It’s always handy to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to on Facebook, but manually tracking their number of ‘Likes’ can be a chore, particularly if you’re also keen to see how well people are engaging with their posts (arguably a more important metric).
One way to track your competitor’s total likes, as well as the top 5 performing posts for the week, is through the use of Facebook’s own ‘Pages to Watch‘ function.
The beauty of this tool is that not only do you see all of your competitors in a ranked leaderboard, you also see:
- how many posts they’ve made this week
- how engaged their fans are
- which posts were most effective across all competitors
By monitoring this data, you easily start to get a feel for what posts work really well for similar businesses in your industry. This type of marketing knowledge is golden, and is very easy to get hold of! On top of all of this, you don’t need to ‘like’ their Facebook page so your competitors won’t know you’re tracking them (they’ll just see a “another page has added your business as a page to watch” notification).
To get started:
- Make sure your Facebook Page has 100 Likes (otherwise you won’t have access to the function)
- Head to your Facebook Page’s Insights
- On the first page that appears, scroll down to “Pages to Watch”
- Look up your competitor’s Facebook Pages and add them to the list
Facebook Page > Insights > Scroll down on the Overview tab to find ‘Pages to Watch’
Note that Facebook tells you that you have to add a minimum of 5 Pages. I’ve found this not to be true – the ‘Done’ button is greyed out until you add 5 pages, but if you want to add less, just add what you like then click the ‘x’ to close the window. The pages will be added (tell me in the comments below if you find this not to be the case).
Once you’ve added the Pages, you’ll see them ranked in a table.
The key is to not focus too much on their number of likes, instead focus on how engaged their audience is (it may surprise you to see how well engaged the audiences of ‘smaller’ Facebook Pages are in comparison to those that have large numbers of likes gained through running large giveaways).
View the top performing posts by your competitors
Within your Insights, head to ‘Posts’ and you’ll see a new option for ‘Top Posts from Pages you Watch‘. This displays the top 5 performing posts by your competitors, clearly showing you the sort of posts that are working well.
As the table always shows posts from the last 7 days, it’s a good idea to check back once a week and take a screenshot of the top 2 or 3 performing posts. Do that for a month or two and you have a great collection of compelling Facebook posts for future inspiration!
Tip for those with multiple Facebook Pages
If you’re lucky enough to have manager access to multiple Facebook Pages, you can create a list for each page. For example, I work in the automotive industry so one of my Facebook Pages has a list of car dealerships in New Zealand that offer the same vehicles, another has a list of heaps of general car dealerships in New Zealand, and another has a list of the national manufacturer brand pages.
With those, I can keep an eye on what others are posting as well as monitoring how well our Facebook Pages are performing compared to others in the country. Pretty sweet.
Using lists to monitor your competitor’s Facebook posts
Another way to monitor your competitor’s Facebook use is to add their Pages to a Facebook List. Again, you won’t need to like their Page in order to do this. Instead of going to their page first before adding them to a list, simply create a new list and then look-up the pages that you want to add. Those pages will be added to the list regardless of whether you like them or not.
Once complete, you can swap out your newsfeed view for the list view (the lists are shown in your left sidebar). There are even settings to only display posts that contain images, links, etc. Keep an eye on this to see what your competitors are up to, or simply to keep abreast of industry news.
For some alternative reading, try Social Media Examiner’s article on using the Pages to Watch function, or, if your Facebook Page doesn’t have 100 likes yet (so can’t access the function), check out Dan Necklen’s post on Likeable.
Featured photo credit: Ken Fager