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Social Media Intelligence Gathering, Part 2: Gaining Insight from Social Media Monitoring

In case you missed it: Social Media Intelligence Gathering, Part 1: Social Media Use, By the Numbers

In last week’s post, we went over some cold, hard numbers that demonstrate how integral social media has become to the business world. Regardless of what industry you’re in, chances are, your competitors are putting out a wealth of information through their social media channels. With that in mind, keeping tabs on what other companies are saying and doing can provide a serious strategic advantage.

If you’re not already doing it, here are three ways you should be using social media monitoring to stay ahead of the competition:

Find out how you stack up:

One of the first steps in building an effective monitoring process is to take a detailed inventory of your own social media presence. What platforms do your business use? What type of content do you produce? How often do you post?

Then, it’s time to see how you stack up. Do a deep dive into your competitors’ social media offerings and record your findings. Depending on how many direct competitors you have and how actively they use their accounts, you may want to create a spreadsheet in order to keep track of each company’s habits. When you’re finished, you can easily see how your social media practices compare to the competition.

Identify gaps:

It’s important to know what your competitors are doing on social media, but there’s also value in knowing what they’re not doing. If your competition hasn’t adopted a certain social platform, your business could benefit by moving into that empty space. If your competitors aren’t producing a certain type of content (blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc.), your business could draw views (and potential customers) by providing that content.

This is also a great opportunity to look for gaps in your own social media strategy. If you discover that most of your competitors are using LinkedIn, for instance, but your company isn’t, you could be overlooking a source of potential customers.

Watch for errors:

Learning from your mistakes is great. Learning from your competitors’ mistakes is even better. By keeping a close watch on other businesses’ social media postings, you can spot avoidable missteps and blunders before you make them, and learn how your competition responds to its own errors.

And in some cases, one company’s mistake is another company’s opportunity. Depending on the seriousness of the gaffe, you may be able to “steal” a few unhappy customers by presenting your own business as a better alternative. Catching these opportunities in a timely manner is one of the many advantages of having an effective social media monitoring process in place.