Marketers the world over are using social media not only to connect with customers and prospects, but also to see how well their competition is doing. As the wired social world grows in sophistication, so do the means to monitor the conversation.
Sure, it's easier than ever to keep an eye on the competition, but exactly where does one begin, you ask? Here's some help.
Founder Bill Balderaz of Webbed Marketing has offered three sound tips for using social media to keep an eagle eye on your rivals:
Set up Tweetbeep. "If you can use Google Alerts, you can use Tweetbeep," Balderaz notes. Visit Tweetbeep.com to enter competitors' names; you'll get email alerts whenever someone tweets about them: "Competitors' clients will tweet about how well (or poorly) the latest pitch went, their employees will complain about working all night to get the new product into beta. A reporter will talk about using them for a source. Customers will talk about pricing." Twitter spy tool—check!
Get "LinkedIn." Q: What does LinkedIn know about a company? A: Who joined, who left, who got promoted, who's connected to whom. Visit linkedin.com/companies to see your company profile (and your competitors'). Great for recruiting competitive talent, identifying companies intimately connected to your competitors—or checking the veracity of rumors that Rival, Inc. is having a shakeup.
Go deeper with Manta. Manta profiles more than 63 million companies and specializes in hard-to-find information about small businesses and private firms. Use its free membership to track competitive data like annual revenue, key contacts, affiliates and number of employees. Premium financial reports can also be had for a fee.
The Po!nt: Stay in the know. Don't get caught off-guard by rivals that likely use tools to track your movements. Like any good spy, you can know them as well as they know you.
Looking for great social media marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Social Media Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 140 pages and 102 charts, it is full of relevant social media marketing stats and trends. The Social Media Marketing Factbook is Part 5 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).