Your competitors unknowingly will divulge information that provides insight into their priorities. Using social listening to keep tabs on the competition allows you to learn as much about your competitors’ weaknesses as you can about their strengths.
Worrisome consumers are concerned that information posted on social media will enable home robbers and identity thieves to harm them. In contrast, many organizations vying for consumer eyeballs will have their CEOs and VPs share potentially sensitive information on social media. What seems like a glimpse of transparency to consumers can be insightful information to a competitive company tracking their every move.
How To Use Social Listening To Keep Tabs On The Competition
Create Real-Time News Feeds Featuring Your Top Competitors
Keep an eye on what your top competitors and their customers are saying by setting up content streams for various social channels. I currently use Hootsuite to view streams I have created to stay updated with what’s going on within my industry. You can do the same by:
- Setting up an account
- Set up your stream
- Type in your competitors’ social handles, #hashtags, and keywords
Once complete, you’ll have a real-time digest of your competitions’ social engagements.
Within the streams, keywords can be tracked to get an idea of what’s going on in your industry. For instance, anytime someone mentions “social media marketing” or “digital marketing” on Twitter, it shows up in my stream. Then I can dig deeper and use the Klout score of influencers to determine the engagement levels of the content.
Understand What People Are Saying About Your Competitors
Social media serves as an echo chamber of consumer feedback. By conducting social listening, you can get an analysis of how your competitors are perceived by consumers.
You can obtain answers to the following questions:
- What trends, events or news items are driving your competitors’ conversations? What happens offline will certainly show up online. The events your competitors produce will induce consumer comments. Add these comments to your intelligence.
- Which competitor’s posts are people paying attention or responding to? There is a correlation between social chatter and product sales. If your competitor releases information about a new product or service, analyze the buzz generated to gauge its success.
- Who are the influencers who frequently participate or are mentioned in competitor conversations? Once you understand who your competitors’ top influencers are, you will gain insight into their strategic partners and affiliates.
Report Findings To Your Boss
We all know CEO’s and C-Level executives are conditioned to respond to quantitative over qualitative data. A study by McKinsey found a high correlation between companies that use technology for competitive intelligence and an increase in those companies’ market share.
Let’s face it, intelligence can lead to a good change in direction.
Senior executives should think strategically about how social technologies can support business processes by helping organizations to navigate the external environment and to forge stronger links with customers and vendors.
In essence, this statement supports the notion that social listening will provide a competitive advantage to all companies who leverage it. So, if you are not using social listening to keep tabs on your competition, you should reconsider that decision.
Start by using these free tools:
- Social Mention – Look for mentions of your keyword on social media platforms and within blog posts, comments, videos tweets, etc.
- Hootsuite – This free tool enables you to work with and update up to five social networks at a time.
- Twilerts – enables you to keep tabs on select keywords and have their mentions sent directly to your mobile device in real-time.
- Contaxio – allows you to track your Twitter friends and followers and find out how much of your content they are recommending or retweeting.
- Google Alerts – is useful for monitoring conversations around several different selected keywords, then sending you alerts either immediately or on a scheduled basis.
The more you know, the more you grow. This is certainly the case when using social listening to keep tabs on the competition. Social media offers a pool of competitive insight that will benefit your brand tremendously. If you want to learn more about social listening, feel free to check out this blog post as well.