3 Ways To Spy On Your Competition On Facebook

Good morning internet fans, Ryan Perry, Simple Biz Support. Today is Wednesday, August 12th, 2015, therefore it is Social Media Wednesday and I have Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing on the other side, good morning Sarah.

Sarah Giometti: Good morning Ryan, how are you?

RP: I am doing fabulous; if I could get my darn microphone to work I would be much happier. So again, if my audio if sounds a little funky this week, it’s a technical issue ’cause I upgraded to Windows 10 and I cannot use my microphone unfortunately right now. So I do want to apologize for the sound quality, if it’s a little off today. We… On the other hand, you have a new microphone, so you sound awesomer, or more awesomer. I gotta make sure I use really correct good English here and say that you sound more awesomer today than usual.

SG: Thank you, thank you. Yes, I have not upgraded to Windows 10, I figured… ‘Cause there were… Well, I was afraid of losing drivers, ’cause it was so new. So I figured they’re giving you a free upgrade for a year, so why not sit on it for a little bit. I’m glad I did now.

RP: Wait till it’s $99 and… No, I’m just joking. Actually the upgrade itself went very smoothly, I love the layout of Windows 10 over eight that’s for sure, but there are some minor glitches, nothing major. But let’s talk about social media, and specifically we’re gong to talk about Facebook and how you can actually spy on your competitors. For me this is kind of a cool one, not because I’m weird that way and that I need to spy on competitors, but I’m not a big fan of reinventing the wheel. And I believe that two brains are stronger than one brain, you and I collaborate on a lot of things and it just seems like we come up with a much better product at the end when working together, verses me just sitting on my own. So it’s like, well, why not see what your competitors are doing that are in your same space? And it’s not that you need to copy them, however I’m sure you can get some great ideas by looking at what they’re doing. So the question is how do we do that easily? And we’ve actually got three solutions for you today.

SG: We do. I totally agree with collaboration, it’s a pitfall of being an entrepreneur; you tend to kind of stand on an island a little bit. So it’s… Your ideas, you might hit a wall with your ideas. And so, that’s why it’s been great you and I share an office, we collaborate on a lot stuff, and it helps the creative juices flowing. So the three tips we’re gong to go over, the first one is an app that you can use called ShareGrab. And what it does is you put in your competitors, and it looks at their posts and kind of ranks their most successful posts. And so you can see what’s working and what’s not working. And not that… Like Ryan said, not that you want to copy exactly what they’re doing, however it might get your juices flowing of similar content that you could do for your followers that would get good engagement.

RP: Right. That and I think that any time you look at the way businesses do something, whatever it is, typically out of that evaluation you’re going to get some good things and you’re going to go, “Ah, maybe I wouldn’t do things that way, but hey, let’s pull the good things out of that and use them to better and improve what we’re doing.”

SG: Right. And this should help you, if your competitors are doing a good job on Facebook; this should help you come up with more engaging content which will just benefit you and your followers that much more. So like I said, don’t steal exactly what they’re doing. Although, if they’ve posted something that’s not their own content, they’ve shared a link that you think is really beneficial to your clients, go ahead and share that too, but for the main goal of this is to see what type of content they’re posting and what’s working and what’s not, so you can refine your own strategy.

RP: Okay. Now that’s a separate app, but within Facebook itself isn’t there way that you can actually follow people?

SG: There is. So using the Facebook Graph Search you can create custom lists, and see… And you can put your competitors in there, or you can do a lot of things. One of the examples are you can do pages liked by people who like your competitor’s name. I could put in there, ’cause technically Ryan and I are competitors, I could put pages liked by people who like Simple Biz Support and it’ll give me an entire list of the pages that his fans typically like. And the advantage of that is you can start to read and get a gauge on your audience, to see what their likes are. So if you see a whole bunch of them like a certain TV show that you happen to like too, maybe post about it, how you’re excited it’s coming back soon ’cause summer’s almost over.

SG: It’ll help you get the ideas doing that, and you can also… Sorry, I’m looking at my notes, which are on the other screen. There’s a lot of queries for this, but you can also add them as a list. You can just add all your competitors to a list on Facebook. So it’s kind of like a modified version of your newsfeed. And so, you add them all to the list, so then you just go to the list and you’ll see everything that they’re posting. That’ll also should help you get ideas for what you should post, and what’s working and what’s not working.

RP: Alright. That’s something just as a side note, you can do on Twitter also, you can categorize and make different list of things, and if one of them happens to be your competitors to see what they’re actually tweeting about, that’s another place you can get some content ideas.

SG: Right. And it’s actually how people use Twitter more powerfully, is by utilizing those lists heavily. Putting your… The thought leaders for your industry into a list, so you can see what they’re posting, engage with them. Re-share or re-tweet their content, stuff like that. You can do it by topic on Twitter and you can do it… Facebook, with the Graph Search. Do a little search for Graph Search queries and there will be a million blog posts out there for examples of different types of queries that you can do on Facebook to search through the data because with over a billion users the amount of data there is incredible.

RP: Right, and it’s just a matter of going out and finding it, and that’s one of the cool things. And I don’t know if a lot of people are really familiar with Graph Search on Facebook, maybe that’s a topic we should cover later on, is how to actually use it because there is a lot of information and it is a very powerful tool.

SG: That is a great idea, Ryan.

RP: Thank you. I’m here for… I’ll be here all week, as a matter of fact.

SG: That must be good, you do a how-to and run through some of the typical graph searches that would benefit a small business owner like the… And the one that we mentioned, it really is easy. If you type the word “pages liked by people who like” and type in the name of your competitor or whoever you’re searching for and you’ll get a whole list of it. So that’s an easy, basic one to take a note of and remember.

RP: Alright, perfect. And then, number three.

SG: Number three is Post Planner which we talked about before. Does some of the similar stuff that…

[chuckle] I’m trying… I haven’t had coffee today, what was the first one? ShareGrab. I want to say stub grab or something like that, I don’t know why. It does similar things as ShareGrab does is that you can create folders and feeds for your competitors and they also rank by virility so that you can really track it all in Post Planner and see if some of the content that your competitors are posting you’ll want to post as well and it keeps it… If you’re using Post Planner that’s a great place for you to do it. You already paid for it, it’s already there, you’ve already done your research and you’ve been building your folders and your feeds for content ideas so it’s a good place to create the links and track your competitors in there as well. You are mute.

RP: Thank you. Yeah, I was just gong to log into Post Planner real quick and show you all, it’s a tool that I like. I’ve been using it for a while and I just need to get to the right link here before… What do we got here? We got about five minutes left so I got time. Let me do a screen share real quick, if I can find my screen share button. And we should be sharing right now. So what’s really neat about it is that you can create individual folders and then at the folder level this is all at the top content and this is what Sarah was talking about. That it basically has a five star rating system based on the number of likes and shares that the content has. So right now the big news in social media is Google reorganizing and Sundar Pichai is the new CEO. So this is the hot topic right now and this particular one from Guy Kawasaki is four hours old, and I know that somebody else had posted similar content a couple a days ago.

RP: But it’s interesting how people call me in the middle of a live broadcast. It’s interesting how you get somebody who’s a thought leader like Guy Kawasaki and then all of a sudden he shoots to the top. And this is an article that’s actually been out for a couple days. The other thing I want to show you though is that within social media, here’s Provaro marketing as an example on Twitter. I can actually see all the content that you’re posting on Twitter. I don’t think I’m following you… Yep, I do have you on Facebook also.

RP: I can also follow you on Facebook, and let me group this. And there’s nothing exciting apparently on Facebook these days, sorry. Then, I can categorize everything. I’ve got social media, I have some stuff in here for SEO, and then also I’m a big fan of video, so there’s some people that I follow in video.

RP: But what I really like about it is I can click on the individual if I want just Facebook or just Twitter I can do that. I can also do just an RSS feed if I want to follow their blog. Or if I have a group of people I can actually see what the whole group is doing and who’s got the top content for right now. And you’re muted now.

SG: Yeah. So that, if you’re already using Post Planner, since we talked about it before, that’s a great way for you to also track and watch and see what your competition’s doing. See how often they’re posting; see how much success they’re having. So you just want to not… I reiterate, not steal their content, but you can utilize it to get your creative juices flowing and ideas. Especially if you start feeling like you’re hitting a wall and you’re getting stale on your social media efforts, these are great ways to see what your competitor’s doing ’cause they’re in the same industry, they’re… If they’re killing it. Maybe they’re not killing it then that just makes you feel better ’cause you’re doing a way better job than them. So it’s a win-win all around.

RP: Yeah. The other thing, we were talking about this yesterday in the office is a different way of connecting with people when you don’t know somebody. Typically social media says you should always walk into the party, wherever that social media, if you’re on Twitter, and listen first. And then find out what’s going on and then engage in that conversation. And just like at a private party, if you go to a chamber mixer, if you happen to connect with somebody who’s an influential leader, you, by associating with them, when that brings you in its media also.

RP: So somebody like Guy Kawasaki, I can go in and share his information on my Facebook feed, also my Twitter feed. By doing that I’m associating with Guy Kawasaki. If I build up a good enough relationship by commenting on the things that he says, by re-sharing, his audience is also going to see that when they come and check out my page and they’re going through and doing a little bit of research and they go, “Wow! Simple Biz Support and Ryan have been posting content about Guy Kawasaki.” There’s a certain level of association that people give you credibility so it’s easier for them to say, “You know what, I’m gong to like this page also.”

SG: Right. And then also, if people know who the thought leaders and industry leaders are in your industry, and you’re posting their content, it’s also showing that you’re paying attention to your own industry and you’re staying on top of what’s relevant and what’s new. And so, it also adds another level of expertise and credibility to you that you’re paying attention to the people who are leading your industry and educating yourself on a regular basis to stay at the top of your game.

RP: Yeah, totally. Okay. Well, tell you what, we’re almost out of time. Why don’t you recap the top three real quick and we’ll finish out this week. And then, next week we’re gong to talk about three tips also but for a different social media platform.

SG: Right. So one, look at ShareGrab to put your competitors in and they’ll rank your competitors’ posts to see what’s working and what’s not working. Two, play around with Facebook Graph search and lists. And again, find spy on your competition a little bit see what they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not working. And number three is if you’re using Post Planner or if not, take a look at Post Planner, it’s really inexpensive and cost-effective for small businesses. It’s pretty powerful and you can utilize that to follow your competition and see what they’re posting and what the interaction is on all of their posts.

RP: Yeah, definitely. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Post Planner, I’m not a paid celebrity athlete of Post Planner or anything like that. I just think it’s a pretty cool tool and it’s simple to use and it just gives me a lot of information in one spot. Not to say that when you go directly into Facebook on their Info-graph… Or their, not their Info-graph, they’re… What’s the word I’m looking for?

SG: Graph Search.

RP: Graph… Thank you. That is also a very powerful tool because now you can really narrowly define exactly what you’re looking for. And if you’re an Excel spreadsheet data nerd like that, totally up your alley. So with that, we’re out of time. Everybody watching, thank you very much. Next week, we are gong to do a three tip also and it’s gong to be around Instagram. And these are gong to be three tools that are really gong to help you have a better presence on Instagram so you can improve your performance there. Sarah, as always, I appreciate your time and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

SG: Thanks, Ryan. Have a good day as well.

RP: Alright, everybody. That’s it for the show. Take care. We’ll see you next week.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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