Mining Social Media for Competitive Intelligence

Whether you run a large corporate real estate firm or you're a local agent, social media outlets can be used to your benefit for more than just their initial intent, making contacts and building relationships. They have now grown sizeable enough to house a treasure trove of fresh competitive information, which can provide you with a better understanding of what your competitors are up to at all times.

People are linking, friending and tweeting all day long with their colleagues, business partners, clients, and neighbors. Digging for intelligence there on who knows who and who they are doing business with can be invaluable in finding the right contacts and strategic information for your business. Think of it as a much improved method of garnering this information versus the old fashioned way of physically visiting the competitor. And, with social media, it's like you're looking in from behind a two-way mirror, any time you like.

The size and frequency of social media has made it difficult for companies to keep track of or control what information their employees are sharing on these networks. Some are undecided as to the validity of this information, believing some of it may be deliberately put out to mislead. At this point, however, unless you travel in a high stakes corporate setting, you probably don't have to worry about that because most people don't think twice about the information they convey in these venues.

Be your own business intelligence gathering expert. Make it a regular part of your strategic marketing effort to consistently view competitors' Web sites, social media pages and set-up Google Alerts to automatically send you messages on competitors' and your own company. You always want to monitor and shape what is being said about your brand while monitoring and staying ahead of your competitors'.


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