Facebook certainly helps us keep up with others, thanks to status updates, photos and milestones marked on a virtual timeline. It might come as a surprise that this information extends far beyond personal relationships, though. In fact, businesses can use Facebook to see just how their competitors are doing, thanks to a feature called Pages to Watch.
A Brief Introduction to Pages to Watch
Pages to Watch debuted in 2013, though it was much more basic then. As it does now, this feature allowed businesses to keep tabs on their competitors’ Facebook popularity. This came with a few issues, though. For one, you could only see how many likes your competitor’s Facebook page had — you couldn’t see any other statistics. It was also later discovered that your competitors could see that you were tracking them. This is the number one fear of all Facebook users who rely on the site to keep tabs on a business competitor.
Now, Pages to Watch are much smarter. They incorporate a slew of statistics that can help you compare your page to another more wholly. The data includes how many likes a competitors page has, as well as how wide their reach is and how engaged their followers are in what they post, among other points of interest. This data is refreshed each week, and Facebook won’t keep a log of it; therefore, you’ll have to keep up with it diligently in order to get the most out of it.
Decide Who to Follow
It’s hard to say exactly which pages you should keep tabs on, but there are a few places to start. Of course, you’ll want to seek out the competitors you face in your field. Knowing how well they’re doing in terms of engagement, for example, can show you how they’re successfully — and, perhaps, unsuccessfully — connecting with their followers. You can then incorporate this information into your own Facebook engagement scheme, improving upon their efforts and your previous plan.
You can look further than your direct competitors for the statistics you seek, though. Indirect competitors with similar business models might also be a valuable resource to reap. Imagine, for example, that you run an international degree evaluation service that helps immigrants get their academic credentials verified.
You might not find many other Facebook pages in the same business as you, so you’ll have to cast a wider net. Perhaps you could search for local study programs that welcome international students to see how they interact with and engage with a global audience. Then you can analyze the success of their efforts and incorporate your findings into your own plan.
Figure Out What to Look For
Again, it’s difficult to say exactly which data points will be most useful for you to look at once you’ve narrowed down the list of businesses that you’re going to follow. Perhaps the best thing to do is to compare their strategies and results with your own.
For example, you could look at the times of day that they post. If they’re updating on a different schedule than yours, is it more or less effective in terms of likes and replies? You could also check out the types of things that they post. It has been said before that businesses should steer clear of only posting text-heavy statuses. Is your competitor posting images, quotations or questions that seem to keep their followers interested? You can then incorporate these findings into your own plan to boost your own standing.
Of course, you might find that your competitor does a poor job at updating and engaging. While that might seem like it’s simply a confidence boost, you can use this information to your advantage as well: Avoid the strategies, tone, images, etc, that these faltering Facebook posts include.
Pages to Watch can help businesses large and small to improve their social-media marketing plan. Its rich collection of data shows just how well others are engaging with the potential customer base that you share. As previously mentioned, Facebook refreshes this data once a week, at which time you won’t be able to see previous statistics again. That’s just another reason to make it a point and a habit to keep up with the Pages to Watch. And soon, if you utilize your findings properly, perhaps yours will be a Page to Watch in its own right.
Images: Kit | Facebook