on top of the pulse of your industry. This can also be a great source of inspiration for Twitter content, showing you articles or even ways of wording things that could make you more appealing to your target audience.
To find new competitors, or look outside the ones you know, you can use Twitter advanced search.
Choose a keyword that is likely to be contained within the bio of your competitor. For example “web design agency”. Hint: when adding this to Twitter search use the “This exact phrase” search box or add it manually containing quotation marks i.e. “web design agency”. This will prevent Twitter from looking for accounts which contain all of the words but in separate occurances.
Next, select “people”. This will seperate the accounts that show those terms from tweets or any other search parameters.
From this you can easily add new competitors to your monitoring list.
2. Drill down into competitor customer service
As well as monitoring what your competitors say you should also be monitoring what their customers say about them. Using Twitter user search, you can zone in on every tweet sent to your competitor.
To do this, in the Twitter search bar (or in Twilert) search to:user. For example, if you wanted to monitor everything being said to stationary brand KikkiK you would search to:kikkik. The @ isn’t included and unlike “Tweets and replies” which will only show you the customers KikkiK has been in contact with directly, the to:user search ensures you see every tweet sent to the brand.
By monitoring what’s being said by customers you can see the pain points, the complaints and the compliments. Not only can you keep an eye on where your competitors are standing in the market but you can also see feedback that may help you to improve or pivot your services and products. This is also a great time to find disgruntled customers who may be ready to jump ship. A simple follow, tweet or message could help someone out who’s the perfect customer fit for your company.
3. Find competitor keywords to monitor
There’s an average of 350,000 tweets sent per minute. In order to cut down on noise, you can create a list of keywords that are associated with your competitors to use in Twilert or Twitter’s advanced search. The list should include the obvious, such as competitor names and products, and more broadly associated words within the industry and relevant hashtags. This allows you to cut out the tweets that aren’t relevant to your competitors, making it quick and easy to keep an eye on the tweets that matter.
Using a tool like Twilert, you can create keyword and phrase lists for individual competitors or combine them as one. A few which might be useful include:
Monitor unhappy customers
By combining your competitor with the emoji :( you can easily find customers who have tweeted with a negative sentiment. For example to:waterstones :(
By combining your competitor with a question mark ? you can easily find customers who have tweeted a question that you may be able to help answer. For example to:waterstones ?
Monitor general industry terms
Monitoring general industry terms and phrases helps you to stay on the pulse of not just your competitors, but also journalists, news and influencers within the same industry. For example, if you specialise in marketing for Snapchat, a quick search of the word Snapchat allows you to see the latest news and articles around the topic. From here, you could retweet, share, reply or comment, all reinforcing your position as an industry leader.
4. Use Twitter monitoring tools
Two ways to save time on competitor monitoring is by employing tools to do half of the work for you.
Our tool Twilert allows you to save your searches and have them emailed to you at regular intervals. This cuts down on the time needed to manually create the searches each time and also remembers to do it, so you don’t have to.
Twilert allows you to monitor the volume of tweets received or sent by competitors. It can capture every tweet sent or received over a period of time and logs the history so that you can search tweets or refer back to them at any time. By sending you a digest of tweets by email, you can easily see the tweets you want to reply to, like or retweet and open them direct in Twitter, or you can discard the results which aren’t relevant to your brand.
Another Twitter tool is Followerwonk by Moz. This allows you find and analyse your competitor’s accounts which in turn, can help your own growth. The free version allows you to see who is following your competitor and their location. The advantage Followerwonk offers is that you can filter by number of followers, social authority and account age, thereby allowing you to choose the accounts with the biggest influence who may be interested in your service or product.
You can also compare accounts to view follower count, social activity and the comparison of followers between each.
5. Find competitor Klout scores
Klout is a system that uses social media analytics to rate its users according to online social influence. This is called the “Klout Score” and is a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher the number, the higher the supposed social influence of that user. Klout Scores have had mixed reviews in the past. Some journalists and customers will use them as a method to determine effectiveness online, whereas others will dismiss them as a number which doesn’t hold much weight in the real world.
Saying that, measuring Klout Score can be a useful way to benchmark your progress against that of your competitors. To discover your Klout Score you can install the plugin for free. Once installed, each time you log in to Twitter you’ll see a numerical value placed next to the handle of every Twitter user, as shown with Reuters’ “99” below.
The Klout system claims that a Klout Score is forever changing and is influenced by all of your social channels, so it’s worth making a note of the number at the start of your campaign and tracking its progression over time. Compare this to the score of your competitors to monitor changing influence and where your customers see you in the social pecking order.
Time to get into the Twitter trenches
Twitter should be social – this means you need to get in the trenches and actually speak to users! If customers, yours or your competitor’s, need help or have questions help answer them. Monitoring competitor tweets, social actions and progress will help you to plan and organise your own presence and improve on the type of content you wish to see.
All of this would be a missed opportunity without your new-found Twitter searching skills.
For a 30-day free trial of Twilert for tracking and monitoring your competitors, get started here.