It's all very well focusing on your market (customers), but occasionally it can be healthy to check out your competitors as well. Doing a little competitor research analysis certainly won't do you any harm, in fact it could be quite beneficial.
If you are a business owner, your competitors are probably always at the back of your mind. You worry about their latest developments, how well they are doing and how do they manage to win your customers away from you.
The answer is to take appropriate steps to find out more about what's going on, especially though social media, by using a clever method of commenting I'm sure your competitors are not doing to find out more about you!
Take a look at this infographic below:
<div align="center"><a href="https://www.thecommentingclub.co.uk/competitor-research-analysis/" title="How to use commenting for competitor research analysis" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.thecommentingclub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Use-commenting-to-research-your-competitors-3.jpeg" alt="How to use commenting for competitor research analysis" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Don't get left behind
Social media is often used by businesses if they want to keep an eye on what their competitors are doing. Really this is a healthy method of keeping up with the market, so they don't get left behind as the world moves on and their customers are enticed away to something new.
It is important to watch what is going on, not just the minutiae, but the bigger picture as well. Trends come and go, stimulated by a myriad of things, and if your company isn't on top of it, you could be seriously missing out on future sales.
Competitor analysis research is a necessary pursuit which every business needs to do regularly. It is important to know about new brands, competitor success and positive PR. And also the gossip behind the scenes, what their customers (and yours too) are saying about certain products, schemes and marketing initiatives.
The first thing is to listen
The best way to do this is via social listening. This is when companies go onto social groups and forums, and sit in the shadows to read, watch and listen to what's going on. The objective is to learn as much as you can about what your customers are saying, about both you and your competitors.
Waiting to understand the situation and gather as much evidence as possible is imperative before you join in the conversation. It's best to be primed with the necessary information before you make you move. Your approach should be gentle, considerate, empathetic, focusing on others and asking questions to fill in any gaps you may have.
Those who use social listening as a form of competitor analysis research are definitely stealing a march on their competitors. Knowing as much as you can about your customers, and what they think of your products as well as those of your competitors, is valuable feedback every company can benefit from.
The power of the question
The best way to do competitor analysis research is by asking questions. This is two fold – you are showing a lot of interest in the people answering the questions. And your questions should be phrased as open to allow them to talk unheeded. Asking the right kind of question can help towards the know, like and trust factor between you and them.
Your facts gathering stage allows you to suss out what their preferences are, whether they are satisfied with your or your competitors' products or services, and how eloquent they are at giving you relevant information. Therefore it is important to get the people you are 'listening' to on your side.
Your questions should be purely fact-finding, which means you don't reveal your purpose and which company you are from. This is not an opportunity to sell the latest product the business has just launched. You will get far better results if you take the softly-softly approach by prompting them to give you their opinions.
Solve their problems
Many businesses fail to realise social listening can be adapted and extended to include customer service. Often if a disgruntled customer cannot find what they want on your website, they may turn to social media instead to vent their grievances. I have often done this with large companies to get what I need from them.
Part of social listening is watching for any mentions of the brand, firm or product. There are a number of online applications which allow you to do this. Usually this is done through the use of hashtags, but relevant keywords should also be tracked if the customer isn't savvy enough to know which hashtags to use within their complaint.
They idea is to be able to act swiftly. Even a simple acknowledgement and apology can pay dividends. Ask more questions to find out the problem, quickly offer a solution to it, appropriately soothe ruffled feathers with some sort of compensation, and you'll have another satisfied advocate for your business.
Ask for their opinion
Now what has customer service got to do with competitor analysis research? Well, you could use social listening to find out about your competitors' customer service. How accessible are they? Do they respond quickly and effectively? Are they polite, accommodating and reliable? Do they respond promptly via social media?
During your friendly probing on social platforms, ask the people there for their opinions about your competitors' brand. What do they think about it? Do they like or hate it? Are there any preferences for other products (eg yours) as an alternative? Do they have any gripes and groans about both products, yours and your competitors'?
You could also turn things on their head and ask those in the group for their suggestions for improvements of your or your competitors' brand. This is something your business should jump on. Feedback from those who actually use the products is usually much more valuable than a research team could ever imagine.
Competitor analysis research comments
Commenting is about communication between the business and their customers. It is always a good idea to maintain some sort of social repartee with your customers to keep them on board. This will increase the trust factor in your brand, as well as making them feel important and wanted.
Get your customers to feel more involved with your brand by giving them special offers. Ask for user generated content in the form of photos or videos showing your products being used. You could also set up loyalty schemes to encourage more interaction and usage from your customers.
And any feedback provided through commenting should be suitably considered. This gives the business a chance to improve or transform the product or service, or even develop a new product to get ahead of your competitors. And then let these plucky customers know so they can also share in your new found success!