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"How to Gain Competitive Insight With Social Media" is a Social Media Examiner blog post by Kristi Hines that provided some tips for business professionals in various industries to consider when engaging in social media.. Hines outlines some great tips for competitive analysis on three of the big social networking platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social media allows us to connect with our target audiences. With this type of connectivity, we are able to monitor our competition more closely as well.
Twitter can be used to find a competitor, follow and analyze their tweets, and research who they follow and who is following them. Keep in mind, the number of followers the account has and the amount of interaction between the competitor and their followers.
One tool that Hines writes about is called, Tweepi. This Twitter tool "allows you to see follower details all on one screen, including bio information, number of followers, what they last tweeted, etc."
To dig deeper into a competitor's social media strategy, check out their responses/mentions on Twitter. Topsy is a search tool for Twitter. By utilizing this tool you can see "what content on a website gets the most retweets." This is valuable information to consider for your own social media strategy.
Find your competitors through the Facebook interface or a simple Google search. Consider how they are using their page. Perhaps they are generating leads to grow their business. Is this something your business should think about doing also? An important question to research is, how is the fan page used for interaction?
How much activity is on their wall? Is there positive or negative feedback? Page owners can display their other fan pages on Facebook. This is a particular area worth checking out on your competitor's page.
LinkedIn has company pages where employees are listed. If you have no connections with the business or employees at the company, you will have limited access to profiles.
Be careful with your personal settings! Default profile settings enable users to see who has looked at their profile recently. Be sure to check out your own LinkedIn profile settings before targeting competitors on LinkedIn. any important question to research is how are others boosting their profiles and adding more connections?
To read more about competitive analysis through social networks and some useful tools to help, check out the article on Social Media Examiner.