Reverse Engineer Your Competition’s Social Media Outreach

man and toolIf you’re reading this blog post, you probably already know that SEO in the year 2014 going forward is all about social media outreach. It’s all about building relationships with other websites so your site can have the niche-targeted and highly relevant back link footprint it needs to dominate search engine results.

This is easy to say, but it’s quite a tall order. When it comes to arranging your affairs online, it all makes sense and it seems very manageable on paper; however, when the rubber meets the road, it’s a completely different ball game. It is too easy to feel that you’re in over your head when it comes to social media outreach.

Where do you start? Who are your going to approach? What kind of success metrics are you going to apply? What kind of relationship should you look for? There’s just so many different questions that flow from this general thesis that effective SEO is all about establishing the right online relationships.

The good news is that a lot of those hard questions, and a lot of your homework, were done for you already. Who are these persons that are kind enough to do your homework for you? The answer is very simple—your competition.

By reverse engineering your competition, you can build on their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. Why reinvent the wheel, when other people have gone ahead of you and tried to come up with a solution? You only need to pay attention to their solution, come up with a better version, and dominate them.

Here’s how to reverse engineer your competition’s social media outreach:

Find Their Most Successful Content Using Quicksprout and Topsy

To build relationships using social media, the currency being exchanged really is content. In other words, your competition is using content to build relationships. This is why it’s very important to look at the content that they are sharing on their blog to see which content that the use to get the most attention from potential site partners. By being clear as to which content to use, you can then replicate that content to build similar relationships with their partner sites and other third party websites.

You only need to enter that domain name of your competitor into QuickSprout.com. Click the social tab to see which of their posts are very popular on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Once you have identified a particular post that has a lot of traction, you then go over to another tool called topsy.com. Enter the URL of the hot content that your competition is using to build relationships. You will see which social media accounts were instrumental in making that piece of content popular.

These are the only data points you need to reverse engineer that process.

Filter People Sharing Your Competition’s Content Based on Influence

The reality is that any bum can share content online. The problem is that bums don’t have any influence. Of all the people that shared your competition’s top content pieces, filter based on their influence. The whole reason you’re doing this is to get in the good graces of people worth reaching out to. This means filtering people based on influence. These are bloggers that other bloggers pay attention to. These are industry leaders that industry observers and industry participants give a lot of weight to.

Figure out these people based on their blogs, based on how often they get re-tweeted, and based on the number of followers they have. There are so many indicators that will point to whether a person is influential on social media, or just a random person sharing your competition’s content. Pick influential people.

Engage Those People and Build a Relationship

Now that you have identified people that share content that becomes viral, it’s your job to engage those people. How do you engage those people? You send them content that is high-quality. You bring to their attention content that has a lot of weight in your industry.

Of course, this is not going to happen overnight. At first, you will come off as some random stranger sending them tweets, or adding them and sharing stuff, but as they see the quality of your materials and see the consistency of the quality of the materials you share, the more they will trust you. This can lead the way to a relationship that can eventually lead to solid SEO benefits to the online property that you are promoting. It all starts with engagement, and the process is maintained by sharing high-quality, industry-specific content.