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Oct
26

Spying on Your Competitors through Social Media

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In order for any business to succeed, it needs to know what its competition is up to. There has never been a better time in history for doing this thanks to the miracle of social media.

Social media is great for spying on your competition because you can see exactly how they’re marketing to their audience. You also get a glimpse at how its audience feels about it. You can listen in on their conversations and even interact with them. What’s even better about social media is that much of this information can be obtained through alerts, so you don’t have to spend every day stalking them.

Become a Fan

The best way to see what your competition is up to is to become a fan. Sure, you’re helping them in a way, but you’ll be getting much more out of the deal than they are. Make sure you sign up to follow them using an account that’s not your business account. Use your regular personal profile.

Their updates will come straight to your news feed so all you have to do is sit back and watch. On Facebook, you can put them into your ‘close friends’ category so that you get notifications every time they post. This allows you to cut through all of the real friend activity to see what they’re doing.

When you spy on your competition, there are a few key things you should look for. First of all, how often are they interacting with their fan base? Are they aggressive, posting once a day, or do they just pop onto the site once a week for an update? You can use this information immediately by simply out-posting them.

What kind of content are they sharing? Is it useful to readers or is it nothing but promotions? Even more importantly, how do their fans react? Are there lots of comments, likes and shares, or do their messages tend to get ignored?

Searches and Alerts

Most social media sites will let you search user activity. Search for conversations fans are having about your competition. You can get feedback on their services and discover their strengths and weaknesses. Also, check to see whether your competition is listening or not. Are they responsive to what their fans say?

You can sign up for alerts on most social media sites based around keywords. You can enter the company’s name or products as a keyword, and the site will tell you whenever new content containing those keywords has been posted. This saves a considerable amount of time and energy on your part.

A Plan of Attack

What are you going to do with all this information? You’re going to use it to set yourself apart. Whenever you find things your competition is NOT doing, that’s a gap that you can step in and fill.

For example, if your competition is only offering promotions, you can one-up them by offering valuable and useful content. If they’re only speaking to the youngest demographic of their fans, talk to the older ones. The goal should always be to set yourself apart and what you learn through social media will help you do that.

Toby & Sam Russell

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