Stop Worrying About the Competition on Facebook!

Guest post via Jenny Brennan of Virtual Office Worx, originally posted here.

Are you worrying about the competition on Facebook? In all honesty this is a natural reaction though, but don’t get so obsessed with “the others” that you lose your focus – this is not a great plan, take it from someone who knows.

I’ve spoken to so many business owner’s that spend too much time looking into the next field that it paralyses them from doing anything.

I feel that pain because I used to do the same, but this year I am GOING FOR IT!

Do you ask yourself these questions?

  • What is my competition doing?
  • How many fans do they have?
  • How much business are they generating from Facebook?
  • How much time do they spend on their Facebook Marketing?
  • Do they “buy” likes? (I’ll come to this later)
  • How much do they spend on ads?
  • What content are they sharing?
  • Where do they get their content?

Every time I get asked one of these questions I think of one of my favorite quotes-:

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Of course you can learn from your competition, but don’t get so focused on them that you forget about what you need to be doing.

Here are 5 ways that will help you to stop worrying about the competition and take control of your own Facebook Marketing.

#1 But My Competition Is Doing Better – STOP

Really? How do you know that for sure. You don’t know how many leads they get from Facebook or how many of these leads are converting into paying customers.

We all have a different perception of success.  If you see a competitor page with 1000′s of Likes is this what you are bench-marking yourself against?  Their likes may not be high quality, and many page admins get caught up in the vanity of numbers. So what “CAN” you learn from the competition?

About Section – Look at your competitions “About Section” and see if you have filled yours in effectively. This is a great piece of real estate that tells people more about you and your business.

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Update Frequency – Analyze the number of updates that your competition post. Posts only have a short time to be seen in the news-feed, so frequent posting is advised – but don’t over post or you’ll alienate your fans

Engagement – How much engagement do they get? Engagement really is key to success on Facebook, this is where you have an opportunity to build a relationship with your fans. Look at the number of engagements your competition gets per post and what type of posts they get the engagement on. Users on Facebook like to be entertained, educated and responded to.

The engagement on this post cost me less than €5 and I received 23 website clicks, 6 new relevant likes and 5 new email subscribers – not too shabby!

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Custom Tabs – Are your competition using custom tabs? What added value do they have that you don’t. Giving away a free e-book or special offer is a great way to build your email list and further develop the relationship with your fans. Include a sign-up form for people who want to hear more about your business.

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Competitions – How many contests are your competitors running? Are they timeline contests or run on apps. Contests are a great way to engage and reward your fans

The new feature on Facebook called “Pages to Watch” let’s you  add your competitions pages. This will give you a weekly overview of how many likes they are building by, but not much else. Personally I don’t find it a ground breaking addition and I fear people might get obsessed with the numbers game.

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You will find this option in your admin panel then simply add the pages you want to watch.

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The main reason I don’t like this feature is because Facebook are prompting you to advertise for more likes based on the numbers your competition have (see the bottom of the graphic). I’ll cover this a bit later, but you really should focus on attracting quality fans that will “LIKE” your page.

There are some great third party tools that you can also use to analyze your competition.

#2 Plan

Having a plan is going to be the secret to your success. Here’s a post I wrote in early January “Social Media Planning 2014 – 5 Hot Tips To Help Market Your Business”

Points you can list before you start :-

  • What are my goals? Increase sales by X% – Increase Engagement by X% – Build fan base by X% – Build list by X%
  • Audience – Who are they and do they spend time on Facebook?
  • Frequency – How often will I post and do I have the resources?
  • Content – What content can I share that will entertain, add value and educate my fans?
  • Budget – What is my Facebook ads budget for the year – it’s imperative that you have one no matter how small to start. This is due to the newsfeed changes, but as you can see from my example above a little can really go a long way!
  • Design – Who will set-up and design my page – what ongoing design costs might I have?
  • Competitions – How often will I run them and what prizes will I give?
  • Lead generation – What strategies will I use to drive traffic to my website, increase sales and build my list? Will I use automation tools?

Once you have brain stormed this one you can start to create a content calendar to keep you on track. 

#3 Your Audience

Stop focusing so much on the audience of your competition. If they are doing well and have a highly engaged audience the chances are they worked hard for it, so don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle!

Here are some things you need to think about:

  • Is your audience on Facebook? – Test this by breaking down your target market in Facebook’s Ads Manager.
  • Are they inherently social? If they are social you need to create content that will get them talking, liking and sharing
  • What kind of a journey are you taking your fans on?
  • What is your ultimate goal?
  • What are their interests?
  • How can you help them?

If you can answer these questions your well on the way to finding your perfect audience.

#4 Focus On “YOUR” Page

Focus is a key word that even I have to remind myself to remember. If you lose focus on your own marketing efforts because your so wrapped up with the competition, you are missing out. There is plenty of room in this big online world for everyone and relationships are built on the experiences you share with your fans.

Break down your focus into the following headings :-

Content Creation – How much can you create yourself? If you are a restaurant owner you are constantly creating so taking images and sharing them with your fans will be easy. If your B2B you need to be creating content that will help your audience, whether it be video, blogging or podcasts

Content Curation – What third party content will help your fans? Sharing other people’s content is a good strategy to building your network with influencers in your industry

Scheduling – How much content do you need to schedule. This goes back to what we covered earlier with post frequency. You need to make sure you’ll have enough content to go round without losing quality on your page.

Insights – Focus on your insights. What are your fans really engaging with and how will you create more of that content?  Great post from Emeric Ernoult CEO at Agorapulse on how you can Improve your Facebook Marketing using Insights 

Tone & Personality – Be true to who you are and what makes you tick. Show some personality on your page, your fans will appreciate it

#5 Pay to Play – The free party is over…

Right I’ve said it. Facebook is no longer a FREE advertising platform. In fact it never really was. If you were managing your own page or outsourced it to a marketing company or paid someone in-house – the fact is you were paying for their time.

Facebook Ads are highly targeted and the cheapest way I know to market a business – once you know how! Your competition may have 1000′s more fans than you and the truth is they are likely advertising on Facebook to build their audience.

In the early days of advertising we would place an advert in the newspaper or on radio and hope that our target audience was a percentage of the readership, and we would hope that that percentage might pick up the phone or come to our shop and buy. Don’t get me wrong both forms of advertising can work, and if you have the budget to compliment your Facebook efforts with traditional advertising then good for you.

Facebook Ads are great because they are:

Targeted – I can target people who are interested in my services & products

Custom Audiences – I can upload my customer list, create a custom audience and take it a step further create a lookalike audience and target people who look like my customers – #Strong

Value for Money – If I target well I can get great value for money attracting the right type of fans

When you identify your perfect audience you can start an ad campaign that has a number of objectives

  • Attract new fans
  • Engage my fans
  • Convert my fans
  • Drive traffic to my website

On an ongoing basis you can focus on the first two. Don’t forget about your content though and how it ads value to your fans or the strategies you can use to convert them. I always use the 80/20 rule – 80% third party non-selling content and 20% promotional content – this may vary for you and your competition.

I’ll be writing about each of these topics in the coming weeks in more detail and giving you examples of what has really worked for me. Once you’ve analyzed your competition please follow steps 2 – 5. I’d love to hear how your doing so please share your facebook page in the comments below and let’s connect.

In the meantime don’t forget to shine your fans will love you for it  Jenny 

About Jenny Brennan

Jenny is a native of Dublin now living and working in Co Mayo in the West of Ireland. She established Virtual Office Worx in March 2011 to provide business owners at home and abroad with outsourced solutions that they need when and how they need them. With extensive experience working for both small business owners and larger corporations Jenny has a broad understanding of the needs of business owners. Having worked in sales & marketing, office management and support roles, Jenny now provides a highly professional, flexible and efficient service. With a talent for spotting what you need before you see it VOW will ad value to your business by giving you back your time providing real practical solutions that you need. “We pride ourselves by offering a professional and flexible service that is accessible to both smaller and larger clients”. @VOfficeworx, Like us on Facebook or connect with me on Linkedin