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Social Media in 15 Minutes a Day – Time Management with Free Tools

Thanks to the apperance of social media tools today, it is so easy to find the relevant, timely information about competitors. Many managers typically can get anecdotal competitive intelligence from tidbits they continually gain. These days, with the popular of many media tools, business owners should follow a more systematic approach that make it easier to learn the way other companies are carrying out.


Using the internet and social media simplifies competitive analysis for those who know how to use the tools effectively. It’s a little more than just Googling competitors. The goal should be profiling competitors to gain a better understanding of their background, financials, products, marketing, strategy and facilities.


It’s not feasible to get all this information in one visit on the web. While some facts may never appear in social media, with patience and research, many questions can still be answered. Social media sites are not silos of information; there is a great deal of intertwined info among sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. It’s an unstructured exchange that will require searching and analysis.


Here are some quick ideas to get started:


1. Join blog discussions germane to the product area. Use to find people discussing issues and ideas relevant to the industry, service group or marketing niche. Reading these will provide a background of what’s important. Posting to these blogs is advised only if the contributor is ready to share and get some comments back! This is a step towards being known as an authority in the field. Another strategy is to learn which bloggers influence customers. Measure their influence by Googling them to see what else they are doing. It’s all about engagement, feedback and exchange. That just could lead to some direct business.


2. Search for data being announced in Twitter about products, companies, and industries. For example, one market researcher learned that his competitors were using Twitter to broadcast announcements to potential respondents, asking them to participate in a survey at the mall for $ 15/hour. This tool also helps with advanced searches about people, words, places, dates, attitudes, and retweets or tweets containing links.


3. facilitates a huge amount of competitive knowledge. Most people use LinkedIn to network and connect with other professionals. By digging deeper (and using the keyword, company or people search), users can find information on businesses and functions within companies, job listings, and join discussion groups. To get started, create a brief profile, including a picture to inspire trust, and start adding contacts. Here’s a tip – perform an advanced search and under company name select “Past not current”. This will give a read on the turnover rate and whether key people are leaving.


If this seems daunting, it’s not, just dedicate some time to “social media” activities, create a plan, start researching, and modify as needed based on which tools are working most effectively.


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