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Adi is a social business blogger and community manager that writes for sites such as Social Business News and Social Media Today. Away from the computer he enjoys cycling, particularly in the Alpes. Adi is a DZone Zone Leader and has posted 859 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

5 reasons why you should be stalking your competition

03.03.2013
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I'm sure we all know someone, or at least suspect them, that uses social media to stalk an ex.  Whilst not an especially honourable activity, social media is excellent for keeping tabs on what someone is up to, whether they really want you to or not.

Whilst this is ethically dubious from a personal point of view, it offers tremendous opportunities for keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing.  After all, any company worth their salt is making excellent use of social media to let the world know what they're working on.  What's more, their customers are using social media to complain, and sometimes praise them.

If you're not convinced, here are 5 reasons why stalking your competition is a great idea.

  1. You see what your customers think – When you work in the company you often can't see the wood for the trees.  Customers however call a spade a spade and their passion is difficult to fake.  So you can forget official communications and get the real picture by listening to what customers are saying.
  2. Understand your rivals priorities – Social media offers great insight into where your rivals priorities lie.  You can see for instance what customer demographics they have or where their product priorities are just by listening to their social media communities.
  3. Take advantage of their misfortune – Obviously you can monitor social media for when your own customers are complainng about you, but the nice thing is that you can also monitor social media for when your competition are having a hard time of it.  What better time to trumpet the virtues of your own product than when someone is annoyed with a rivals?  Lots of research shows that people respond well to receiving customer service via social media, so receiving customer service when not even a customer will go a long way.
  4. Improve your service the easy way – Listening to the complaints of your customers is a great way to improve how you do things.  The unfortunate part of that is it means you've screwed up to begin with.  If you listen to the complaints of your rivals customers though you get the chance to ensure you never make those mistakes yourself.
  5. Scout for talent – With LinkedIn you can see whenever a company has made a new hire (providing that person lists the company as their employer), so it's a great way to see how talent is moving throughout your industry.  You can then befriend those key people, and if they decide to move on, there you are.

I'm sure there are other ways you can use social media to stalk your rivals, but these are a few simple wins you can achieve quickly and easily.  Happy stalking, and do leave other suggestions in the comment section.

Reprinted with permission