Thursday 12 June, 2014

Competitive Research – The Advantages of Social Media Stalking

It’s not cool to stalk ex-girlfriends or random strangers on social media. In fact, it’s downright illegal. But stalking your competition on these sites is not only legal and ethical, but a great thing to do if you want to give yourself a competitive edge. It offers the opportunity of a lifetime for businesses.

Social media sites offer a smorgasbord of information. Everybody has a profile where you can not only see their data but data on their friends and followers. This is invaluable for a business. By looking at your competition, you can better understand where you stand. You can find out how many followers they have and who they are. Better yet, you can discover how these followers feel about the company.

What to Look for

Nearly every bit of information you find on your competitors’ social media profile or news feed can help you. A few things to look for in particular include:

*  What they’re doing with they’re social media presence (in other words, how they’re using it)

*  Whether or not their efforts are working; do they have lots of followers and engagement or is it dead?

*  The specific tactics they’re using to gain new followers and engage them

*  The weak points in their strategy where you can move in and dominate the market

Let’s pay especially close attention to that last point – their weaknesses. This is the most valuable information you can find. But it’s important to realize this isn’t a ‘screw the competition’ mindset. It’s just a matter of finding a gap in the market. The market is big and there’s room for everybody. If you find that your competition isn’t doing something well with their social media, you can fill that gap in the market and set yourself apart.

Twitter

Look at your competitors’ tweets. Are they mostly promotional? Do most of them have links to other content? What are they NOT doing on Twitter that you could do? Look also for follower engagement. Read their reactions and see what they think about the brand.

Facebook

First, become a fan of your competitor’s business page. Look at their pages to see what they’re doing with each; for example, what kind of custom tabs they have. Try to discover their main purpose on Facebook (for example, capturing leads, promoting products, etc.). See how their fans react.

YouTube

Look at your competitors’ YouTube channel and see what kind of videos they’re making. Is there something else you could do with your videos? For example, their videos mostly show their products in action; you could instead create videos with simple tips your customers can use.

Location-Based Sites

Location-based sites like Yelp and Foursquare offer reviews. This is a wonderful way to find out what their customers really think about them. You can easily see their strengths and weaknesses.

Another social media strategy is to look for mentions of their name. There are apps and programs that alert you when a certain keyword (their company’s name) is mentioned so that you can stay on top of what people are saying about them.

Try stalking your competitors on all the social media sites they use. Go beyond the regular Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and look for them on Pinterest, Google+, Quora, and anywhere else you find them. It takes some time to keep all of this activity up, but you’ll be discovering extremely valuable information that will help you set yourself apart.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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