Step Up Your Social Ep. 10 — Facebook Wants You To Know What Your Competitors Are Doing... So Does Google
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly?
Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature.
So let’s dig into Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.”
Afterward, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet, including mailing lists, other social channels and the almighty Google Alerts.
Full Episode Transcript
Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well, so that you could grow your own business accordingly? Facebook has a free feature, available to all Facebook Brand pages, that might as well be a magic wand. Yet so few brands are taking advantage of this simple, powerful and important feature. So let’s dig in to Facebook’s “Pages To Watch.” Afterwards, we’ll cover some other helpful and free tools you should be using to keep tabs on your competitors across the internet. But first up: Pages to Watch.
To access this great feature, go to your brand’s Facebook page. At the top, you will see a menu bar including the following items: Page, Inbox, Notifications and then Insights. Click there. If you haven’t been to your insights yet, you are missing out on a ton of valuable information. We’ll do some more deep dives into Facebook Insights down the road. But for now, let’s just stick to this particular tool.
Once you’ve clicked Insights, you’ll be on the “overview” page. Scroll down to the bottom and you should see a section called “pages to watch.”
If you have never been there before, chances are Facebook has auto-populated the section with pages they think you might want to watch. If they guessed right, great. If not, simply hover over the number on the left and you can delete it from your list.
To add new pages, click the option to “add pages.”
Once you have your pages set up, you’ll see some very basic data: the name of the page, it’s total page Likes, the percent it grew from last week, how many times they posted this week and what their engagement this week has been. None of those data points are all that useful. BUT, if you click on the name of any of the pages, something interesting happens.
Facebook opens up a pop-up box and shows you that page’s top content from the past week. Top content in this case means that it had the highest combination of reach and engagement of anything that page posted this past week. And you can scroll down and see all of their content from the week, ordered by how popular it was for their audience.
Quite a feature, right?!
Bear in mind, when you follow a page, they have no way of knowing you are doing so. So if you want to know what is working for your competitors, without having to continuously go back to their page and scroll through their feed, you can just pop on over here every couple of days and easily keep tabs on them.
If you see that several of your competitors are sharing an article or a meme and it is resonating with their audiences… well don’t steal their content. But definitely do be inspired by it!
The content that is working for your competitors will probably also work for you. Follow along, learn, and create your own content accordingly.
And here’s the thing, while of course you should be watching your competitors, don’t limit yourself to them. Follow influencers in your field, relevant journalists or publications, even high value customers if you they are using brand pages.
Figure out who’s success you most want to track, and then spend a few minutes setting up your Facebook Pages to Watch. It will be an amazing tool you can use indefinitely moving forward.
While we’re on the topic of tracking your competitors, influencers, high-value customers and the like, let’s cover a few ways to do so outside of Facebook.
First of all, if the people you want to follow have public mailing lists, sign up! There’s no better way to know what they are excited about, then to see what they are sharing with the people they care about most. It probably goes without saying, but you might not want to use your company or organization’s branded email to sign up for a competitor’s email list. So use your gmail address, or create something new specifically for this purpose. While it might seem weird to be on their list, don’t forget, unless they are limiting sign-up (and this is important: don’t lie in any way to get on their list!) they know that their list is public. And chances are, if you have an email, they’re on it! As far as influencers and relevant journalists go, you can use your branded email or not. Your call.
In episode two of this podcast, we covered the power and the importance of twitter lists. Twitter lists are a great way to follow relevant accounts. And you can use private lists to do so under-the-radar, even if your brand isn’t using Twitter as an outreach and communications tool. Go back and listen to that episode for more.
There are also plenty of third party tools out there that will track keyword mentions and send you alerts when those keywords pop up online. Some are free, most are not. But one powerful one that is free is google alerts. If you haven’t set up google alerts yet, you should do so immediately.
To do so go to google.com/alerts. Once there you can put in some relevant keywords and let google know that you want to receive email alerts whenever those words are used online. It’s important to know that google alerts don’t track content from social media platforms, so don’t expect to see Facebook or Twitter mentions on there.
But if someone mentions you or your brand in a blog post, or on their website, Google will usually catch it and send you an alert.
And here’s the thing, you can select if you want google to send you an alert as a mention happens, or to instead send you a daily or weekly digest of all mentions. For your brand, you should get those alerts as they happen. Unless people are talking about your brand numerous times a day, you want to know you’ve been mentioned as soon as possible. But if you also want to use them to track competitors, industry keywords, influencers and the like, you might not need them rolling in as they happen and you can opt to receive those alerts as part of a daily or even weekly round-up. The choice is yours.
One other cool thing you can do with google alerts is set them up for high value clients so that if that client gets an award or someone writes a story about them, you can be amongst the first to reach out and congratulate them. Alternately, you can let them know if you find something problematic that they might want to deal with
The tools are out there for you to keep tabs on the internet. The set up is relatively simple and the rewards can be immense.
So I’ll finish this episode with the same question I started it with: Don’t you wish you had a magic wand you could use to see what your competitors were doing well? Turns out, you do! You just have to take a moment and set it up.
I don't know about you, but I use Apple Notes constantly. I love them for a bunch of reasons, but primarily: they are always with me. And I mean always.
I can jot something down in Notes when at my computer, and through the magic of the iCloud, my Notes are there waiting for me on my iPhone or iPad whenever I need them. And vice versa of course.
Not only that, you can use shared Notes just like you use Google Docs, shared between people.
Sharing Apple Notes
The primary difference between Notes and Google Docs on your phone (in my experience)— Notes are much more seamless. You can practically see things happening in real time between devices, unlike with Google Docs where the phone lag-time can be significant.
To invite someone to collaborate with you on a Note, click the "add a person" button, which looks like this:
You can then add people via email, text message, AirDrop or by sending them the link in the platform of your choice. You'll know it's a shared note from this little icon:
And now, just like a Google Doc, anyone with access can add to, edit or delete items in your shared Notes.
Locking Apple Notes
Sometimes you want a safe space to put things in your phone where you know that no one can access them, even if you hand over your iPhone, iPad or computer.
Apple Notes is also the solution for this little problem.
Want to store passwords or... well, whatever... throw it in a note and then right click in on your computer or swipe left on your iOs device and you'll get the option to Lock the folder. When you do so, every time you want to access it, you'll have to input your device's password. Which is crazy convenient if you use fingerprint or face ID!
When a Note is locked, it will be designated by a little lock icon.
Clean Up Your Notes Using Folders
I told you I use Notes a lot. And for a lot of different things in my life. So of course, I have a lot of different Notes.
Folders allow me to separate out my Notes by category. I have a folder for personal Notes, another for work Notes. You can have as many as you want, which makes for really quick and easy scrolling. And of course, if you can't find what you are looking for — like with anything else Apple — you can always search all your Notes by the search bar at the top.
You can also pin your primary Note to the top of your folder, to ensure easy access to your most important data.
Notes Have Great Formatting Options For Such a Simple Tool
You can create bullet points, numbered lists, and indent right as needed.
You can make text bold, italicized, underlined and all that fun stuff.
You can also add in tons of great tools, including tables:
You can even scan documents, or add in a photo or video directly into your Notes!
Didn't You Say Something About Checkable Bullet Points?
I sure did! Don't get me wrong — I LOVE all of the features I have laid out above. But the reason I'm writing this post is because I just learned something new about Notes and it's already helped me seriously step up my Note game.
We write ourselves lots of reminders: Buy milk. Email client. Finish report. Some of these are one-off tasks. But many of them are recurring.
For years, I've been deleting items that I finished, and rewriting them when it was time to do them again (pretty standard for a grocery list for example). Well no more!
With this one tiny hack, you can now write those tasks out once, and then select or unselect the accompanying bullet point, never having to write it out again.
Here's what this looks like:
You write your line item and then check or uncheck the bullet point as appropriate. This will change the way you grocery shop (it sure has for me) but also probably the way you run your business!
To access this feature, just click the checkmark in the circle icon:
Now add "share this blog post on your social channels" and then go ahead and take it off (after you've done so of course!).
In the mean time, check out more of my iOS tips and tricks.
Have any other iOS tips, tricks or hacks you think the people should know? Leave them in the comments or hit me up on social and let's share them with the world.
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