Some of us, admittedly, use social media to look up people from our past – ex flames or our high school peers. But this ability isn’t limited to individuals; it works for companies, too. Platforms like Instagram are great ways to see what your competitors are doing. Once you know that, it’s easier to keep up.
So, how do you use these sites to your advantage? Log on and consider the following:
Determine Industry-Wide Topics and Hashtags
Hashtags, as everyone but our great grandparents know, are all the rage – they are used to help topics go viral, get people talking, and draw attention back to a site or business. Determining which hashtags your competitors are using on Instagram helps you identify trends. And this identification does two things: it prevents you from missing out on any hot topics, and it arms you with the ability to see what’s coming down the pike. When you know present trends, you’re better able to predict future ones.
Make a Note of Photos that Work
Instagram is a more pictorial platform than Facebook. While the latter uses status updates, the former speaks in photos. This reflects what people want; we’ve increasingly become a visual society. Still, not all photos draw likes, complimentary comments, or enthusiasm from influencers. Taking note of which photos speak to customers and which ones don’t say much at all is a good way to gauge the kinds of things you should be posting. Of course, you should also note how often your competitors are logging on – do they post a few times a week or a few times a day? If they post frequently, you may have to up your game and follow suit.
Look at Optimal Times
Posting on Instagram isn’t enough to get seen – it doesn’t only matter what you post, but when you post. Some days and times are better for reaching certain demographics. You probably don’t want to post too many images at five a.m. unless you own a company that sells coffee, for example. Using Instagram to see what your competitors post and when lets you keep track of which days and times generate the most engagement.
Consider Outside Software
You can research competition on your own or ask one of your employees to go into the trenches on your behalf. However, using outside software is sometimes easier. For example, companies Talkwalker are designed to dissect social media analytics, however they are generally not free. But, they will save you time, potentially making it worth your dime.
Instagram, and other similar platforms, is a valuable tool that shows you exactly what your competition is up to. More importantly, it shows you what’s resonating and what’s not. And that allows you to move in the right direction towards your own success.