If you are doing things right, you’re building your brand outside Amazon as well as within the platform. You have a blog, you have a Facebook page, you Tweet, you’re on Instagram. Your branding is consistent and it’s working.
But do you know how your competitors’ brands are positioned? It’s time to take a look.
First of all, check which platforms they use. Do they have their own website? Do they have a Facebook page? Check Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Also check whether each platform refers to the others. A Twitter account that leads to the website, or an Instagram account that links to Amazon, are far more powerful than isolated ‘silo’ accounts. If they have email newsletters, subscribe – you’ll see what they’re posting as soon as their customers do.
Secondly, check their frequency of posting. A Facebook page that has one post from 2018 is not really doing their branding any good. On the other hand, if they’re tweeting relevant stuff two or three times a day, and have a good long tail of tweets, they’re doing it right.
And thirdly, check how many likes each post or tweet or picture is getting, and how many followers they have. It may be that they’ve been tweeting like mad for a year, but if they only have three followers, it’s not working. You might also want to check the engagement rate – do their posts get loads of answers? Do they have customers joining in challenges like “post a picture of the weirdest pizza you’ve made using our baking stone”?
Now that’s the quantifiable side. You may have found that one or two of your competitors just really don’t have any proper marketing; even their website is just a placeholder with a splash page and a half filled in ‘about us’ tab. But with those that are using social media properly, let’s go on to the next level and look at how they’re going it, and what kind of brand they’re creating.
For instance, imagine two businesses sell a number of similar products – all kinds of baking equipment and kitchen equipment. But when you look at their social media, one of them is clearly addressed to people who just enjoy cooking – it has messages like “buy a Japanese damascened steel sushi knife – because you’re worth it”, while the other expects its customers to be chefs, restaurant owners and other professionals. Their messages are about durability, ergonomics, and efficiency, and when you look at their blog, it’s about consumer trends in the hospitality sector, and young chefs making a name for themselves. They are not really competing for the same sales – though their products come up together on Amazon.
Check the tone of the content, too. Some businesses have a quite humorous, irreverent tone to their communications, with a lot of street slang and exclamation marks. Others are cooler, more serious. It may be that in fact they’ve got it wrong, of course – that their tone isn’t working nearly as well as they think it is for their target audience. “Dropped baby on his head? Never mind, have a gin” is probably not going to go down well with young (or indeed, any) mothers.
That’s where checking back against the sales figures for your competitors’ products can be quite useful. If it’s not working… it will show!
There are quite a few lessons you can learn. Maybe you’ve fallen a bit short with your posting or engagement ratios. Maybe you should link your tweets to your website more often. Maybe you can even take a little move sideways to avoid competing head-on – if your competitors have missed an obvious market, they’ve left you some room to exploit!
Have a great week! The CashCowPro Team.